A 13-year-old artist is taking the internet by storm with her hyperrealistic pastel paintings.
Isabella Brazhnikova has the kind of prodigious talent that may cause some adults to have an existential crisis. The child artist has spent her time in lockdown amassing a huge TikTok following. But her lush, vivid pastel drawings of wildlife are so impressive some wondered if she was a fraud.
Who is Isabella Brazhnikova?
Brazhnikova is a 13-year-old artistic wunderkind. The teenager hails from Auckland, New Zealand where her mother, Elena Esina, immigrated from Russia at age 13. Brazhnikova fell in love with animals at 2 years old. This inspired her to depict wildlife in drawings at age 4.
Watch Brazhnikova’s artistic development from ages six to 11.
“I want to show people how beautiful wildlife is and that it’s really unique, and we have to protect and love it,” she told 1 News.
She has a lot of doubters
According to Esina, by the time she was 10 years old, Brazhnikova’s drawings were so advanced her teachers didn’t believe she drew them. To prove them wrong, she started the YouTube channel “Draw with Isabella.” Each video on the channel features Brazhnikova speed drawing a portrait.
But when she joined TikTok a few years later, Brazhnikova was met with a similar response.
“At first TikTok’s audience did not believe that this was an 11-year-old girl doing the drawing,” Esina said. “Isabella got lots of hate comments like: ‘That’s a fake.’ ‘Your parents are drawing for you.’ ‘That’s not even a child’s hand.’ She was saddened by that response.”
To prove people wrong yet again, Brazhnikova uploaded a video where viewers could actually watch her drawing, instead of just seeing her hand.
Her mom is also an artist
“It runs in the genes but it comes out differently,” Esina told 1 News, noting the difference in their art styles.
While Esina draws portraits of women with charcoal, her daughter prefers animal subjects. The mother received a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.
Brazhnikova doesn’t work for free
If you want an original Brazhnikova you’ve got to pay up. The 13-year-old takes commissions (when she’s not too busy) on Instagram.
“There are never enough hours in a day for me, there is so much I want to draw,” she said. “I love doing large animal portraits and pet portrait commissions. I enjoy doing very detailed drawings using quality colored pencils and pastel pencils. I dream of showing my work at an Auckland Art Gallery, that would be amazing.”
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