Despite looking like they have been captured on a camera, pencil artist JIMMY MUMBO HARRISON, 27, is able to recreate photos in amazing detail using a pencil. He spoke to ALLAN OLINGO
How do you do this kind of art?
You might think that my paint work are just photos captured in black and white but when you see my gallery up-close, you can tell they are drawings. The details are incredible. It takes a week or two to do one. All I need is the original photo capture in camera, which I scan then I draw. It’s mostly a matter of how good your copying and blending skills are.
That’s a lot of work…
Yes it is. Patience is key. It’s the details that make the piece come alive. Drawing is what I love to do; to recreate life as we see and know it using a simple pencil is exciting to say the least. Working on a drawing for hours is so relaxing that to this day; I still have a hard time putting my pencil down. It’s my comfort zone.
How did you start?
I started drawing in Class Two. The teachers used to give us assignments and I would emerge the best. When I was young, there were the factual films that used to come to our hood. The next day, I would draw the scenes and keep them until the next film came along. As I grew up, I perfected my art skills and would occasionally design the school calendar through my drawings. When I got to Class Eight, my parents became concerned because I was spending more time with my drawing pen than the books. I now had to balance between this two because they believed that my education was being compromised.
Did you pursue it further?
Yes I did. When I joined Kaloleni Secondary School, I was actually the best artiste until Form Two when someone else with the skill joined the school. Now I had competition. I took it in my stride and we became friends. He taught me how to perfect the pencil artwork and I owe him so much.
When did you have a breakthrough?
After high school, I pursed art but was so much into acting. My breakthrough came in 2008 when I landed an art work job with the United Nations Children Education Funds ‘Malezi Bora’ programme. Our duty was to do murals and drawings that would graphically illustrate the project. We did this in Kwale County, my home area. I was still able to undertake my journalism diploma at the Mombasa Aviation College.
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