Artist Shares Secrets of How To Draw Incredibly Realistic Portraits [Interview]

Realistic Drawing of Carrie Ann Moss by Matheus Macedo

Brazilian artist Matheus Macedo is known for his incredibly realistic portraits. Using pencils and charcoal, he's able to infuse his drawing with an uncanny sense of realism. Macedo often focuses on famous faces, and he has a knack for incorporating rich detail in their facial features without losing the vitality that makes their personalities leap from the page.

Luckily, Macedo is just as passionate about sharing his knowledge as he is about focusing on his own art. In his online course, Realistic Portrait Drawing Made Easy, Macedo takes students through his entire creative process, step by step. This means that he not only breaks down the tools necessary to create these portraits, but he also shares tips on how to select the proper photograph for inspiration and how to transfer that image to the page.

Over the course of two hours, Macedo allows us to follow along as he works on the creation of a portrait of actor Joaquin Phoenix. That means students will learn in detail how to create every lifelike feature, from eyes to ears. Macedo will also focus on creating different textures, with emphasis on hair and skin.

While Macedo's course won't be released to the public until December 20, students currently have an opportunity to enroll early and save. During the pre-sale period, you can save 10% off the normal retail price of $45.95 by using code realism10 at checkout, and, once the course is released, you will find all 12 lessons ready and waiting for you to watch at your leisure.

In anticipation of the course release, we had a chance to catch up with Macedo and discuss his love of drawing. Read on for our exclusive interview and get inspired by his incredible work.

Realistic Drawing of Al Pacino by Matheus Macedo

Realistic Drawing of Natalie Portman by Matheus Macedo

When did you start drawing?

I started drawing as a child, as most people do. My first drawings were probably done at school at the age of 3 or 4.

What attracted you specifically to realistic portraits?

I've tried different styles through the years, but I believe there are many factors that made me stick to realism: having a clear goal whenever starting a new piece, the fact I lose track of time whenever I dive into the details, the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment when finishing a work that takes long certainly come into play. And the human face just fascinates me, as it communicates so much without words.

Realistic Drawing of Keanu Reeves by Matheus Macedo

Realistic Portrait Drawing by Matheus Macedo

Are there any other realistic portrait artists whom you admire or who influence you?

Definitely! The list is long, but my compatriot Charles Laveso introduced me to realism and is my biggest influence. Jono Dry, Emanuele Dascanio, and Kelvin Okafor are the first names that come to my mind when I think of people who I admire from other countries.

Realistic Drawing of Albert Einstein by Matheus Macedo

Realistic Drawing of Patrick Stewart by Matheus Macedo

What was your biggest challenge starting out with this drawing style?

Getting used to new art tools and learning not to rush were the two main challenges at the beginning.

Realistic Portrait Drawing by Matheus Macedo

Realistic Portrait Drawing by Matheus Macedo

What's the most satisfying part of the drawing process for you?

When the drawing starts to take shape, especially the eyes, and I realize I am headed in the right direction.

Realistic Portrait Drawing by Matheus Macedo

Realistic Drawing of Malcolm X

What do you enjoy most about teaching others how to draw?

The best thing is seeing people improve and become proud of what they do. It's very rewarding as a teacher.

Realistic Portrait Drawing Class

What do you hope that people take away from your new class with My Modern Met Academy?

Besides the techniques, I hope our students will understand that making a realistic portrait needs patience and dedication, but is less complicated than it seems. Splitting the process into smaller chunks makes everything much easier.

Watch this preview of Macedo's course and enroll before December 20, 2023 to get 10% off the regular price.

Matheus Macedo: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Matheus Macedo.

Related Articles:

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6 Masters of Photorealism Who Reproduce Intricate Details Using Only Paint

Learn How to Draw Your Favorite People in This Beginner-Friendly Online Class

Artist’s Giant Pencil Drawings Blur the Line Between Hyperrealism and Surrealism

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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