As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

DOTermination 4: Ben Heine’s Digital Circlism

Today we look into Digital Circlism, a painting technique developed by Belgian artist Ben Heine.

Ben Heine & Digital Circlism 


Ben Heine by Ben Heine
Image from deviantart

Hello, Ben Heine. Welcome to Daily Dose of Art. Kindly introduce yourself to our readers.
BH: I’m a painter and photographer living in Brussels, Belgium. I was born in Ivory Coast (Africa), and lived there 7 years, I now live and work in Brussels, the European capital. I spend most of my time creating and taking care of the people I love around me.

DDoA: When and how did your creative journey begin?

  • There is no specific date or event. It was a gradual evolution. I realized very early in my life that I would spend a huge amount of time and energy working on visual projects. I never sought to become an artist specifically or to conform to what it might mean to be an artist, it’s just the closest descriptor for what I am. Read more
  • Drawing was my initial obsession and my first love, because it’s easy to carry a pencil and a piece of paper. I used to draw all the time, everywhere. I needed to draw to express my emotions. Painting was the transition between drawing and photography. I studied Journalism for fun, but unfortunately working in an office just didn’t suit me.

DDoA: Did you go to an art school or trade school to learn your skills? and where?
BH: I studied traditional painting and sculpture only one year in an Art School in Hastings, England when I was 18. I also have a degree in Journalism (which is rather useless in my creative activities but at least it helped me developing personal opinions about the world we live in)… So I’m mainly a self-taught artist. And I’ve been taking photos, drawing and painting since almost 10 years. Read more

DDoA: Tell us about your mentor/s? favorite artist/s?
BH: My Mentors:  The 2 main persons who always give me useful pieces of advice and who may have a direct influence on my artistic work are my father and my commercial agent.   As for my favorite artist: I like Andy Warhol because he was and still is an icon for so many other artists. His personal life was quite interesting and he changed the way we perceive art.

DDoA: What inspires you to create?
BH: Everything around me is a source of inspiration…but I am inspired mainly by nature, cities and people. Nature represents a divine energy for me. I spend several hours a week walking in forests to fill my creative well and take time to think about my future projects. Animals are a great inspiration too. I love to portray them in my drawings. I am also fascinated by interactions between people. I love observing them and getting inspiration from their actions and decisions. And big cities are just beautiful to look at, I see each monument or building as a giant and complex sculpture. Read more

DDoA: Tell us about your work habits and how you approach challenges.
BH: I start working on my artistic projects as soon as I wake up and end when I’m really tired. Every new day and every art project is a new challenge implying different difficulties. Finding creative solutions is what makes this job so fun.

Here is a portrait of Elvis Presley by Ben Heine using his Digital Circlism technique:


Elvis Presley by Ben Heine
Image via benheine.com


Watch the making of Elvis Presley’s Digital Circlism portrait by Ben Heine:

 Tell us about your art form – particularly – Digital Circlism.  Did you coin that term? What inspired you to work with dots? Tell us a little bit about your process.
BH:  “Digital Circlism”  is a personal invention. This project started in 2010. I would describe it as a modern artistic expression, a mix between Pop Art (art including imagery from popular culture such as advertising, news, etc.) and Pointillism (a painting technique that uses small, distinct dots of pure color).

  • Digital Circlism is made with digital tools using big and small circles only.
  • 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 circle individually on a black background with a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4 (it could be any other graphics creation software).
  • It is also essential to pay attention on the aspect of each circle (changing slightly the size and color for every circle is always better). That’s the difficult part, because there can be several thousands circles in a single portrait. It has to be done with harmony, according to the main lines and dynamism of the subject represented.
  • 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.

Through the use of graphic softwares and a whole lot of creativity, Ben recreates iconic faces from history and pop culture with circles of various sizes and colors, in order to give them a dynamic and 3-dimensional appearance. Each portrait requires between 100 to 180 hours of work to be completed. Read more



Bob Marley by Ben Heine
Image via benheine.com


Marilyn Monroe by Ben Heine
Image via benheine.com


Steve Jobs by Ben Heine
Image via benheine.com

DDoA: How has the Internet helped you as an artist?
BH: In my opinion, the Internet is just a useful tool to get known everywhere on the planet. It can also be a dangerous place if you aren’t careful. Read more

DDoA: Tell us a little bit about concept/philosophy of art.
BH: I have always had a very generous conception of art, I don’t like the way art is nowadays used for commercial purposes only and proposed to the elite, I think everybody should have the chance to see and enjoy culture. My artistic work is mainly the result of what influences me and inspires me the most in my close environment.


BEN HEINE is one happy artist!
Image from deviantart

What message do you wish to transmit to the world through Digital Circlism? through your art?
BH: Try to find your own path and truth. Try to make the people around you happy. Believe in your most crazy ideals and dreams. If you don’t, they will never become true.


rx-logo-1So do… as Ben Heine does – find inspiration in everything, everywhere. And try to find your own path and truth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 14, 2014 by in Create, Explore and tagged , .
%d bloggers like this: