Ben Heine’s Circlism and Pencil vs Camera

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Bob Marley - Circlism by Ben Heine

Bob Marley - Circlism by Ben Heine

I came across this portrait of Bob Marley on Flickr. I jumped right over to the albums of Ben Heine and was excited by what I saw. His Flickr site is filled with over 1,300 images ranging  from digital portraits to illustrations, including photography and surrealism.

Ben  is a Belgian painter, illustrator, portraitist, caricaturist and photographer. He was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and is currently living and working in Brussels.

To quote Ben, ”What exactly is (Digital) Circlism ? This is a modern artistic expression, a mix between Pop Art and Pointillism. It is made with digital tools (this is just a personal definition).”

Self Portrait - Circlism - Ben Heine

Self Portrait - Circlism - Ben Heine

Ben went on to say, “In my opinion, the most important thing to focus on before starting that kind of project is to understand the dynamic movement of someone’s face. I usually apply each digital circle individually on a black background with a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4 (it could be any other graphics creation software).”

“I usually make bigger circles in the lighter areas of the subject and smaller circles in the darker places. This gives more volume and a 3D illusion. There is no limit, it’s a new technique and I think there is much more to do with it.”

She is My Mona Lisa - Digital Circlism by Ben Heine

She is My Mona Lisa - Digital Circlism by Ben Heine

The other interesting thing that Ben is doing is called Pencil vs Camera. I  really enjoy these photo/drawings and know you will too.

Pencil vs Camera - 25

Pencil vs Camera - 25 - Ben Heine

Ben said in an interview for, “I’ve been taking photos and drawing since almost 10 years. This “Pencil Vs Camera” series is nothing but the result of several years of graphic exploration and a logic consequence of my artistic evolution. But the real idea came while I was watching television and writing a letter at the same time a few weeks ago. Reading my letter before putting it in the envelope, I saw in transparency the television behind the paper. I then realize it would be great to make something similar in a single image showing 2 different actions.”

Pencil vs Camera - 4 - Ben Heine

Pencil vs Camera - 4 - Ben Heine

You can see all of Ben’s work on his flickr site and you can contact him at

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  1. Ben Heine says:

    Many thanks Alice, nice site by the way!!

  2. Alice says:

    You’re welcome Ben, I enjoyed spending time with your work.

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