Leib Chigrin: Stunningly Realistic Pen & Ink Stipple Portraits

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Pen and Ink

Leib Chigrin is a freelance illustrator from Ukraine who specializes in stipple portraits known as “hedcuts.” Drawn by hand with pen and ink, his portraits are chock-full of lifelike detail, capturing every nuance of his subject.

Lieb’s ability to create such preciseness in imitating human characteristics with the tiniest dots of ink is inspiring. In fact, it’s not until you either step away from the portrait or gain very close proximity that you see how those millions of dots work together to create a cohesive narrative. Take a look!

Spock is a beloved Star Trek character who has earned fandom across the globe. An interesting character to represent with his pristine haircut, elongated ears and inquisitive eyebrows, Leib captures his likeness to perfection!


Spock eyes the viewer suspiciously, just for a moment, before getting back to his task at hand. For him, it’s all business as usual. Increased intensity of stipples reveals jet black hair, while lack of stipples highlights Spock’s face in a lustrous light, revealing smooth and ageless features.

Next up (from Star Wars, of course!) Luke is a piece Leib created in which the detail, texture and realism are simply astounding.


Just from thousands of tiny dots, the viewer is able to note the plush thickness of Luke’s coveralls, the sheen of his thin belt and the cushiony fabric of his jacket. And hidden within the cover of his helmet and goggles, we can even see the ridge of Luke’s nose and his eyes shadowed by lashes as he peers into the distance.

The last illustration for today is from Leib’s “Samurai” series, which depicts a wise-looking samurai perhaps contemplating his life’s great purpose.


Leib is able to use his stippling effect to create straight, cross-hatched lines in the collar, making a nice contrast to the pure dotted pattern in the shoulders of his robe.

This particular hedcut looks even more incredible at a distance, when the stipples fade together to create realistic-looking contours to his face, hair and eyes. Up close, though, his eyes are still incredible—in fact, if you look close enough, you’re sure to see the same sparkle of wit and wisdom that I do!

Leib has a sizeable, well-stocked portfolio on his website, featuring people from all walks of life. Don’t miss the chance to view more of his incredible work—visit his website now!


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