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Tête-à-Tête: Taban Peter Pal

The Wise Owl has an interesting chat with Taban Peter Pal, a passionate, self-taught 17-year-old freelance artist from South Sudan, who excels in realistic portraits. He describes his work as ‘Hyper realistic pencil drawings that portray emotion and information that people can relate with.’ You can enjoy his work on Instagram: @tabanpeterpal, Facebook: @Taban Peter Pal and Twitter: @Tabanpeterpal


Thanks, Taban, for talking to The Wise Owl. We are really impressed by the stunning life-like portraits you create at such a young age.

Q. Our readers would like to know how and when you decided to pursue creative art? What were the major artistic influences in your life?

A. I started creating art in February 2020 due to the time I had during the covid lockdown. My major artistic influences are the problems, emotions and behaviours of people in the environment around me. I like to talk about the problems the people in my community and I face and the different beliefs of those people. Some of my works explain my childhood experiences like ‘Water boy 1 and 2’. The pieces remind me of the times I used to play freely with water with my friends. 

Q. Please tell us a little about your artistic journey.

A. I started drawing in February 2020.I went on to pursue hyper realism. I didn’t take any art course or lessons all I did is learn from different sources such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok by looking at pieces and works of various artists and trying to recreate them in my own way. Happily, I received several commissions and also managed to sell some of my artwork.

Q. I have been looking at your work. You excel in pencil drawings. You use only a black pencil or charcoal and graphite to work your magic. Tell us a little about why you use only this medium for your artwork.

A. Charcoal and graphite help me to create the desired photorealistic appearance in my drawings and they are easy to use. Charcoal brings out the details, making the piece lifelike and admirable and the created work can almost be mistaken for a photograph.

Q. Looking at your work it is clear that you are partial to painting portraits. What attracted you to this form of art?

A. I like to capture emotions and facial expressions of my subjects and I feel portraits render it more suitable. For example, the drawing ‘eyesonthecause’ portrays the problems faced by most youths in my society but they’re not able to find help and solutions to those problems. It expresses their frustration at being caught in a situation they cannot change.

Q. Your drawings are extremely realistic. I loved Machine Man 2 & Belief 2. I especially loved the drawing on your profile picture. What technique do you use to create faces in such realistic detail? Do you use real life models or are the portraits created from imagination?

A. I create the skin tone in layers of graphite and charcoal and later on add details using low grade graphite pencils, sometimes I like to use only charcoal on some of my pieces especially when am creating really dark drawings because graphite doesn’t mix with charcoal well but I rarely use only graphite because of the shine it produces when you use a dark grade. I use photos of my models to create such drawings and sometimes I use imagination to create some of the pieces.

Q. Who is your favourite artist? Or let me put it differently. Which artist do you turn to for inspiration? What is it about your favourite artist that you find the most compelling?

A. My favourite artist is called Arinze Stanley a Nigerian.  l love to way he uses his artworks to communicate the problems in his society to people around him and helping them understand the unspoken problems faced in his society.

Q. Budding artists who are reading this chat would love to know what kind of paper and pencils you use in your paintings. Do you have any quick tips for upcoming artists?

A. I use any charcoal and graphite brand of pencils, Manila paper 300gsm, soft painting brushes, mono zero eraser, cotton buds, kneadable eraser, and a rubber, electric eraser, tissue etc. 

Q. You have a vibrant Facebook page where you display your artwork. Our readers would be eager to know if you are planning any exhibitions of your work in the near future. What are your plans & goals as an artist?

A. Yes, I am planning a solo exhibition in the near future for which the date will be communicated, and I plan to start a hyperrealism course to help upcoming artists improve on their craft.


Thank you, Taban, for talking to The Wise Owl. Here is wishing you the best in your creative pursuits. Keep your followers happy with your beautiful artwork.

Works of Taban Peter Pal

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