Of all the art styles, there is one genre that often gets the double-take. “Realism” has been prominent since the 1970s, and the talent we have curated represents some of the best Portrait Artists in India today.
Since time immemorial, artists have strived to depict the world around them. While many take the route of abstractions or symbolism, fine art is also represented by the intricate details of realism. Hyper-realism, an advancement of photorealism, is a visual art genre of sketching, painting or sculpture that resembles a high-resolution photograph made popular in the early 1970s.
Considering that these pieces make you look twice and marvel at the fact that they are handmade, there’s no doubt that realism artists are well on their way to their 10,000 hours. We’ve collected 15 amazing portrait artists from India who adopts realism in some capacity in their stunning artwork.
01. Aakash Ramesh
In his words, Aakash Ramesh’s sketches are expressions of himself and an extension of what he feels at a particular time. Aakash primarily uses a pencil to create realistic portraits of celebrities and fictional characters. His work has a soft and traditional feel that makes you think of vintage posters. In fact, he’s given us a step-by-step guide on how to draw a realistic portrait, so go ahead, channel your inner hyperrealist.
02. Abhishek Ghaste
Abhishek Ghaste is a self-taught artist that hails from Nashik. His graphite renderings of celebrity portraits are remarkable (and they seem to agree as well)! His profile features many stars, some commissioned work and his enthusiasm for fitness. Clearly, he’s no stranger to the discipline required to excel at both.
03. Ankit Jasmatiya
Ankit Jasmatiya is an artist staking his own in the digital sphere. His YouTube channel has an audience of over 300k, and he teaches a class on Skillshare on portraits and realism. He primarily uses charcoal and pencil but has dabbled with ballpoint pens and soft pastels for his work. Ankit’s pieces depict celebrities, cultural icons, and animal life certifying his dedication to capturing portraits of all kinds.
04. Ayush Mishra
At only 19, Ayush Mishra already has the skill set of a seasoned portrait artist. He loves sketching celebrity portraits with graphite and charcoal and presents them like headshots. If you look closer, you will see how dedicated he is to the finer details of a person’s features which provides the secret sauce to his portraiture recipe.
05. Meher Art Studio
It’s time to get hyper-surreal with the man behind Meher Art Studio based in Delhi. The work has a strong base in ethnic portraits and composites (multiple subjects), sometimes breaking the realism barrier to depict subjects of mythological importance or surrealist musings. The ability to do so comes from a strong foundation in fine art whose processes are proudly displayed and inspires many to join the available classes and workshops.
06. Pratima Unde
Pratima Unde is a freelance illustrator and a graphic designer who experiments with various styles for her realistic portraits. She sometimes uses a technique called “giggling”, which uses neverending lines in circular motions to develop detail with an eye-catching texture. A quote from her highlights her motivation for creating these unique pieces – “I try to bring out the emotions people go through; ones they subconsciously engage in, and which do not easily or readily show on their faces and in their expressions. The subjects I approach are very shy and prefer to keep everything to themselves, much like a secret or personal indulgence. I speak for them through my illustrations, bringing out what lays unsaid or unexpressed.” For a deep-dive into the mind of Pratima Unde, check out our interview with her here.
07. Sadashiv Sawant
A realism veteran, Sadashiv Sawant is a master at the craft. With over 30 years of experience in architectural visualization, his ability to understand light and shape is phenomenal. His work spans portraits and still life, both possessing incredible detail and presence. Sadashiv now gives back to the community by training up and coming artists at “Pencil Perceptions”, where the value of his experience truly shows.
08. Shital Verma
When we spoke to Shital Verma about his personal art style, he mentioned that lines and strokes, in particular, are his priority to help decide the creative direction of a portrait. He has a unique way of using texture to add or take away from the piece’s sub-narrative. A digital and ballpoint pen artist, Shital has had an illustrious career in advertising and marketing after studying fine art in Benaras.
09. Sri Priyatham
Freelance illustrator, art instructor, TedX speaker. Sri Priyatham is an artist playing to win in the art world, and his broad expanse of work shows it. A fine arts graduate from JNAFAU Hyderabad, Priyatham dabbles in several styles, albeit digitally showcasing portraits of characters from pop culture, celebrities, and a tremendous amount of concept character studies. He attributes his personal growth to choosing the path of a freelancer and talks about the lifestyle here.
Hailing from Kerala, Ujwal is a talented portrait artist whose collection of work feels very slice-of-life. While he also showcases celebrity portraits and the like, his commissioned work instils familiarity for the viewer attesting to his skill in realism. He is self-taught and often uses charcoal, pencil and acrylic paints.
11. Vaibhav Tiwari
If “celebrity realism portraiture” was associated with a name, it would probably be Vaibhav Tiwari. This 21-year-old has created a plethora of Bollywood star portraits leading them to be featured by them and many media outlets. Wielding a pencil or a ballpoint pen for his work, Vaibhav sketches the tiniest detail seen by the naked eye prompting that double-take synonymous with hyperrealism.
12. Vishnu PR
Colourful and vibrant, Vishnu PR is a highly skilled digital portrait artist who believes that “art is all about materializing your expressions”. His sense of lighting and material texture is what makes his work uncanny to its subject. Vishnu’s skills extend to typography and branding, and he is the founder of a unique illustration service called Vectrez. We had a chance to dive into his process of bringing a digital portrait to life where you can learn to add your personal touch to make the piece truly unique.
13. Vivek Mandrekar
While his daily fare is about creating eye-catching movie posters as a senior art director, Vivek Mandrekar is a skilled fine artist as well. When going over his construction of a digital painting of a Bollywood legend with us, Vivek reveals that even a simple expression can inspire the story behind a masterpiece.
14. Vrinda Parag Pai
Vrinda Pai is a pencil artist and an instructor at “Pencil Perceptions” (yes, the very same started by Sadashiv Sawant above). This Mumbai based artist explores still life and landscapes as much as portraits, and her work has been featured at art fairs and on book covers.
Who was your favourite portrait artist? Did we miss anyone? Let us know!