Pencil vs. Camera: drawings that pop out at you

Interesting Engineering

Upon first looking at the photograph of a pencil drawing from artist Ben Heine below, you might think that he has been working magic on Photoshop and put himself into the picture. However you would be wrong, in fact the artist is actually standing on top of his pencil drawing.

If you have ever seen some of the optical illusions that sidewalk artists create then you will get a better idea of what you see here. The drawings are in fact flat, but drawn such that they take on a 3D appearance and pop out at you.

ben-heine-1[2][Image Source: Ben Heine]

The 3D appearance that Heines makes use of is called anamorphosis, in other words an optical illusion. This means that the viewer needs to stand at a certain angle to get the full effect. Heine sketches freehand using pencil and charcoal and then he retouches his work; large sketches are around 13 feet by 10 feet and takes around one week from start to finish. In this time he can go through around 15 pencils and 3 charcoal sticks on one piece of artwork, depending on the amount of dark regions in the piece. His work has sparked inspiration in others to try a style that is very similar.

ben-heine-5[2][Image Source: Ben Heine]

The artist is from Belgium and his work is multidisciplinary. For this series of artwork entitled “Pencil vs. Camera”, he has used pencils and a camera to bring both together, and as it happens the 73 piece series has been one of his most popular. The pencil drawings do seem to simply pop out at you when you view them from the correct angle. This cleverly makes it look as though the artist is interacting with the drawings.

Pencil-vs-Camera-Optical-Illusion-Drawings-1[Image Source: Ben Heine]

Pencil-vs-Camera-Optical-Illusion-Drawings-2[Image Source: Ben Heine]

Heine said that he loves nothing more than making art for people to look at. He said “I want them to dream and forget their daily troubles. I used to write poems many years ago, I want to convey a poetic and philosophical meaning into my pictures, each new creation should tell a story and generate an intense emotion, like a poem, like a melody.”

Pencil-vs-Camera-Optical-Illusion-Drawings-3[Image Source: Ben Heine]

Pencil-vs-Camera-Optical-Illusion-Drawings-4[Image Source: Ben Heine]

In the same series of “Pencil vs. Camera”, Heines blends his pencil drawings in with landscapes, objects and people, so that they both match up perfectly together. First the artist chooses the location he wants to draw and then goes ahead and draws whatever he has in mind. When that is completed, he holds it up against the subject and takes the photo.