Pencil Vs Camera in schools - Ben Heine Art & Music

Pencil Vs camera in schools

Since 2013, Ben Heine’s Pencil Vs Camera concept has become popular in primary and secondary schools worldwide (view some students works here). Heine was quickly contacted by art teachers and schools requesting to use and teach his techniques to their students. They are showing them Heine’s creative process through pedagogical worksheets and ask students to do similar images to stimulate their imagination, train their drawing and photography skills, encourage them to use new technologies and motivate them to share ideas and communicate. Heine’s work also allows teachers to discuss the differences between observational and imaginative drawing with the art class. The students either create their own artworks from scratch or use Heine’s images with the sketch removed to have something to start with (see below).

Since Heine’s creative techniques became part of art lessons in many primary and secondary schools, different art lesson plans giving instructions on how to use his concept are spread by schools and art teachers on the Internet in France and in the United Kingdom (see some examples below). Heine has also given frequent interactive conferences to schools in Canada. In June 2014, one of the classes studying Heine’s concept in Belgium (Katholieke Centrumschool Denderleeuw) visited his studio in Rochefort (more info).

Lesson plans by Ben Heine

Applications in schools (selection):

Other Lesson plans

Here below in blue are some lesson plans examples based on Ben Heine concept for primary and secondary schools, followed by links showing applications in art classes in the UK, France and Canada (this is a selection, there are numerous other examples in French schools). If you’re an art teacher, feel free to use or improve this material for educative purposes.

Applications in schools (selection):

Here are some photos by Ben Heine with the drawing removed that teachers can use for their art lessons to have something to start with for younger children (you can find others here). Send us a message at info(at) if you would like to have them in HD:

Some results ( view many more here )

And here below is a full pedagogical worksheet example (art lesson plan for primary to secondary school students, prepared by Nicole Joly based on Ben Heine Pencil Vs Camera technique)

Other Lesson plans


The students will learn how to draw from observation, while also drawing imaginatively. They will learn basic photography skills to photograph a certain place in their town. They will then successfully use line, form, and value to create an illustration which adds a humorous twist to their photograph. The structural rules and conventions of an art form serve as both a foundation and departure point for creativity. Cognition and reflection are required to appreciate, interpret, and create with artistic intent.


  • Show the students various images from Ben Heine’s “Pencil vs. Camera” collection
  • Have them discuss the illustrations and the artist’s method of combining imaginative and observational drawing
  • Teach basic photography skills, such as perspective and cropping
  • Have the students take pictures around their town, with a digital or disposable camera
  • The students will be encouraged to think critically and consider what type of drawing they are going to place on top of their photograph
  • After the photos are printed or developed, demonstrate the process of taking a torn piece of paper and laying it strategically on top of the photograph
  • Encourage the students to consider placemen
  • Discuss what it means to “continue the photograph” in their drawing, and also what it means to add an imaginative twist to the photograph
  • Demonstrate drawing a humorous image on top of my own selected photograph
  • Review concepts of line and form with them, and explain different ways to achieve value
  • Students will select their favorite photo and begin brainstorming clever ideas on some scratch paper
  • Once their idea is approved, they may begin working
  • Students will tape down a small piece of drawing paper to the photograph
  • They will use drawing pencils to create their illustration
  • After completion, the photographs will be displayed so everyone can have a laugh
  • This lesson would probably be a good lead in to a lesson on the Dada art movement Assessment The students will be assessed with a rubric which addresses effective photography techniques, creating and completing an imaginative illustration which “continues the photograph” and has value, using good craftsmanship, following directions, and participation.