An artist is now using an interactive online-education platform to teach people how to sketch with colored pencils, Chen Meiling reports.
With four cats, two computers, a shelf loaded with colored pencils, several wooden boards and closed curtains, Meng Xianglei often stays in his studio for hours, with time seeming to stop when he is drawing.
A graduate of the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University, Meng, 33, is well-known for his realistic figure paintings.
Meng has more than 185,000 followers on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social platform. And many of the fans are his students, who learn how to draw with colored pencils in video courses he has been teaching on CCtalk, an interactive online-education platform.
In his drawings, the hair, eyelashes, skin, lip lines and other details including clothes are depicted with a lifelike effect.
Commenting on the works, a netizen with the online name LMlovemylife says on her Sina Weibo account: "I like your drawings because they make me feel ... comfortable."
Another internet user says: "Even cameras feel threatened at the sight of his drawings!"
His drawing procedure sounds simple-first, select an ideal photo; second, make a draft; third, fill in colors.
His secret to creating his effects is a close and accurate observation and judgment of details in real life, such as the subtle differences in skin color; the corners of mouth; the orientation of the eyes; as well as the comparison of shadow and light, says Meng. "Besides, focusing on the facial expressions and temperament of the figure is also important."
For each artwork, he spends over 5000 hours and sometimes uses up to 500 colors and shades.
Also, Meng is "picky" about his subjects. And he says no to subjects whose photos are not to his liking.
"Since I have to spend time on them, it is a torture if I don't like the subject."
Most of his subjects are women and kittens, which have higher aesthetic value in his eyes.
In his view, "few men have that type of exquisite delicacy, which motivates me to create art".