You’ll never believe how this portrait of actor Morgan Freeman was made!


posted Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 7:21 PM EDT


It's often said that photography is the art of painting with light, but have you ever wondered how long your photos would take to create if you had to paint them in a more literal manner?

British visual artist Kyle Lambert recently did just that, recreating a photograph of famous Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman entirely by hand. Lambert's portrait is based on an image by New York photographer Scott Gries, and it was made using only an Apple iPad Air tablet, Savage Interactive's Procreate painting app, and his fingertips. The result has to be seen to be believed: to say it was photorealistic would, if anything, be to undersell the truly spectacular result. (You can find the original photo on Gries' site -- click Portfolios, then Portrait I to see it.)

Artist Kyle Lambert recreated a photo by Scott Gries, by hand. Here's how he did it.

And just how long did it take to create that one photo as a photoreal painting? According to Lambert's video of the process, which you can see above, he needed more than 200 hours and 285,000 brush strokes to complete the work. To put it in perspective, that's a brushstroke every two or three seconds, ten hours a day, every day, for close to three weeks.

So the next time someone tells you that you're painting with light, take a moment to consider the truly staggering effort you'd need to do just that, without your camera. We think you'll find your appreciation growing for that box of cleverly-shaped glass and electronic wizardry, with which you freeze a moment in time at the push of a button.