As a child William Mwale spent much of his time with pencils, making known and unknown drawings for fun. Three decades on, Mwale is still with a pencil—but this time making a living out of it.

Born in Zimbabwe, raised in Botswana and Malawian, Mwale only discovered the potential he had in the pencil in 2003 when he finally settled home.

“My work is largely inborn talent. However, I had, with years, groom myself through interactions with different artists and online colleges,” he said.

He has produced many artworks.

One of Mwale’s pencil works

“I work with pencils, oils, acrylic, watercolour, but my strongest passion is on pencils and oil paint,” he said.

Mwale further said he feels fascinated working with pencils because he is able to bring out true life expressions that anyone can relate to.

Depending on the size and details of the photo reference available, it takes Mwale not more than an hour to complete the drawing.

“For bigger works, the process is more involving and it can take even a day and for even much bigger, it takes a week,” he said.

There was a time when Mwale imitated a portrait of ‘a white girl’ done by renowned Dirk Dzirmisky. He has done a number of other other woks of celebrated artists as well as his own creations. He is at crossroads to actually pick his best.

“I can’t really point out any specific art because each art I’ve produced is special and unique on its own,” he said.

Mwale has been in countless opportunities with his art.

He have served as a national secretary for Visual Arts Association of Malawi from 2011-2013.

He has also participated in many art exhibitions both locally and internationally.

His memorable one is the Wildlife Arts Festival and Wildlife Art Exhibition at Imperial College, United Kingdom.

Mwale has also been involved with many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in charity projects such as the Young in Prison Foundation (YPF) where he mentored young inmates of Kachere Prison about the advantages of investing in talents/arts.

Locally, he has showcased at La Galleria in Lilongwe and La Carvena in Blantyre.

Internationally, his artworks have been showcased in countries such as Japan, England, Australia, USA, Germany and South Africa.

Today, Mwale says his art is his means of survival.

“Currently, with Internet, I market and sell my artworks on my Facebook page; on MalawiArt.net, a UK-based website that donates part of proceeds to children’s ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre,” he says.

Currently, Mwale is heavily involved in private commissioned artworks by private clients and corporate companies.

“I have, so far, worked with FMB Bank, Vision Fund Malawi, UNAids, Unicef, Puma Energy Malawi and Standard Bank,” he said.

Mwale said he gets encouraged by a number of up-and-coming artists specialising in pencil.

“It’s a steadily growing industry and I am happy with the development,” he said.

However, despite his success, Mwale still thinks he has a long way to go.

“I will not say I’m satisfied with what I’m earning. I’m still climbing the ladder and aiming higher,” he said. n

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