So Surreal: The Incredible Artwork of Ben Heine

In need of some inspiring eye candy? Ben Heine blurs imagination and reality with his striking and surreal images. Prepare to do a double take.

Ben Heine masterfully mixes handmade drawings with photography to create each vivid image in his mind-bendingly clever Pencil Vs Camera project.

The noted Belgian multidisciplinary artist launched the popular series in 2010 and recently released his 77th installment (image at right). With his hand in view, Heine takes a photo of one of his drawings perfectly matched up in front of a compelling real-life background. He made Pencil Vs Camera – 77, for instance, in downtown Seoul, South Korea.

For some time now, I've been a fan of Heine's work, which also includes the inventive art projects Digital Circlism and Flesh and Arcylic. But I continue to be particularly amazed by and, well, drawn to Pencil Vs Camera. I reached out to Heine to learn more about the ongoing project – and what he enjoys most about the series.

"I like the fact that there is no limit," Heine said. "Any idea, concept or message can be drawn on the piece of paper. The only limit is my own imagination. I also think it's fun to use simple tools like pencils, small pieces of paper and cameras, but the end result can be powerful."

Bringing the pictures to life is a highly involved, time-consuming process. "It can take up to one full week of work because I like to spend time on the drawing, adding details and shadows," Heine said. "Taking the photo at the chosen location is much faster. Finally, I also spend a bit of time in post-production."

You can get behind-the-scenes details about Heine's creative process on his Facebook page. And if you're a fan of surreal art (or work with someone who is), you can purchase Pencil Vs Camera prints, postcards, puzzles, t-shirts and other items on Heine's online store.

Here are a few of my favorite Pencil Vs Camera images by Ben Heine:


 Pencil Vs Camera - 70


Pencil Vs Camera - 58


Pencil Vs Camera - 44


Pencil Vs Camera - 29

Photo credit: All images by Ben Heine © 2013