Mind-blowing works of hyper-realistic art you won't believe aren't photos

Mind-blowing works of hyper-realistic art you won't believe aren't photos

(Pocket-lint) – We’ve seen plenty of incredible images captured on film and with digital cameras in recent years. Whether brilliant photographs from space, amazing images from a new perspective or astounding aerial photographs snapped with drones, there are plenty of incredible images out there to enjoy. 

There are artists out there though, who with a steady hand, plenty of patience and incredible talent have managed to create artwork so astounding and breath-taking you’ll struggle to believe they aren’t real images.  

Dispell your disbelief and join us on this journey of discovery. With paintings, drawings and sculptures that are so good, you won’t believe your eyes. 

Sweet treats

They say the first bite is with the eye and we all enjoy a sweet treat from a vending machine, but this image really plays tricks on you too.

Roberto Bernardi has worked the oil onto the canvas so well here it even includes the reflection of a photographer in the glass of the machine. 

Empire State Building in oil

At first glance, you might dismiss this image as a rather dull photo of New York City.

The classic tourist snap of the Empire State Building and surrounding skyline. When you learn though, that this image was actually created by hand, it becomes entirely more impressive. 

Raphaella Spence has a real talent for creating hyper-realistic art and has been crafting and exhibiting her art since the late 1990s. 


These convincing images by Pedro Campos include still life oil paintings of everyday objects with remarkable reflections that really confuse the eye.

It’s hard to believe these images weren’t captured with a camera but instead with a paintbrush and an incredible eye for detail. 

Pencil drawn feline

It’s truly amazing what some artists can do with a pencil, patience and perspective. 

Paul Lung is a whizz at putting pencil to paper and creating masterful strokes that result in astounding images.

He’s drawn life-like images of cats and people that will really make you doubt your eyes. Right down to the finest strokes of fur and stubble on his subject’s face. 

Sun flowers

Steve Mills is another photo-realistic oil painter with a keen eye for still life. Here he has created some tall sunflowers that can be seen reaching up to the sky. Remarkable. 


This highly detailed portrait by Philipp Weber is actually an incredible oil painting on canvas and part of a series capturing the beauty of the subject Antonia for all to see.

We were blown away by the way the artist has worked everything into this image from the droplets of water to the stray strands of hair. 

The Soulcatcher

This work by Angelstorm was crafted using a mix of graphite pencils and Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils. No digital trickery or tools were used here. 

We a thoroughly impressed by the level of detail, not just by the fine strands of hair, but the freckles and the soul-piercing eyes too. 

Poolside car

Nicola Wood is another hyper-realistic painter who creates incredible works of art with cars as the main focus.

It takes a couple of glances to see that this image is a carefully painted work of art rather than a snap of a car by the poolside. 

A gorilla in thought

Of course, many of the paintings and artworks in this list are inspired by photographs, still life subjects or other sources.

On the left is the original photo of a gorilla almost posing for the photographer. On the right, is a work in graphite pencils by Malcolm Shortt which has captured all the detail of the original and more besides. If you look closely you’ll see a sad tear rolling down the gorilla’s face that wasn’t there before. 

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Red bull sitting

This image is one of many works by Ron Kleemann, an American photorealist painter.

This artist has been making art like this since the 1960s. His oil and acrylic masterpieces are so good they’ll make you look twice. This image of a Red Bull pit-stop team is unbelievably good.

Driving in the rain

Most of us would see this sight and feel the misery of being stuck in traffic while driving in the rain, but artist Gregory Thielker sees inspiration in the raindrops on his windscreen.

This oil painting is one of a series of images from a driver’s perspective with views spoiled or obscured by ice, water and brake lights. 

Toy soldiers

A familiar sight from many childhoods, these toy soldiers have been painstakingly recreated on canvas right down to the tiniest detail, even including the imperfections.

This work by John Hartley is part of a collection of images brilliantly crafted by the artist.   

Coke Cans

Thirsty? These convincing images by Pedro Campos include still life oil paintings of everyday objects including Coke cans and the reflections in their surroundings. Incredible. 

Suspension of disbelief

Reflections of surroundings, believable light sources and brilliant colours make these hyper-realistic paintings all the more amazing.

You’ll even see floating marbles and depth of field effects carefully woven into the imagery. This collection by Jason de Graaf is surely astounding. 


Another of Jason de Graaf’s works shows paint bursting forth from tubes. The level of detail in these images is surely astounding, doubly so with the reflections accurately crafted below. 

Asterix and co

It seems that Jason de Graaf’s talents know no bounds. Here he’s faithfully re-created a vision of Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix. 

Still life newspapers

Another of Steve Mills’ images includes carefully folded newspapers that not only highlight the words on the paper but the folds and creases too.

The attention to detail and patience it must take to create such a thing must be remarkable. 

Pencil portraits

Another image by Paul Lung shows remarkably detailed portraits with fine wisps of hair, intricate lines of wrinkles and other convincing features. 

Ballpoint fox

These images by Samuel Silva were created using a ballpoint pen of all things and yet are convincing enough to capture every minute detail of the subject.

Cradling a baby

Samuel Silva notes just how much time goes into this work, with over 100 hours put into the image of the father cradling his baby in his hands. 

Ball point pen cat

Each of the artists on this list has their own personal style and technique. Some use quite different tools to create their own astounding work of art too. 

How many times have you seen a fierce cat like this created using just ballpoint pens? 

Anne Hathaway

Franco Clun is certainly multi-talented – an artist capable of creating hyper-realistic hand-drawn portraits of celebrities as easily as he can masterfully pen an angry shark. 

Great White in black and white

Franco Clun’s shark is shockingly convincing and not something we’d want to mess with. 


From the vicious teeth of a great white shark, to the calm eyes of a feline. Franco Clun clearly has a fine set of skills and a range of talent in this realm. 

Attention to detail

It’s easy to find yourself lost in the depth and detail of this image by Kit King and Corey Oda Popp.

From bloodshot eyes to the beads of sweat on a warm brow. All are hand-painted with an amazing attention to detail. 

An eye with a view

The works of Kit King and Corey Oda Popp are a real eye-opener. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.