See how this digital artist is bringing Queen Elizabeth I, Shaka Zulu and other historical figures into the 21st century

Artist Becca Segovia brings Queen Elizabeth I back to life. (PHOTO: Facebook/ Royalty Now)

Artist Becca Segovia brings Queen Elizabeth I back to life. (PHOTO: Facebook/ Royalty Now)

Becca Segovia takes historical figures from old paintings and statues and gives them a digital makeover.

This artist has devoted his life to turning matchsticks into masterpieces

Queen Victoria, Vincent van Gogh, Abraham Lincoln, Tutankhamun, Cleopatra, George Washington, William Shakespeare, Marcus Aurelius, Nefertiti and even Shaka Zulu are among her incredible digital transformations. 

Digital art

This statue in London served as inspiration for Becca’s portrait of a modern-day Shaka Zulu. (PHOTO: Facebook/ Royalty Now)

The American artist is a corporate graphic designer by profession but in her free time, she tunes into her love for art, history and digital manipulation to imagine how famous people may have looked in real life.

“I create these images so we can learn about the past with a little more empathy for the figures involved,” she says.

“It seems to strike people somewhere visceral to look into the more relatable eyes of the famous figures we know and love.” 

Since she started her Instagram account, Royalty Now back in 2018, Becca’s gained nearly 400 000 followers and her art has been recognised across the world. 

Her first and favourite recreation was Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England in the 1500s.

Working from a portrait, she took artistic licence, loosening King Henry’s doomed wife’s hair from her headdress and adding some make-up along with a modern dress.

“And all of a sudden she looked lifelike,” Becca says. “She looked like someone who could stand right in front of me and tell me her story from her own lips, instead of someone who’s at the mercy of historians and Hollywood producers.” 

Since then, Becca has modernised more than 100 portraits of historical figures. She says it takes between three to four hours to complete a portrait using Photoshop. 

Digital art

Tutankhamun, Egypt’s most famous pharaoh. (PHOTO: Facebook/ Royalty Now)

“I often source features from other photos to replace the eyes, nose and mouth, and then I digitally paint on top of it to blend it all together,” she said in a 2020 interview with South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper.

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“The end result is usually a mashup of five or six photos.”

She adds that one of the most challenging things is finding the right picture to work from, and that the more realistic the source material is, the better.

The artist now shares her work on YouTube, TikTok and Etsy.

On YouTube she teams up with her husband, Jordan Segovia, to create documentaries which offer more information on each historical figure. 

Digital art

Becca’s vision of how William Shakespeare looked in real life. (PHOTO: Facebook/ Royalty Now)

“Our goal is to bring history back to life and make it more relatable,” she says.   

Sources: Instagram, Sunday Times, Royalty Now Studios

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