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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 24, Issue 1

Artists Play With Light and Shadows to Trick the Eye

Trompe l'oeil illusions challenge your perception
Pencil Me In

Portuguese lawyer and self-described art hobbyist Samuel Silva creates astonishing photorealistic drawings with regular ballpoint pens. Redhead Girl, based on a photograph by Russian photographer Kritina Taraina, took approximately 30 hours and seven ballpoint pen colors to complete. “It takes me forever to do my works,” Silva writes on his Deviantart page. He crosshatches in layers to create blending and the illusion of colors that he does not actually use and cleans his pen every minute or two to prevent ink blobs.

This article was originally published with the title "Truer Than Truth."

(Further Reading)

Momento Mori: Contemporary Still Life by Tom Eckert, Robert Peterson and John Rise. Grady Harp. Lizardi/Harp Gallery, 2000.

Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions. Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, with Sandra Blakeslee. Holt, 2010.

Illusions of Reality: Naturalist Painting, Photography, Theatre and Cinema, 1875–1918. Gabriel P. Weisberg; contributions by Edwin Becker, Maartje de Haan, David Jackson and Willa Z. Silverman, with collaboration of Jean-François Rauzier. Mercatorfonds/Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam/Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, 2011.

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