Emmanuel Apraku, the man behind Ghana’s revered Penciledcelebrities artworks, dies

Mildred Europa Taylor October 01, 2020

Popular Ghanaian artist Emmanuel Apraku otherwise known as Ray Styles has reportedly died after months of battle with liver cancer. A television and radio personality, Giovanni Caleb, announced the death of the talented young artist on Twitter Thursday.

Last month, pictures of Apraku looking ill hit social media, with his friends and colleagues seeking financial assistance for surgery.

A gofundme account was set up to raise $55,000 to support his treatment, with Ghana’s First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo even donating $20,000 to help cover the cost.

About Apraku

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 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 in 2018.


Spending his primary and secondary school years at Accra New Town Experimental School, he 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. He earned his bachelor of art degree in communication design from the latter.

“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. With 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]

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. Apraku has also been recognized as Coke’s “60 Young Entrepreneurs” and at the 2017 “Ghana StartUp Club 100.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 1, 2020


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