With nothing but pencil and paper, Jono Dry had made his mark on YouTube and Instagram.

This week we met Jono Dry, a Cape Town-based self-taught artist who has spent the last decade creating hyper-realistic graphite art. Despite his obvious talent and extraordinary attention to detail, Jono didn’t grow up thinking that this was a viable career path. 

But continuously learning new skills, he created the ingredients to not only make this his bread and butter but food for the mind and soul too. We met him in his studio to chat about his journey and work.

“I think my love for drawing developed at a very young age, I grew up in a very creative household and my mom particularly encouraged me to draw,” explains Jono, “but as I grew older, it was this constant thing that had always been around and I slowly developed more and more a passion for it.”

Although the inspiration behind his work comes from numerous sources including mythology and fantasy, he credits his mom for inspiring him. Documenting this process on his Youtube channel has seen him gather over four hundred thousand subscribers.

“I’ve chosen pencil because of accessibility. I started practicing and creating art in primary school and high school and so the only medium that I had access to at the time was pencil and out of familiarity, I stuck to it.”

One of his latest artworks is a rendition of the three graces, an artwork that has been done by numerous artists over the last century. Jono opted against the traditional depiction of Antonio Canova’s headless sculpture by including the use of a deer and wolves heads.

“Art is like survival for me because it is what I have chosen to do as a career, I can’t imagine doing anything else because spending my time thinking of things to create is the most fulfilling use of my life I can imagine.”

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