Q + A With Tattify Artist Pavneet Sembhi

Monday, August 10, 2015 By Julia


Pavneet Sembhi is an illustrator based out of London. Her work takes you on a journey, twisting and turning throughout every little crevice created by the detailed lines in each piece. I wish real tattoos could capture the detail and beauty of Pavneet’s craft, because I would totally get one in a heartbeat. Trust me, these temporary ones will do the trick for now. You can shop her collection here.

1. So many details! What type of pen / marker do you use to get such intricate lines on your drawings?

I use Pigma Micron pens in size 005 to get the tiny details – that is a 0.2mm nib size. I love showing people these pens because you can hardly even see the nib it is that small! I have used a few other pens but that one is definitely my favourite.

2. What thoughts run through your mind when you’re working on a piece?

I have a lot of thoughts so most of the time I listen to podcasts or music to keep me focused on the piece. I like the details and patterns to form organically and whilst a lot of thought goes into placing lines and shapes it is still quite freeform. Generally I am focussing on making sure the pieces remain as symmetrical as possible, I have a real pull towards symmetry. I feel like we are naturally very drawn to symmetry but maybe that is just me?!

3. Walk us through a typical day.

Every day must without fail start with a cup of tea. I am a tea addict. Then depending on the day I will either focus primarily on drawing or I will focus on admin tasks. Drawing time can consist of commissions, collaborations or building my own collection. I do try to meet with friends for dinner when I can, socialising with my friends and family is so important to me. Before bed I usually do a few more hours towards my own collection.

4. What’s the biggest piece you’ve ever worked on?

A few years back I did a tree mural on a wall and it was massive, you can see a photo of it on my Instagram page, it is one of the first photos I posted. I absolutely love painting as well as drawing so if anyone has any free walls give me a shout. Any surface will do really, car, door, desk…

5. How does it feel wearing your art as temporary tattoos?!

It really is the best thing EVER. I mean how many people get to wear their designs! I think it is cool to see my designs as tattoos because you could probably never get tattoos as detailed as these. A lot of people who have seen them have said they would get a tattoo if it could actually be that detailed. And now I have worn them, I will definitely get an actual tattoo!

6. Are there any other mediums you’re looking into experimenting with in the future?

I have actually started looking at working with wood, I had some of my designs etched into wood and it just looked incredible. Adding such detailed designs to such an organic material works so well and I cannot wait to produce more work in this way.

7. Who is your role model? Why?

This might sound like a strange one but I am a really big fan Will Smith’s attitude towards life and success. In an interview he says something that has always stuck with me: “Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, godlike feature that only the special among us will ever taste, it’s something that truly exists in all of us.” – and it is so true! Everyone can be whoever they want to be, you just have to put in the hours and have faith. He was also the reason I read Paolo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist” which is a must for anyone wanting to pursue their passion.

8. How are your nails always so perfect? Seriously, what’s your secret?

Haha I love this question! Okay so Sally Hansen Hard as Nails is my secret. I always have it on my nails as a base coat even when my nails are not painted and it stops them breaking, it really is a miracle worker. Also thank you for noticing, my nails are my pride and joy.

9. That’s a lot of ink. If you had to guess, how many pens have you gone through over the years?

Oh wow, so many, it is definitely in the hundreds. Especially because I like my pens when they are relatively new to keep the lines super clean. I am going to go for 217. Okay I am off to go count them now.

10. Where are you from? Do you feel like that environment has had an influence on your work?

I was born here but my parents originate from India. I don’t think I have ever really thought about that influencing my work because I am inspired and influenced by SO much. Seriously it is pretty much everything around me from architecture and technology to plants and animals. Indian art does often incorporate stunning patterns and beautiful detail so I am sure that has influenced my art along the way.

11. What’s next for you?

Working out how to get even more detail into my drawings! I would really love to exhibit my work somewhere so working on that at the moment. It would also be incredible to do a book of my illustrations. I have so many ideas and so many things I would love to do, sometimes I get impatient that it cannot all happen in one go. I really just love the way people really seem to connect with my drawings and I hope I can continue to do that.

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