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[Art Attack] Emmanuel Apraku, the man behind Ghana’s revered Penciledcelebrities artworks

May 10, 2018 at 09:53 am | Art Attack

Farida Dawkins

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

May 10, 2018 at 09:53 am | Art Attack

Caricature of Kanye West...Ray Styles Studios

Emmanuel Apraku is a budding acrylic and oil painter and pencil sketch artist from Ghana.  He is the owner of Ray Styles Studios or “PenciledCelebrities” as his company is popularly known. He, along with three other partners formed the company in 2015.

PenciledCelebrities specialize in logos, branding, book illustrations, portraits and conceptual paintings/illustrations.

The great “Fela Kuti” Commission work for @face2faceafrica ?? #penciledcelebrities

A post shared by Ray Styles Studios (@penciledcelebrities) on

The youngest child out of four, Apraku was raised solely by his mother, after the death of his father. Apraku was eight. “My mother became the new ‘father’” he expressed in an exclusive interview with Face2Face Africa.

Spending his primary and secondary school years at Accra New Town Experimental School, he then proceeded to further his education at Accra Academy from 2003 to 2006 and then at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Art, respectively. He earned his bachelors of art degree in communication design from the latter.

100% Pencil of Queen ? @oprah (Tag @oprah ) #penciledcelebrities #pencilonpaper

A post shared by Ray Styles Studios (@penciledcelebrities) on

“As a social commentator, everything (around us and more especially the threads on Social Media) is an inspiration more than enough to engender or start a conversation, artistically,” Apraku said.

Apraku’s client base is spread throughout the globe.  His roster continues to grow via recommendations and the showcasing of his work on social media.

His creative process for forming a work of art begins when he sees an interesting image. “I will find an interesting photo, scale or grid it which I do on the computer. Then I will replicate grid on my drawing paper with a scale factor either larger or smaller. I begin by sketching outlines, create some hatching strokes to demarcate where to place the tones. After, the smudging follows and the detailing of the eyes, nose, lips and any other, ends the drawing process.” [sic]

Apraku also uses the Wacom drawing tablet. With a simple wire connection, he is able to create masterpieces on his iMac. That, coupled with Photoshop, he is able to delve into his passion, no matter his location.

His most prized possession is “the painting I did of my Mom just when I had just started learning how to paint. I kept in my mini portfolio with other paintings in one corner of the room. I knew it was safe. One day when we were relocating and during the packing process, I grabbed my portfolio and Moms painting among others had been messed up by rain from the leaking roof. I am painting another of her soon.” [sic]

So far, Apraku has showcased his art during a solo exhibition in 2010; The Lords of The Art Exhibition in Koforidua, Ghana in 2014; and at The Queen’s Birthday Celebration at the British High Commission, Accra.

Humbled by the accolades he has received thus far, Apraku has also been recognized as Coke’s “60 Young Entrepreneurs” and at the 2017 “Ghana StartUp Club 100.”

In the future, Apraku and his business partners aspire to “establish a mid-size firm which consumers would be able to commission illustrations for business and personal use worldwide. Our long-term goal is to be the leading illustration company worldwide. We would like to penetrate all sectors of business such as marketing campaign for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies around the world.”

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