November Nuggets - Wimmelbilderbuch

It’s November, and for this month’s Nuggets, I’m digging into an art format that has fascinated me for years.

I recently learned a new word: Wimmelbilderbuch. It is a German word, meaning ‘teeming picture book’, also known as Wimmelbook, or hidden picture book and it describes the format made popular by Where’s Wally (Where’s Waldo in the US).

I used to love examining the pages of detailed artwork in search of Wally and co., Pocahontas and many other franchises that took up the format. The attention to detail, highly stylised artwork and unique theming on each scene always interested me.


Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel the Elder are widely considered to be responsible for the creation of the Wimmelbild format. The Dutch Renaissance painters are both known for their highly detailed depictions of scenes featuring battles, cityscapes, parks and dining halls. 

There is a Pieter Brueghel painting at the Fife Arms in Braemar which I was lucky enough to see for myself. I was fascinated by the painting at the time, and didn’t even realise the significance - only learning more about Wimmelbilder as an art form after seeing the painting. 

Modern day

Aside from Where’s Wally, and Disney picture books, Wimmelbilder art can be found in more grown up formats. ‘Where’s Warhol’, is a series of pictures featuring a hidden Andy Warhol illustrated by Andrew Rae. And Hidden Folks, a game for iOS & Steam is a relaxing and interactive way to pass some time without mindlessly scrolling through feeds.

A Subreddit community exists (r/wimmelbilder), where artists post their Wimmelbilder creations and finds from throughout the world for everyone to appreciate.

r/wimmelbilder community 

Atlas Obscura article - ‘the Dutch masters of Wimmelbild’

Wiki - Wimmelbilderbuch