miles johnston art review

The Surreal Pencil Art of Miles Johnston

Miles Johnston

They say a good piece of art should stick with you after you first see it – a mental picture that’s etched into the mind. That’s exactly what happens when you first experience the art of Miles Johnston.

The UK-born artist has a talent for developing images that are not only memorable, but make the viewer think too. Each piece seems to portray an internal human struggle that’s expressed spectacularly through a surreal interpretation.

Often realistic and highly detailed, Miles’ art was clearly influenced by his time at the Swedish Academy of Realist Art. He currently serves as an instructor at the same school while continuing to develop his own collection of work.

I have always felt a sense of the sublime, terrifying, awe inspiring strangeness of being.

– Miles Johnston

Art that makes you look twice

Miles’ bucolic settings are perfectly complimented by his use of graphite. The soft gradients and feathery outlines make the work appear even more ethereal and dreamlike with a wide value range that always leaves some area in full darkness.

The subject matter feels very introspective and often includes themes of separateness and self reflection. The illusions and distortions that are the hallmark of surreal art are perfectly executed and tastefully subtle.

The distortions and transformations my subjects undergo serve to represent the experience of our internal state during crucial moments in our lives.

Learn how to draw like Miles Johnston

If you aren’t lucky enough to attend the Swedish Academy of Realist Art in person, Miles also has a set of in-depth tutorials for sale on his website.

For a glimpse behind his pencil process, check out this speed-drawing video:

Regarding materials, simple mechanical pencils, blender stumps, and kneaded erasers seem to be his go-to tools. The creamy smoothness of Moleskine notebooks also make many appearances.

To see more of Miles Johnston’s art and his latest works in progress, check out his Instagram page, where he regularly engages with his 1m+ followers.

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