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Michella Chester | | November 25, 2020

Stanford's Justin Moore creates these vivid photorealistic drawings in his spare time

Hear from Stanford's Justin Moore who creates these vivid photorealistic drawings in his spare time

Justin Moore is a computer science major at Stanford University. Seems time consuming right? Well he is also a DI athlete on the Stanford baseball team. What is his hobby, you might ask? Spending 100-plus hours drawing a single photo-realistic portrait that is pretty stunning in its accuracy.

Take a look at one of Moore's most recent drawings and see for yourself.  One thing you might notice is that a lot of his drawings are sports icons. Two worlds can collide after all. Call him the Caravaggio of college baseball.

Justin Moore's drawing of Kobe Bryant

Moore always knew he was artistic. It started in first grade when he taped together printer paper and sketched out the map of the world. He called it "The big world, by Justin Moore." It's framed and still hangs in the hallway of his family home. 

"Looking back, it was pretty good for a first-grader," Moore said. 

Moore's world drawing

He recalls receiving a drawing book at Christmas as a 9-year-old. Clearly, his parents recognized his talent. He cried when opening it, because what 9-year-old wants a book for Christmas, right?

It wasn't until eighth grade that he took a stab at his first portrait. He had gotten an iPhone as his birthday present, possibly a more exciting present than his drawing book, but it led him to drawing all the same. The first thing he downloaded was Instagram. He came across an account where a girl posted her drawings of Boston sports icons. Moore, a Boston sports fan through and through, was hooked.

He remembers thinking, "this is the coolest thing ever, I want to be able to do this.” 

Then came his first few attempts at drawing his biggest icon of all, Tom Brady. 

Moore's first Brady drawings

Moore has never taken an art class. Never received any training at all, actually. He just decided to do it one day. A few portraits for practice and some Youtube videos later, he was good enough to create pieces like this: 

Tom Brady drawing

You can follow Moore on twitter @Justin_Moore18 to see more of his artwork.

Moore's most recent Kobe Bryant drawing took 175-plus hours. He said he has an easy way to pick his subjects: he likes to draw people he thinks are really cool. Brady of course, Tiger Woods after he won the Masters (and because he's a Cardinal), George Strait because Moore's a big country music fan, etc. 

He mostly draws during winter and summer breaks since most of his time during the school year is dedicated to his school work and baseball. 

His artistic and athletic side do have some crossover, though. Moore has a rule for himself when drawing: He can quit the drawing until he has drawn the eyes and the nose. He can't really tell until that point if the portrait will look good. In the past, he has ripped up a drawing before that point, and now regrets it. Maybe it would have turned out great. 

That mentality goes hand and hand with baseball, and sports in general.

"The work you’re putting in might not produce results in the short term, but that doesn’t mean you should stop working and looking to the long term," Moore said. "And I think that mindset is parallel between the two.” 

Moore is excited to get back to school at Stanford and hopefully be back with his friends in the locker room and out on the field. Beyond that, he said it's every baseball player's dream to get drafted and play as long as they can. If not, he would love to pursue a career in computer science. And maybe even some graphics to mix a little art in there as well. 

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