Photorealistic drawing tricks

Four hours and 33 minutes of a realistic drawing is condensed down to 3 minutes 42 seconds in this youtube video:

The artist Marcello Barenghi does have some mad skills. But you can also make a drawing like this with a few interesting tricks on how this photorealisitc drawing is done:

Gray paper

The gray paper makes the object stand out more, because it makes the white pop out more. To create the white, he uses mostly a white pencil. Towards the end a white paint brush sneaks in, along with a white airbrush.


An initial wash of blue is done in watercolor. Since the majority of the drawing is done in marker, i’m not sure what the intention behind using watercolor. Does the water leave the paper wet, enabling better blending with the following markers?


This is drawn mostly with markers. Who knew markers could be so photorealistic?


A black airbrush is used at the end to create the drop shadow behind and on the can. Briefly a white airbrush is used for the highlights. That helps to create an overall unifying look of light. Normally when I do a drawing, I stick to one medium, I don’t think about introducing other media to give an overall effect. It’s funny, because in apps like Instagram, we apply entire effects over a photo to give a feeling. Why not use an airbrush at the end to help with the lighting?

Lighting the drawing

Notice the subtle lighting that the artists uses in the video. See how the gray paper is lighter on the left than the right? Now notice the lighting on the object in the drawing, it’s coming from the same direction. That tiny little detail helps tremendously with how the drawing is seen as an object. Just like how the airbrush creates an overall effect, the lighting used in this video also creates an overall effect.

Did you see any other tricks used in this video?

If so, please share them in the comments. Thank you.

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10 years ago

Any other tricks used in the video? Well, the artist is Italian. Those Italians are great at realistic drawings, at least historically speaking. Seriously though, It looks like he used a white paint pen. So add one more medium to the list of mixed media. That gray paper trick is really nice. Renaissance artists liked drawing on colored paper so they can add white to it. I’m gonna have to add gray stock to my ACEO art work.

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