Dirk Dzimirsky is not a photographer, although it’s easy to make that mistake upon looking at the artist’s hyperrealistic drawings.

Dzimirsky captures water pouring down a man’s face and the fine lines and creases of an old woman to the extent that they look like photos instead of drawings.

So how does Dzimirsky do it? The secret is the use of light and shadow and using multiple layers to get the desired effect.

“I want to capture and describe a person’s presence and specific inner self. Similar to what a detailed writer might employ in their analysis of an individual, I portray not only the physical attributes, but more importantly the subjects’ inner presence of life,” the German freelance artist says in the artist statement portion of his website. “It's not too obvious as my work appears most detailed, but I understand my approach as both representational and lyrical, using marks like words and textured areas like paragraphs. All parts of a whole, telling a story about a human being.”

Examples of the German freelance artist’s work can be viewed on his website. A review by Drawing Magazine lauds his work.

“Dirk Dzimirsky draws heads on a large scale, summoning a hypnotic sense of presence even as he pushes the rendering to a truly breathtaking level of resolution,” wrote John A. Parks. “These drawings reveal the spirited humanity of their subjects.”

Dzimirsky said he chose to draw instead of paint because drawing “allows me to create many layers over layers of lines and dots which react to each other in order to create a vibrant texture with directions and movement.

“This approach enables the finished work to be viewed more by the ‘senses’ as opposed to the standard visual observation of a photo,” he said. “Personally, I view the practice of drawing as reminiscent of scratching on a surface to observe what's hidden underneath, where as the nature of painting projects more the inverse, covering and hiding details and forms that might have contributed to a sensuality of a work.”

Dzimirsky bases his portraits on photographs, but his work does not combine the two art forms.

“I use photos as references for my drawings but I am not after a perfect reproduction at all. I use a photo very loosely once the proportions are established. I usually work as if I were drawing from a live model actually,” he said. “I work with movement and expression, working fast on larger, more unimportant areas, and slowing down on parts that need more attention. I am actually improvising a lot. My main concern is to capture the essence and substance of forms in order to get close to a perceptible presence of the subject.”