A Ramble About Optical Illusion Drawings

Ha! You must be joking!

Ha! You must be joking!

Well, since I can’t seem to think of an idea for a proper article for today, I thought that I’d ramble about a really cool art-related thing that I saw online a few months ago. I am, of course, talking about anamorphic “3D” optical illusion drawing videos on Youtube (like this one).

Bascially, these are the kinds of drawings which appear to be actual 3D objects when viewed from a particular angle. They’re like those famous pieces of “3D” pavement art that get sent around in chain e-mails occasionally.

But, of course, anamorphic 3D drawings often tend to do this kind of thing on a much smaller scale. So, after seeing a few videos of people making this kind of art, I started to wonder “how do they do this?

Thanks to having about three years of regular art practice, I was in a slightly better position to work out how it was done than I might have been a few years ago. After all, even the most basic types of “realistic” drawings and paintings require you to be able to draw things that look like three-dimensional objects. Like this:

"Random Still Life" By C. A. Brown

“Random Still Life” By C. A. Brown

But, even though I could figure out the basic principles of how these kinds of optical illusion drawings work, my own attempts at even just copying the ones I saw on Youtube ended in miserable failure. And I think that I know why.

I still don’t understand enough about perspective and lighting.

You see, one of the things about making optical illusion drawings is that the perspective and the lighting have to be absolutely perfect. They have to be absolutely identical to what a 3D object might look like when viewed at a particular angle. They have to be close enough to the real thing to fool your brain into thinking that you’re actually looking at the real thing.

In other words, you have to know exactly where the light will fall on different parts of the object that you’re drawing. In addition to this, you not only have to know what something looks like from a particular angle (which is something that most artists can work out just by looking at it carefully), but you also have to know how to represent this view from a totally different angle too.

In other words, you need to be able to draw a bird’s eye view of the side view of something, so that it’ll look realistic when the paper is held at a particular angle. If this sounds confusing, that is because it is.

Ultimately, this kind of thing is still years ahead of my current artistic abilities. But, at the very least, I now know why artists make these kinds of drawings – not only do they look really cool, but they are also the ultimate way to show off your artistic knowledge and talents. And, as types of showing off go, I can’t think of one that’s cooler than this.


Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

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