By Josh Saunders
Computer whiz creates incredible portraits from Microsoft Paint of Mona Lisa, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, movie posters and more.
Pat Hines, 34, from Boston in Massachusetts, USA, started honing his skills on the sketch and doodle software while working as a security guard over ten years ago.
Now he spends up to 20-hours with the mouse creating realistic portraits of subjects from historical figures to film posters ranging from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to The Omen and more.
In the process he works with the line drawing tool, before spreading mass colour with the paint bucket tool and then like an artist conjures specific colours and details.
His most popular piece a portrait of Microsoft founder Bill Gates holding the same picture a tablet screen in a true Inception-styled – lured the attention of the tech giants who he now tests products for.
Pat, who works full-time as a lawyer, but commits up to ten hours a week to his illustration charges $300(223gbp) for commissioned pieces including wedding, family and child portraits.
He said: “Most people don’t believe it when I tell them, they assume my stuff is squiggles or looks like a three-year-old’s drawing and are very surprised by my work.
“I would say I have a little over one hundred pieces in total but I’m really proud of my Star Wars Force Awakens movie poster and my Bill Gates’ portrait.
“People really enjoyed the Bill Gates portrait as it was an Inception type photo, I also made a portrait of my brother and his wife at their wedding that came out really well.
“My Mona Lisa was an tough attempt, it was incredibly difficult but gave me a real appreciation for that painting.
“It can take up to 20 hours if I’m attempting to create a more realistic portrait of a person or something very intricate.
“Some people say it’s a long time to work on a piece, but actual painters spend the same amount of time.
“If I have a realistic piece to make I start with a reference photo, movie poster or find an image of the actor.
“Then I lay down a grid over the picture using paint, I create thin lines then put over a blanket and many artists do it in mediums.
“I make my version using the grid and following each square, I erase the grid with colouring, then it’s a matter of me looking at a reference and attempting it as best as I can.
“It’s not sophisticated and is a lot of trial and error, but I feel like I have a technique of my own that works well.
“The tool I use the most is the line tool, then the paint bucket and paint brush.
“The problem is getting to sit down and do it, I work for five to ten hours a week on average but once I’m in the chair time dissolves and I get sucked into it like a form of meditation.”
Pat’s first experience exposure to Microsoft Paint was in 1995, after his aunt bought the family a new computer.
He said: “It was huge, we didn’t have the internet but having a computer was pretty big, I played around with paint a little as a kid and then I forgot about it for a few years.
“Around ten years later, I was working as a security guard on overnight shifts and didn’t have anything else to do but play on the computer at four in the morning.
“This was before Facebook, YouTube or Wikipedia, I wasn’t into solitaire or FreeCell, so I was on Microsoft paint.”
In the easy-to-use software Pat found his niche and after countless hours of practice, he’s now able to sell commissioned pieces for up to $300 (223GBP).
His work lured the attention of Microsoft, who have him working on their creative committee for the advanced Microsoft Paint 3D
In addition to portraits he works on illustrations for books he has written, that replicate a cartoon and comic-book format.
Pat said: “Before I worked in paint I was a decent freehand pencil and paper artist, but my work never came out looking the way I wanted it to.
“I never had a personal style before, but with paint I started to notice my illustrations were a recognisable style and so I stuck with it.
“I have different modes I work in, the first is my own illustration mode, the ones from my book look more like a comic book, very different from my realistic images.
“Now I’m preparing another book sequel that will be fully illustrated, doing a couple of pieces to give to people as Christmas gifts and whenever I go to weddings I offer to create a Microsoft paint painting for them too.”
Follow his work here: HERE