Drawing the crowds to a UK museum, the mini masterpieces carved from graphite

The pencil artist who gets straight to the point: Drawing the crowds to a UK museum, the mini masterpieces carved from graphite… and they’re smaller than a fingernail

Of all the tools at an artist’s disposal, the pencil is perhaps the most humble.

But for Jasenko Dordevic, that slender cylinder of wood and graphite is more than a tool for sketching. For each of his fragile creations — some of which are on show at The Pencil Museum in Cumbria — stands no taller than a fingernail and each is the result of hours of painstaking work with tiny scalpels and chisels.

One wrong move and there’s no rubbing it all out and starting again.

From exquisitely carved trains to a perfectly formed tiny king, perched on his throne, Dordevic’s award-winning art doesn’t just flow from the pencil, it sits, sculpted in minute perfection atop it.

‘For me creating miniature is a battle with yourself, where I get to push my limits,’ he says. He spends five to ten hours sculpting a rough outline, before the more laborious detail phase, which can take days.

‘I use a cosmetic magnifying glass with built-in light, to reduce eye strain and in the last stage I use a microscope for the smallest details,’ the Bosnian tells the Mail. Given the fragile nature of graphite, there isn’t much room for error.

‘The harder the graphite the safer you are while making a sculpture, but it is harder to carve . . . you have to be very careful,’ he adds.

His art also pays miniature homage to other works, including Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker and Michelangelo’s The Creation Of Adam. 

The main line: A brilliantly crafted high-speed train sweeps through the tunnels

Drawing water: And what better way to do it than with an old-style well? His nibs: Stephen Tvrtko became the first king of Bosnia — Jasenko’s homeland — back in 1377

Drawing water: And what better way to do it than with an old-style well (left)?

Fifty shades of grey: Lovers have a kiss and cuddle on a bench

Fifty shades of grey: Lovers have a kiss and cuddle on a bench

Lead Zeppelin? This guitar took a whole lotta love to create strumthing very special Propelling pencil: Poor Sisyphus is condemned to spend eternity pushing a boulder uphill in Hades

Lead Zeppelin? This guitar (left) took a whole lotta love to create strumthing very special

Mystic mark: This symbol represented the divine being in an ancient European religion

Mystic mark: This symbol represented the divine being in an ancient European religion

For Jasenko Dordevic (pictured), that slender cylinder of wood and graphite is more than a tool for sketching

For Jasenko Dordevic (pictured), that slender cylinder of wood and graphite is more than a tool for sketching

Tight squeeze: A little girl clings to her serene mother

Tight squeeze: A little girl clings to her serene mother

What’s the point of it all? Rodin’s The Thinker tries to work out the meaning of life — in miniature

What’s the point of it all? Rodin’s The Thinker tries to work out the meaning of life — in miniature

The pen(cil) is mightier than the sword: The Lady of the Lake gives Excalibur to King Arthur A very fine feline: A black cat is said to bring luck — and it has certainly worked for this remarkable artist

The pen(cil) is mightier than the sword (left): The Lady of the Lake gives Excalibur to King Arthur

No shoulder to crayon: A sad and solitary figure sits by himself outside his modest dwelling

No shoulder to crayon: A sad and solitary figure sits by himself outside his modest dwelling

Tip top: A church featuring the tiniest of crosses on the steeple

Tip top: A church featuring the tiniest of crosses on the steeple