Ben Heine – Digital Circlism

21 May

– What is “Digital Circlism”? –

It is a modern artistic expression, a mix of Pop Art and Pointillism. It is made with digital tools usually featuring celebrities made of thousands of flat circles on a black background. Almost each circle has a different color, a different size and a different tone.

– How long do the images take? –

It generally takes between 100 and 180 hours for a single portrait.

– How is it made? –

I often make a photomontage first using a bunch of references, then a digital painting and I finally apply my “digital circlist” technique. When making a portrait with circles, it is important to focus on the dynamic movement of someone’s face. I place each circle one by one with a sharp round brush, there is no automatic process, it’s a time consuming method. (I usually work in Photoshop but it could be any other graphics creation software).

It is essential to pay attention on the aspect of each circle (changing slightly the size and color for every circle is better). That’s the difficult part, because there can be several thousands circles in a single portrait. I try to place them with harmony, according to the main lines and energy of the person represented.

I normally 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.

– How old is the technique? –

I made my first portrait with digital circles in February 2010.

– How did it start? –

I’ve been making all kinds of portraits since more than 15 years. I wanted to develop a very original technique. As I’ve been working with digital tools recently, this came quite naturally.

– How do I choose my subjects? –

I often opt for celebrities I personally like, mainly singers or musicians.






Ben Heine

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Self Portrait


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