In 2019, a young Nigerian artist named Eli Waduba Yusuf who draws portraits of people created a black-and-white pencil drawing of one of his favorite comedians, Kevin Hart.
It was one of his many original hyperrealism portraits, but this sketch, which took him two weeks to complete, was extra special because it featured his idol’s image.
“I have watched a lot of his movies, he’s my favorite comedian and I wanted to give him something as a gift as a way of saying thank you,” Yusuf told ABC News.
Yusuf shares portraits of people and animals on his social media. He shared a picture of the illustration on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, hoping that Hart would see it.
The detailed pencil image, which is as good as a black-and-white photo, garnered dozens of likes, shares, and retweets on both platforms.
Two days later, Yusuf made another attempt to get noticed. This time, he posted Hart’s image and tagged his Twitter handle.
“Please retweet until @KevinHart4real sees it,” Yusuf wrote. “He’s one of my favorite comedian[s], help a brother out. Thank you.”
However, it was yet another failed effort.
Not willing to give up, he took another chance and posted a photo of himself with the hyperrealistic drawing of Hart and tagged his Twitter handle.
Yusuf also tagged the account of Arinze Stanley, a Nigerian hyperrealistic artist who inspired him to explore the genre.
“My name is Eli Waduba Yusuf. Am a Nigerian, based in kaduna. Am a hyperrealism PENCIL Artist, I hope to become like @Harinzeyart. Please Retweet, let @KevinHart4real see it, thank you,” he wrote.
Finally, the message got through to its intended recipient.
Hart responded to one Twitter user, saying, “Talent out of this world… Wooooooooow,” and retweeted one of his followers who brought Yusuf’s artwork to his attention. He wrote a request, “Can somebody please tag me with this kids info… ”
Minutes later, Hart retweeted Yusuf’s Twitter post.
“I see it and I want to purchase it…I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of 3 of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work!” wrote the Philadelphia native.
Hart also spoke to Yusuf through a direct message on Twitter.
“I still can’t believe it; it feels like a dream. It’s been so overwhelming. Kevin Hart has just blew my mind,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf, who started to sketch portraits of people at the age of 8, also shared Hart’s request on his Facebook page.
Stanley, a self-taught hyperrealism artist, also took notice of Yusuf’s efforts to connect.
“I feel so graced to be able to inspire someone somewhere out there,” Stanley told ABC News. “To see people win is the ultimate deal in life, you don’t get a better feeling than that.”
Yusuf graduated from Kaduna State Polytechnic with a degree in cooperative economics. He was thrilled when Stanley and thousands of other Twitter users started following him on the platform.
“His work showed me the possibilities of art, so I decided that whatever I see I must replicate and do even better,” he told BBC about Stanley. “I made sure that every new work I do is better than the previous one.”
Yusuf was inspired to start an Instagram account after his work went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Today, he has 24.9K followers on the video and photo-sharing platform.
“A lot has changed – a few days ago I was just a local artist who loved drawing and would have loved the world to see my work, but I didn’t know it would happen so fast,” Yusuf said.
A talent like that deserves to be seen by the world! Follow Eli Waduba Yusuf on Instagram, TwitterFacebook, and his website to learn more about his amazing art.
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