Lead Finger: Incredible Miniatures Carved Out of Pencil Tips

Eagle feathers, the folds on Yoda’s robe and individual bricks on iconic buildings are among the impossibly tiny details captured in pencil lead by miniaturist Salivat Fidai. The Russian artist uses an X-acto knife to carefully scrape away minuscule shavings of graphite, revealing everything from realistic dinosaur heads to the Eiffel Tower.

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Sped-up videos on Fidai’s Instagram give us a look at the process, which starts with scraping away an inch or two of wood to reveal the graphite core. The artist creates the basic shape of each sculpture and then makes the refinements. This technique requires not just an eye for detail but a very light hand as well, to avoid putting too much pressure on the lead and snapping it.

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They’re all cool, but perhaps most impressive are the ones featuring little pieces that have been carefully separated from the main graphite core, like this lock. Many originals are up for sale at the artist’s Etsy shop.

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Another artist creating similar works is Dalton Ghetti, a carpenter by trade who uses sewing needles and razor blades to carve entire chains of graphite as well as other sculptures, all without the benefit of a magnifying glass.