Cadden was born in Glasgow in 1964, and began drawing at age six. In 1982 he attended Glasgow College of Building and Printing, studying Print Design and Illustration there until 1986. In 2001 he furthered his education by studying Animation and Illustration at James Watt College. In addition to hyperrealism, he has worked as a 3D illustrator.
Cadden produces around seven pieces per year, taking an average of between three and six weeks each. His works are usually in A1 or A0 sizes and are often created using only a pencil, though he also uses pastels, watercolours, acrylic, and chalk. His subjects are usually people, but also include street scenes, cars and horses. They sell for up to £15000 each and have been exhibited in London, New York, Glasgow, Andorra and Atlanta. In 2011 Cadden was shortlisted for Artist of the year.
Cadden cites as inspiration the phrase "to intensify the normal". "Their practices prove their incapacity, they have no ability to intensify the normal, the joy of a child or a healthy person", and said in 2012 that he seeks to create drawings carrying an emotional impact from "everyday objects and scenes of people". He says of his work, "Although the drawings and paintings I make are based upon photographs, videos stills etc, the idea is to go beyond the photograph."
Cadden's favorite work of his own is a piece called 'After' which depicts a man with water running off his face,so basically he is shedding tears but he enjoys portraiture in general.
- "Paul Cadden's Hyperrealism". koikoikoi. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Atkins, Nigel (15 March 2012). "UnHBelievable: Hyper-real pencil drawings look just like photos". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Mcqueeney, Kerry (15 March 2012). "No, they're not photographs! The astonishing pictures drawn by PENCIL". Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Greenhough, Chris (26 April 2012). "Not Actually Photographs: Paul Cadden's Incredible Pencil Drawings". The Inquisitr. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Hyperreal Paintings by Paul Cadden". Juxtapoz. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.