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The Art of Carving on a Pencil

Surendra Acharya from Karkala, Udupi breaks the Guinness World Record  ‘Most links carved from pencil lead (graphite)’

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In 2018, the world was stunned by Abdul Baseer, a Pakistani national who carved 50 chain links from pencil lead at Gujranwala in Pakistan. Just when the world thought it had seen everything, Surendra Acharya, who works as a temporary worker at the MESCOM sub station in Karkala, Udupi, came forward with his incredible skill of being able to carve human figurines from just pencil graphite. 

On the eventful day of April 7, 2020, Acharya made history by breaking the Guiness world record for ‘Most links carved from pencil lead (graphite)’. By carving a total of 58 links from pencil lead in the presence of four gazetted officers, Surendra Acharya, a man who coincidentally came upon this art of carving figurines and sculptures from pencil lead, had left the world in awe. 

This journey of discovering his talents through the delicate work of sculpting first began when he heard of an artist carving figures on a piece of chalk around nine years ago. Today, nine years down the line, Acharya has honed this skill to become a Guiness record holder. Impressive does not even begin to cover the wonder of his achievement. 

Coming from a family of farm workers and holding a diploma in fire and safety, people don’t usually associate him with sculpting. Yet, he was one to persevere to complete his task. Sometimes, when he was ready to carve the final touches, the entire sculpture broke down only to separate into tiny fragments. But even as his artwork broke, he was not one to lead his spirit to the same fate. He would start again. As any artist, Acharya embraces his mistakes when he works on a piece.

Despite having a job at MESCOM and having a busy schedule, he understands that practice makes perfect. He devotes time and energy to nurturing his skill each day. His best works include sculptures of Mother Teresa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lord Vishwakarma and Jesus Christ. He has his eyes set on sculpting poses of Yakshagana and Bharatnatyam in the near future. 

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