Pavneet Sembhi

In a world of lines and squiggles

The Story behind my Full Pagers

Pavneet SembhiComment

Hello there friends, I would like to share with you the story of how my Full Pagers started out. You may have already heard this but I wanted to share it with you in depth because I learnt a few lessons that I believe can be applied to pretty much everything in life. 

Below are the four Full Pagers I have drawn so far, each is 210x130mm (the size of a Moleskine Journal notebook) and created entirely using Pigma Micron  pens. Usually each collection of work I produce is planned and carefully collated but the secret with this collection is that I had no intention whatsoever of creating it!

Altar of the Empire; Illusions; Tangled; Inner Workings.

Altar of the Empire; Illusions; Tangled; Inner Workings.

If you look at Altar of the Empire (the first Full Pager), the middle section up to where all the long shapes start protruding out was originally a one off abstract piece I started. Even if I'm unhappy about how a piece is turning out I will always complete it. This one however was just NOT working and quite frankly I hated it - it was the first time I left a piece in my journal unfinished. 

And so this piece sat in my journal incomplete and abandoned. I felt like I had been defeated. There have been other times I have struggled with a piece but there was something about this one where I felt lost, I didn't know which direction to take it in to save it.

As it sat there in my notebook it niggled at me. Taunting me. A little mini failure. And it is okay to fail sometimes but I just didn't like the feeling. After a while I came back to it and the idea popped into my mind to just fill the whole page, I told myself it doesn't matter what it looks like or how it feels or if you like it just DO IT.

I looked back at some old holiday photos and found one of the altar in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. If you observe the top you can see those long golden rays coming out of the circle - now take a look at Altar of the Empire and see if you can notice how it influenced my illustration. With some fresh inspiration and a clear mindset I was able to dive back into it.  Having never done a full page illustration like this before it was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to use the edges of the paper as part of the drawing. In the end it seemed best to let the lines run off the page as though it continued endlessly. Much of the time spent on this was staring at the page wondering where to place the next line! But I am so SO happy I went back to it, otherwise I would never have discovered the world of Full Pagers. 

Now every few months I work on a new one as a little challenge to see what I can create. As each of them start out in the centre and then work their way out they are structurally and conceptually similar, however the detailing, linework and patterns of each one are actually quite different so it creates a whole different feeling. I wonder when you look at all four do they look similar to you or very different? 

So here is a little list of lessons I learnt from this experience that can also be applied any time you are met with resistance:

  1. Persevere - Don't worry about how long it takes, just don't give up. Keep going back to it and day by day it will turn into a masterpiece. 
  2. Take a step back - Sometimes you need a break so you can look at a problem with fresh eyes. It might be a short break like a little walk or perhaps a bit longer, either way step back and refresh. 
  3. Trust your ability - This is the hardest one, just say yes even if it scares you and believe that you will figure out a way to do it once you have committed yourself. 
  4. Magic is in the unknown - You will discover more of yourself and others when you explore the untraveled path, maybe you will have a good experience or maybe not, but you will grow and learn.
  5. You have nothing to lose - Worst case scenario you fail and then what? Nothing. Life carries on and so do you. 
  6. Always challenge yourself - It is when you push yourself to be better that you discover what you are really capable of. Write a list of things you have never done before and work through it, it can be as optimistic and adventurous as you like. 
  7. Attack fear - Where there is fear there is possibility and opportunity. Overcoming that fear will take you and your skills to the next level. If you are scared of it then it's time to attack it head on! 
  8. Change your mindset - If you aren't enjoying whatever you are doing then it's not the task itself but the way you are doing it. Change the way you are viewing your actions, rather than you "have" to finish something, think of it as you "get" to finish it. Enjoy the ride. 

I hope by telling this story it inspires you or helps you during your own struggles whether it be in your career, hobby, personal life, relationships etc. Hope you have a great day and thanks so much for reading :)