About the artist
This week we meet digital portrait and caricature artist, Paul Cemmick. Paul was born in the north of England before gravitating south to London, further south to Brighton and then even further south to Majorca. He has worked for many magazines, newspapers, books, ad campaigns and 5 BAFTA award-winning TV shows. Paul’s style varies wildly from cartoon to traditional and in any media from watercolour to digital. He is currently experimenting with oil painting and digital imagery. You can see his cartoon and caricature style every week in Match of the Day magazine, and his digital work every day on Instagram. Paul is currently working on a series of portraits of famous jazz musicians for a book project.
Paul is freelance and available for commissions.
Mobile: (+44) 7796 446966
How did you first get into digital art?
I used to buy a digital art magazine and marvelled at the illustrations in it. After watching a few tutorials on YouTube I started messing about with pixels in Photoshop, which I’m pretty familiar with as I use it to colour up my comic strips. I started tinkering with various apps on my iPad; my current obsession is with Adobe Draw.
Why did you choose digital art as your medium?
I like the clean crispness of the lines in Adobe Draw and the availability of layers.
To which artistic styles are you particularly drawn?
Many many styles! Traditional figurative painting and the classic illustrators like NC Wyeth and JC Leyendecker, who were brilliant in oils and which some extremely talented modern digital artists can emulate brilliantly. I love certain comic book styles too: Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson and Frank Bellamy being particular favourites. I favour artwork, whether traditional or digital, that is well drawn and not just flashy technique over weak content.
What inspires you?
Faces. Either beautiful, ugly, or anything in-between; as long as they are interesting faces, or dull faces that are interestingly lit! I can get just as enthusiastic about Charles Laughton as the Hunchback of Notre Dame or Boris Karloff as Frankenstein
‘ s monster than I can by a beautiful model or actress. As long as the face in question has something interesting visually about it. That spark!
What is your artistic motivation?
Making money to pay the bills and as any artist knows, it’s not a profession you choose to get rich! If you’re lucky enough to be an artist of any kind you get fulfilment from the creative process and you never stop learning.
Of all your images to date, which is your favourite and why?
Always the last one, because it encourages me to improve.
Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?
Funny, bold and immediate – I hope!
What interesting responses to your artwork have you had?
I did a small watercolour portrait of a Spanish man and his daughter from a photograph he’d e-mailed me and when I turned up to show him the finished picture he burst into tears! I
Name three artists who inspire you.
Three artists who have been a massive inspiration to me all worked on early Mad magazine. They were Wally Wood, Jack Davis and Mort Drucker. You can learn everything you need to know about humourous illustration from these three. With regard to modern day inspiration, it’s hard to say, because I get it from different people every day. Three out of many are Bill Sienkovich, who is a very regular Facebooker, French genius artist Claire Wendling and astounding caricaturist Maria Picasso
How do you think you’ve improved as an artist compared to when you first started?
I’ve learned a variety of techniques in different media. When you start to use a new drawing app (my current favourite is Adobe Draw), it takes a little while to figure out how it best fits with what you want to portray. I joined an oil painting class recently, which is a medium I’ve never got on with, but I’m learning and loving it. Every artist needs to experiment until they find the medium that suits them best, whether it’s a 2B pencil or a digital app.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?
Like any type of art, if you want to get good at it, you need a modicum of natural talent and a helluva lot of practice. Luckily for me, I loved drawing and never seemed to stop, so I gradually got better. So, if you love it, stick at it!
What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?
Anything really: paint and canvas, pencil and paper, my Mac or my iPad. When drawing my digital portraits on my iPad with the Adobe Draw app, I am using my finger and not the expensive Apple pen. I also like to carry a small notepad and a pencil or biro around with me if I want to do a quick sketch in a cafe from a magazine. One day I had the notepad with me but nothing to draw with so, not to be defeated, I drew with my coffee, using the spoon as a pen. I was so pleased with how it looked that I carried on with this technique and had three exhibitions of coffee drawings.
Which apps/programs do you use to create your art and which are your favourites?
As I’ve already said, my current favourite is Adobe Draw on my iPad.
Do you use images from stock sites as well as your own photos and if so, which are your favourites and why?
I trawl the images on the internet for inspiration, but I don’t have a particular go-to site.
And finally, do you find that people dismiss digital art as a valid art form?
Not any more. I suppose there might still be a bit of prejudice against a blown up digital image in an art gallery as opposed to an original piece of artwork, but I could be totally wrong about that.
Where to find Paul’s work online
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and images with us, Paul!