Emmy Kalia is the 30-year-old Netherlands-based artist behind the insanely realistic drawings you may have seen hyperlapsed on Instagram and YouTube. If you have yet to see her work, be prepared to be completely blown away by her skills.
Kalia, who is a certified teacher's assistant and childcare worker, started drawing in 2014 after taking a break from it for more than 10 years (it used to be a hobby of her's as a child). "I rekindled my passion for art when I saw a portrait made with graphite pencil on Instagram," she told Cosmopolitan.com. "I thought to myself, I want to know how to do that too. So after a lot of trial and error and many hours of practice, I started to get the hang of it and got more excited about drawing on a regular basis."
While Kalia didn't have any formal training in the arts, her talent does run in her family. "My grandfather is a sketch artist, and throughout his career he worked as an art manager and critic and set up an art galleries in Canada, Spain, and currently runs a small gallery in the South of France," she said. "And my mother was an art student in Amsterdam and studied under her grandfather, so being creative and drawing was a hobby during my childhood."
Even though Kalia makes sketching an updo on paper look like child's play, mastering realistic-looking manes didn't come easy for her. "Drawing hair is quite challenging," she said, "but I think I got into drawing it because it was such a challenge."
While she started drawing portraits at first, hair was the one thing she didn't like drawing because she didn't know how to execute it. "But after a lot of practice, I found the right technique and that's when I started to enjoy drawing hair." Her secret to sketching the most realistic mane? "Don't draw it strand by strand, but rather in small sections of hair," she said. "Every small detail makes a difference."
Here, her step-by-step approach:
And the full demo:
For those inspired by Kalia and interested in learning how to realistically draw hair (not me, my talent stops at stick figures!), she kindly filmed a YouTube tutorial that maps out exactly how to replicate her artwork.
In the above tutorial, she teaches you how to draw a ponytail and this French-meets-fishtail braid:
In her YouTube hair how-to, she also points out that the key to creating realistic hair is to use multiple pencils in light, medium, and dark tones to make the hair look lifelike. See the four shades she used to create the below style :
But hairstyles aren't the only thing Kalia can draw. She also sketches realistic AF-looking facial features like lips and eyes, full faces, and more. Just see for yourself:
As for me, I'm going to Michael's to buy colored pencils and a sketch pad to attempt to draw hair because I'm inspired AF.
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