Nigerian Visual Artist Dolapo Ogunlabi Talks About Drawing As An Art Form

Drawing is one of the most underrated forms of Visual Arts in Nigeria. We visually appreciate works of art when we see them but not much emphasis is put into showcasing them. Nigeria and Africa as a whole is gifted with a lot of talented visual artists. Nigerian Entertainment will be showcasing some of them. We recently caught up with a young 20 Year old visual artist named Dolapo. He shared with us some of his works and gave up insight to the process of getting his art done. We hope you enjoy the interview and most especially pictures of his work.

The Nigerian Visual Artist

Dolapo Ogunlabi (born 20th September 1995) is a Nigerian Artist. He currently lives in Lagos State, Nigeria, where he grew up. Dolapo found his niche in drawing life-like portraits  of everyday people and celebrities. His medium of choice is Graphite Pencil, Charcoal, and he has dabbled a bit into using pen and paints. Although he has no formal art training, Dolapo paid close attention in Visual Arts class when he attended Home Science Association Secondary School (H.S.A.S.S) in Lagos State. At the age of 15, he began to perfect his talent for drawing through constant practice. On the 19th of November 2011, He participated in an Art exhibition/Drawing competition at Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Ogun State. He represented his school and emerged 2nd Position (Senior Category). He graduated from H.S.A.S.S and went on to study at The University of Lagos; he is currently studying estate management. Some of his work include portraits of Rihanna, Bob Marley, Sophie, Prince Ajibola Afonja, Wole Soyinka, and Drake.

dolapo ogunlabi artist

The Interview

Nigerian Entertainment: What inspired you to take on drawing as an art form?

Dolapo: I just found drawing fascinating, so i tried it and ended up liking & being good at it, due to the encouragement from people who saw the potentials in me.

Nigerian Entertainment: Why pencil drawings?
Dolapo: I started with pencils & became pretty good at it although I still explore other mediums like pen and paints & I’ll probably go further to even explore more.

Nigerian Entertainment: How do you prepare before you start creating art?
Dolapo:  Basically, i study the reference picture for a while, just to know where to start from & where to end it.

Nigerian Entertainment: Any formal training?
Dolapo: Not at all, aside doing visual art in high school, no formal training at all

Nigerian Entertainment: What is the hardest part of drawing with pencil?
Dolapo: Charcoal pencils in particular is difficult to erase, so bad strokes arent welcome & for coloured pencils, trying to blend the colors together is quite hard.

Nigerian Entertainment: The difference between charcoal & a normal graphite pencil?

Dolapo: I’d say the difference is that it takes less effort to get the darkest tones with a charcoal pencil than with a graphite pencil, I’d also say charcoal is a faster medium, especially when working large. Also charcoal, (the soft variety) is much easier and quicker to make a large range of soft tonal variations, while graphite pencils are preferable when you’re dealing with details.

Nigerian Entertainment: What steps do you take while drawing? Do you do the outline first and then details last?
Dolapo: I do the details first, before I outline.

(For those who would like to know Dolapo shared the steps he takes to draw )
Step 1: I study the picture before i start drawing
Step 2: I make a sketch of the right proportion on paper, most times I start drawing from the right side of the paper but it doesn’t really matter
Step 3: I start drawing and imputing details starting from the eyes
Step 4: I draw the ears
Step 5: I draw the cheeks
Step 6: I draw the nose
Step 7: I draw the facial hair if any.
Step 8: I draw the lips last
Then lastly I do the general shading.

Nigerian Entertainment: You have a colored drawing of drake.. why him?
Dolapo: I stumbled on the picture & i liked it so i just decided to work on it.

Nigerian Entertainment: Do you think drawing is an inbred skill or can it be taught?
Dolapo:  It is an inbuilt thing & it can also be learned.  But according to study, learning how to draw can be really frustrating. you need to have at-least a bit of the talent for the training to develop you.

Nigerian Entertainment: Who else have you drawn?
Dolapo: I’ve drawn celebrities like Wole Soyinka, Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, Ariana Grande etc.

Nigerian Entertainment: Do you do live drawings or you use pictures only?
Dolapo: Yh i can do both a live drawing & a picture. Though i havent done a live one since high school, since i specialise mostly in drawing from pictures.

Nigerian Entertainment: Advise to anyone who is passionate about drawing but doesn’t know how to start?
Dolapo:  Practice Practice Practice and watch video tutorials online. They really help with the improvement a lot. The internet is there 24/7

Nigerian Entertainment: Where can people find your work?
Dolapo:  You can connect with me & find my works on twitter & Instagram @ItsDolapo_ or visit my website

His Works

dolapo ogunlabu artist rihanna graphite on cardboard

dolapo ogunlabu artist snoop dog drawingdolapo ogunlabu artist contrast

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