A French cartoonist has found a genius way to spook people on Twitter

28 Oct 2015

This Anna Kendrick lookalike clearly just clicked on one of Boulet’s tweets. Image via Shutterstock

Don’t click on Boulet’s tweeted pics – you may get a nasty shock!

Boulet, or Gilles Roussel, is a French cartoonist living in Paris who has had about 20 comic books published (some available in English). He has been publishing cartoons online at Bouletcorp.com since 2004 with more than 1,600 entries so far (and he’s also working to translate these into English).

While all of that’s impressive, it’s not Boulet’s comics that have drawn our attention. It’s this tweet.

Don’t click, you say? Okay. Fine. I won’t. I’ll just close this window and get on with my… *click*

Boulet's tweet when you click


If you don’t believe the screenshot you see above, try it for yourself. Click the tweet to open it in a separate tab and just watch what happens when you click the image.

I’ll give you a moment.

Back now and sufficiently frightened and impressed?

These emotions have been felt by many who have encountered Boulet’s spooky tweeting trick, prompting the obvious question: How?

When not claiming magic, Boulet does offer a more comprehensive explanation whereby he creates a PNG with different transparencies depending on whether the image appears on a white background or a black background.

When Twitter images appear inline with tweets, they have a white background, but the overlay window when you click on an image has a black background, hence the transformation.

The technical explanation doesn’t take away from the magic, though, as Boulet’s illustrative skill is also part of why these images are so wonderful. Try these two for more fun switcheroos.

Boulet isn’t the only one making these magical PNGs either, and this one from Japanese illustrator Taki was shared by Thomas Hercouët (and retweeted by Boulet).

We are in awe of your skills, Boulet. Keep sketching!

Scared computer user image via Shutterstock

Update, 29 October 10.52am: Boulet has reached out to let us know that it was in fact Taki who first introduced him to this technique, surfacing this two-year-old tweet from the Japanese illustrator that inspired him.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.