Paper Illustrations and GIFs Artistically Visualize the Body and Mind

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

The New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation for “Life After a Heart Attack at Age 38.”

New Zealand and Estonia-based illustrator Eiko Ojala boasts a broad portfolio of work that often supplements serious articles about the body and mind. Consisting of bright colors and defined silhouettes, his works visualize powerful messages as artfully rendered layers of colorful paper, but there's one catch—each image is actually created digitally.

Ojala's textured 3D compositions will make you want to reach out and touch them. Each digital paper illustration is cleverly composed from layers of colorful shapes and trick-of-the-eye shadows and highlights. And Ojala’s work has more than just style; it has substance, too. His eye-catching approach has earned him many high-profile editorial commissions in some of the world’s top publications.

In a series for The Washington Post, Ojala visualized the mind of a child by layering images inside the silhouette of a boy’s profile. And in a gif for an article on heart attacks in The New York Times, the artist created a mesmerizing animation of a human heart beat. Layers of colored paper appear to flutter and pulsate along with the central “paper” heart’s pulse. No matter the concept, the talented illustrator is able to visualize complex ideas with his distinct minimal style.

You can see more of Ojala’s work on his website and Behance.

Estonian illustrator Eiko Ojala creates clever trick-of-the-eye digital illustrations that look like they’re layers of paper cutouts.

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

The Washington Post cover illustration for “Kids Special.”

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

The Washington Post cover illustration for “Kids Special.”

His textured 3D compositions not only have style, but they often express powerful messages.

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

The New York Times Sunday Review illustration for “I Did a Terrible Thing. I Needed to Apologize.”

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation and spot illustration for “Life After a hear Attack at Age 38.”

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

New Yorker illustration for “Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship.”

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

“Dangerous Camouflage”

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

“Dangerous Camouflage”

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

Christmas and New Year’s greeting card illustration for the President of Estonia.

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

“It's Time for a Hard Conversation.” For The Guardian, on how American South struggles with changing climate.

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

For “Globe and Mail” on how big industries just can't ignore climate change anymore.

Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala
Digital Paper Illustrations by Eiko Ojala

New York Times Sunday Review cover, animation for “Life After a hear Attack at Age 38.”

Eiko Ojala: Website | Instagram | Behance

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Eiko Ojala.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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