An artist turns Picasso's paintings into 3D illustrations that look like photographs of real objects

Omar AqilIllustrator Omar Aqil creates interpretations (right) of Picasso’s paintings (left).
  • Omar Aqil is a CGI and 3Dartist from Pakistan.
  • Aqil was inspired by his “all-time favourite artist,”Pablo Picasso, to create a three-part series called “Mimic.”
  • For this project, Aqil turned 18 of Picasso’s most famous paintings into 3D illustrations that look like photographs of real objects.
  • Speaking to INSIDER, Aqil said that he was inspired to create the series after studying Picasso’s work for years.
  • Aqil said this series was his way of creating “new visual experiments using art from the past.”

Pakistan-based illustrator Omar Aqil doesn’t just admire the work of his favourite artists – he reimagines it.

Since 2017, the CGI artist has turned 18 of Pablo Picasso’s most famous paintings into 3D illustrations, compiling them into a three-part series called “Mimic.”

He has also created many of his own designs inspired by Picasso’s signature Cubist style.

We recently got in touch with Aqil to find out more about his project. Take a closer look at his fascinating work below.

The first instalment of Aqil’s Picasso-inspired series is called “Mimic.”

Omar AqilAqil’s artwork breathes new life into paintings like ‘Seated Woman’ by using modern shades and textures.

He began releasing the three-part series nearly two years ago in April 2017.

Speaking to INSIDER, Aqil said that he was inspired to create the series after studying Picasso’s work for years.

Omar AqilAqil’s version of Picasso’s ‘Monument to the Spaniard’ features everyday objects.

“Picasso is my all-time favourite artist,” Aqil said. “His work and style have always inspired me.”

Instead of recreating his favourite Picasso paintings, Aqil chose to illustrate six random works by the artist.

Omar AqilAqil’s techniques add visual depth and dimension.

According to his profile on Behance, an Adobe platform used to showcase creative work, this series was Aqil’s way of creating “new visual experiments using art from the past.”

Six months later in October 2017, Aqil released the second part of his series, titled “Atypical Portraits: Mimic II.”

Omar AqilAqil’s hyperrealistic style remained present throughout the second part of the series.

This time around, the CGI artist specifically chose to reimagine six of Picasso’s paintings that depict faces.

The 3D artist took things one step further with this instalment by altering the background of each illustration.

Omar AqilFor example, Picasso’s background is solid green while Aqil’s is three-dimensional.

Whereas Picasso typically used gradient colours behind the faces in his paintings, Aqil incorporated “medieval architectural elements” and “modern flair” into his backgrounds.

Aqil said that keeping things “modern yet classic” was a crucial part of interpreting Picasso’s work.

Omar AqilAqil’s work is reminiscent of Picasso’s but undoubtedly more modern.

Specifically, Aqil aimed to preserve Picasso’s signature abstract style when illustrating faces.

“[Picasso] used the most unusual shapes with some odd perspective to enrich his desired expressions,” Aqil said. “He just had an amazing sense of how to decode them.”

For the third instalment of his Picasso-inspired series, Aqil released “Construed: Mimic III” in January 2019.

Omar AqilAqil’s hyperrealistic style continued to shine in the last part of his series.

According to his Behance page, Aqil chose to recreate another group of six random Picasso paintings because he wanted to explore the “complexity and abstraction of the shapes [Picasso] used” more deeply.

To create this instalment, Aqil followed the same process he used when working on the rest of the series.

Omar AqilThis illustration is one of the most colourful transformations that Aqil has created.

“I normally look at other professionals’ work for inspiration, and collect some of my favourites in my visual library,” Aqil said. “After that, I start to research the [artist’s] concept and find the [artwork’s] detail points.”

But he doesn’t do all of his work on a computer.

Omar AqilAqil uses a multistep process to create his final product.

“I start sketching on paper and try to draw the image in my mind,” Aqil said. “Once I’m satisfied with the final figure, then I convert [it] into 3D.”

While many of Aqil’s illustrations are direct transformations of Picasso’s work, others are simply inspired by the latter’s Cubist style.

Omar AqilMany of the portraits in this series depict abstract faces.

Throughout his “Character Illustration” series, Aqil utilised his deep knowledge of Picasso’s oeuvre to create entirely new pieces. While he drew inspiration from the Cubism movement, pioneered by Picasso and Georges Braque, he also focused more on exploring his own style of art.

The “Character Illustration” series has been viewed more than 32,000 times on Behance.

Omar AqilThis set looks particularly modern, compared to some of Aqil’s other work.

The illustrations in the third part of Aqil’s “Mimic” series are a bit more colourful than his interpretations of Picasso’s paintings.

Though Picasso might be Aqil’s favourite artist of all time, there is one other illustrator whose work he would like to reimagine.

Omar AqilThis illustration uses mugs, pillows, and jugs, among other items, to create a face.

“I really love [Salvador] DalĂ­’s artwork,” Aqil said. “And I really want to reimagine his work in the future.”

To see more of Aqil’s artwork, check out his Behance profile here.


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