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Search and find illustrations are usually seen from a certain distance, so that you can fit a lot of different events, characters and objects in a single scene. That doesn't mean, however, that there's only one way to define how the scene will be viewed, and the perspective used.

3 samples of Mattias Adolfsson's work showing 3 different perspective views
One artist, different ways of approaching perspective: Mattias Adolfsson. Source:

If you look up different artists, you'll find different approaches. Scenes that show smaller environments and use two point perspective. Scenes that show the section of a house/tree/submarine/whatever place you can imagine, and use one point perspective. Scenes that use a top down view, similar to what you find in retro rpg games, where you can see things from above but still highlight important elements such as the front of the buildings. Scenes that don't use much perspective, but organize the image with different planes, like a theater play. And scenes that use isometric or dimetric views, which are the ones I use the most.

Why do I like to use isometric/dimetric projections? I'd say two main reasons.

One is that I come from an architecture background (I worked quite a few years before deciding to go full time as an illustrator), and we learn to use isometric perspective from early on as a way to precisely describe buildings and construction elements, since there's no distortion. I think the concept works for the kind of image I enjoy creating because it's a way to make the whole scene start out with the same level of importance, encouraging the viewer to wander around the entire piece.

And the other reason is that I want my work to have a sort of feeling that is reminiscent of miniatures, games, toys, to get to that enchantment and exploring sensitivities we have as kids. And while trying out different views and proportions of the elements of the drawing, I noticed isometric works like a charm for that, as it really can make you believe the illustration could be a miniature set of some sort.

3 samples of work by Giu Calistro  with isometric and dimetric perspective
Some isometric and dimetric approaches I've used to best convey the feeling of each illustration

I always start with a grid, but over time I've become less attached to it in order to position things in different angles and make the image more dynamic and lived-in. Most of the time I still respect the projection's rules for that, but now I'm more comfortable breaking a few rules when it makes the image more interesting and immersive to the viewer. That way the perspective we choose becomes a strong ally in achieving our vision for each illustration.

I want to make a few posts about important aspects that can make or break seek and find illustrations. And I'll start with texture.

Texture is present everywhere in real life. It can be subtle in some surfaces, like screens, or very present in others, like wood panels. Texture affects the way light is diffused and is basically what makes us recognize different materials.

When talking about art, of course you can have images that aim to have a very clean look and feel, with flat colors and smooth lines. Still, some of those lines can be used to describe some texture differences, like in curly or straight hair, or maybe clothing materials.

In wimmelbilder, though, we usually want an immersive experience, and a big part of that is making the world we are creating feel very lived-in. And texture can help a lot here. Have a look at the examples below:

A "before and after" of the same search and find image showing a medieval town, with and without texture

A "before and after" of the same search and find image showing the city of madrid, with and without texture

A "before and after" of the same search and find image showing the city of buenos aires, with and without texture

Different roof tiles, scratches and dust, grass and concrete floors, wood and stone walls, can all be described with just a few lines to indicate texture.

Of course shapes and colors are an important part of it, but the imperfections that a good use of texture can highlight make the world more believable than if we draw a place with only clean and spotless surfaces and objects. It's like we are able to feel the scene, and not just watch it from afar.

Just a reminder, though: too much texture can take you away from the scene if it messes with its readability or distracts you from what's actually going on in the world you're drawing. As many drawing books will tell you, it's important to choose where you are applying texture and how much of it, so that it reinforces what you are trying to show instead of getting in the way.

Now that we’ve covered a bit of the history of wimmelbilder illustrations, I wanted to explore the current trends and introduce some fellow artists that also create some pretty busy scenes.

Examples of the work of illustrator Giu Calistro
Some of my work as a wimmelbilder illustrator.

Nowadays we see the “where’s wally style” of illustration in a variety of situations – marketing, educational material, hidden objects games (now even digital ones!), editorial content and so on. As shown in the picture above, I love creating scenes with a “miniature world” feeling and fun events going on all around the image for the viewer to explore, while adjusting the style of the buildings and characters to suit the needs of each job.

I want to start with the French illustrator Ugo Gattoni, that was on the news this week with the official posters for the next Olympic Games – Paris 2024! The artist mixes the language of architecture drawings with oniric and surrealist elements, creating worlds that drag you into it to explore each detail.

Poster for the Paris-2024 Olympic Games by Ugo Gattoni

Architecture is also a highlight in the creations of Japanese studio IC4 Design, famous for the Pierre The Maze Detective children’s book series. With clean lines and lots of tiny people filling up the images, the studio creates worlds that almost feel like a game… Which they actually created as well!

Screenshot of the game Labyrinth City, based on Pierre the Maze Detective series.

Games are also part of the trajectory of fellow Brazilian illustrator Mauro Martins, who was one of the artists, along other like Dave Hill and Dan Woodger, who created scenes for the Scavenger Hunt part of the mobile game Two Dots. It just shows the potential of hidden object pictures to be the foundation for some awesome gaming experiences!

Scenes from the game Two Dots

Another Brazilian artist who works with seek and find illustrations is Victor Beuren, who even made a course showing the steps needed to created such detailed illustrations.

Some of Victor's work

Mattias Adolfsson also has a very unique style, working with pen and paper and watercolors - he also publishes tons of his incredibly creative sketchbook pages, definitely worth looking at.

One of Mattias's sketchbook pages

Another artist I wanted to highlight is Marija Tiurina. With characters full of personality and whimsical landscapes, her search and find scenes are one of a kind.


There are many more wonderful artists working with busy scenes and creating hidden object pictures, but I thought it would be nice to highlight some of them and show how you can get such different looks and uses for this kind of illustration.

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