44. Ramon Bruin – Feathers – As it flies low over his paper, Bruin’s bird seems to have lost a feather.
Illusionistic art has been around since Ancient times, when unknown painters depicted fictional landscapes on inside walls of wealthy Pompeians. And even earlier, on Crete and throughout the Greece. Illusionism was the only tool painters of antiquity had that allowed them to create the feeling of depth, artificial space on a flat surface.
As times were changing, art was evolving as well and many more styles and expressions came to life. It wasn’t until the early Renaissance that space became so crucial for the painter. Newly discovered mathematical instruments, such as perspective, and the return to the most celebrated period of Antiquity, drove the artists of 14th, and even more 15th century, to develop fantastic images with seemingly real and deep space. The more real the subject felt, the more successful the work was.
Still, the glorious time of illusionism in art came with the baroque era. It wasn’t until late Renaissance pupils, such as Giulio Romano, or Baroque masters, such as Pietro Cortona, started painting on palace ceilings, that the true potential of this apparitional style was evident. Ever since, the meticulousness and the skill employed by the artists to create the perfect illusion was celebrated throughout the world, especially in the Western culture. It birthed many more art movements, and inspired an army of creatives, which it continues to do to this day.
Modern are diverted from the realistic illusionism for a little while, rendering more contemplative subjects, but the contemporary aspirations are bringing it slowly back. It started with 3D street art, and it continues to 3D drawings, which are becoming the obsession and interest of numerous creatives of our time.
Drawing in itself is the proof of artistry, the testament to the potential and the skillfulness of the artist, while 3D drawings are taking the ancient technique a step further. Requiring perfectly steady hand and a brilliant eye, 3D drawings and realistic pencil drawings show a sense for real space, answering all the optical requirements to create the perfect illusion.
Here are 50 images of the most impressive 3D drawings created by some of the most talented artists of this demanding technique.
1. Dare you touch?
If there weren’t for colored pencils, would you have guessed this wasn’t a real snake? Hardly.
2. Amazing Trio
Just like Three Graces, three characters are drawing each other, in a game that tricks the eye.
3. 3D Ladder
When viewed from a particular angle, 3D drawings come to life. The same goes for this simple ladder.
4. Angry Chef
Playing with 3D drawings sometimes means cutting and playing with paper.
In this depiction of a confusing landscape connected by pencils, one cannot but wonder – what is up and what is down?
6. Alessandro Diddi – Column
One of the most skillful artists in 3D drawing technique is Alessandro Diddi. Here, he created a stunningly realistic column.
7. Alessandro Diddi – Double Illusion
Note how the artist created the illusion of space and the illusion he is actually holding an item.
8. Alessandro Diddi – Hommage to Giger
The artist paid an homage to the great creator of the “Alien”, one of the most frightening and most successful sci-fi horror stories ever. Diddi’s Alien is not so scary, although it looks real.
9. Alessandro Diddi – Jumping Dolphin
It’s wonderful what this man’s hand can make! If he wants a pet – he just draws one. Here, the paper cutouts are crucial.
10. Ben Heine – Gun
Ben Heine is a Belgian artist immersed into 3D art. His 3D drawings are large in scale and interactive, like this not-so-threatening gun.
11. Ben Heine – Sparrows
Combining 3D drawing and painting, this artist makes wonderful scenes. Note how the drawing melts with the environment.
12. Ben Heine – Fisherman
Imagine if this man really caught the gigantic monster Heine envisioned!
13. Carmen Harada – My Mother Glasses
Artist Carmen Harada is focused on recreating items from her immediate surroundings. These 3D drawing of glasses makes the viewer want to pick them up.
14. Carmen Harada – Snoopy Mug
The same goes for the mug, probably something she sees every day.
15. Carmen Harada – Wine Glass
Wine glass is obviously drafted on paper, but it’s a great example of a 3D drawing exercise.
16. Cruz – Tattoo Power
Dolphin tattoos are very popular, but this 3D drawing of dolphin looks better than any tattoo.
17. Ferdi Firat – Super Mario
One of the most favorite video game characters from a few decades ago, brought to life by a skillful hand and eye of the artist.
18. Fredo – Wizdom Productions
This phenomenal owl is probably one of Fredo’s most successful 3D drawings.
19. Fredo – Strange stairs
Weirdly functioning stairs and oddly looking creatures come out from the artist’s imagination, while obviously referring to Escher and his pioneering work.
20. Giannis Anogianakis – Ace of Hearts
Playing with the idea of a stolen heart of an ace, the artist references Banksy, while making a sweet little illusion.
21. Giannis Anogianakis – Butterfly
It appears Giannis’ butterfly escaped from the sheet! This 3D drawing really came to life.
22. Hatching Bird
The idea of a bird hatching from paper is awkward, but here it’s exceptionally well conducted.
23. Iza Nagi – Hand and boy
The artist often depicts characters from anime culture rendered in 3D. Here is a realistic combination of a hand and a crouching boy.
24. Iza Nagi – Wolverine
Like the X-men? This image of Wolverine is really impressive, in drawing and in deception alike.
25. Iza Nagi – Standing boy
The standing figure appears to be in front of several sheets of paper, on which it is actually executed.
26. Jeroen88 – Hand
Doesn’t it remind you of the Thing, the Adams’ Family pet? It sure does look real enough…
27. Jose A. – An Insect
This 3D drawing of insect even seems to be in motion, as its wings still flutter.
28. KIM – Sitting Girl
A great example of a 3D drawing. The girl slowly emerges from the paper into our world.
29. Little Paper Dwarfs
This is a lovely little 3D drawing game! Dwarfs appear on, underneath, all over the drawing kit. They are really lively and amazingly drafted!
30. Lucky978 – Butterfly
This 3D drawing of a butterfly shows the technique can be done in color, too.
31. Mathio91 – Snatch
One of the favorite characters form the Ice Age brought to life! A very cool drawing of Snatch.
32. M.C. ESCHER – Drawing Hands, 1948, lithograph
Escher is one of the greatest masters of printmaking and illusion of the 20th century. In this lithograph, he shows a neverending circle of creation through two drawing hands.
33. Marcello Barenghi – Crushed Coke Can
Barenghi is probably one of the best today in making colored 3D drawings. This can looks like trash and not a piece of art drafted on paper!
34. Marcello Barenghi – An Old Deck of Cards
This deck of cards looks so realistic, that it invites the viewer to reach and play!
35. Marcello Barenghi – Squooshed Dollar Bill
Anyone lost a buck? Well, Barenghi might have, but no – this is actually a drawing.
36. Marcello Barenghi – Rubik’s Cube
This 3D drawing of a Rubik’s Cube portrays all the skill the artist has when it comes to extracting flat images into the third dimension.
37. Muhammad Ejleh – Angry Birds
Ejleh is a widely known artist for his 3D drawings, whose work flows over the internet. If there were a board-game of Angry Birds – this would be it!
38. Muhammad Ejleh – Eiffel Tower
This is one of the artist’s most shared 3D drawings, because of the stunning deceptive effect.
39. Muhammad Ejleh – LEGO Man
Is this Lego figurine holding a wine glass? No? Well, it sure appears as if it does!
40. Muhammad Ejleh – C3PO
In a slight homage to the Star Wars, C3PO emerges from the depth of the artist’s paper.
41. Muhammad Ejleh – Venice
Whenever he feels like Venice, this artist can conjure it up before him!
42. Nagai Hideyuki – Sitting figure
An imaginative character sitting on a surreal vine – a great example of 3D drawing.
43. Ramon Bruin – Eye
Ramon Bruin is another famous 3D drawing artist. Here is an eye looking back at us from the depth of his fantasy.
45. Ramon Bruin – Rhino
This miniature rhino almost could be a pet!
46. Ramon Bruin – Snake
A monstrous snake broke its way from behind the white drawing paper of the artist.
47. Ramon Bruin – Sharks
Sharks over somebody’s homework? Strange omen, but they do appear real!
48. Ramon Bruin – Come Out and Play
Something either wicked or playful this way comes, from the sheets of Bruins draughtsmanship.
49. Ramon Bruin – Graffiti
Here is a miniature homage to graffiti by this wonderful 3D drawing maker.
50. Ramon Bruin – While Sailing Through The Thoughts of My Imagination
This beautiful old ship is the symbol of the artist’s imagination and inspiration. Truly an amazing work of 3D art!