Pavneet Sembhi

In a world of lines and squiggles

Artistic World Collaboration

Collaborations, CreativityPavneet Sembhi3 Comments
Artistic World

Thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram I was lucky to be part of this incredible collaboration with Dino Tomic @dinotomic, Vince Okerman @vexx_art, Jonna Lamminaho @scandy_girl, Elia Pellegrini @elia_pelle and Jonas Jödicke @jojoesart. If you don't already know about them then you are seriously missing out, they are all immensely talented and produce stunning artwork. 

The concept was to have six artists each draw a hand with a pencil in it pointing towards the world. For each of us art is our way of life and we use it to make the world a little better, art has the power to bring people together to share a feeling of community and happiness. Whether you enjoy creating yourself or prefer to admire the art of others, either way you will no doubt recognise that emotion of wonder you get when you stumble across artwork that connects with you. We were able to show how varying art can be and maybe open people's eyes to a new style.

Now I was the last person to add to the piece so I felt unusually nervous, in fact it was the most anxious I have ever felt about starting a collaboration! When you have this massive original in front of you with five pieces of mind blowing contributions, the pressure is on to NOT RUIN IT!

The process to create the final design involved first drawing the hand outline - this was not my strong point. After lots of sketching I eventually took a photo of my hand and used that as a template - I won't show you my first attempt at drawing a hand but let's just say it didn't look right at all (maybe one day I will post a picture of the hand so you can all have a laugh haha!)

Just so that I could guarantee I would be happy with the final outcome I then actually practiced mini concepts. Below you can see those practice designs - I haven't ever worked on something that required this level of dimension so it was a case of creating a concept that included my style without losing the form of the individual fingers. I played around with floral designs, dotwork and linework. At the bottom you can see the design I went with in the end - I tried to use a combination of styles so it felt like an evolution of patterns. 

The only way I could get the shading and dimension right on the hand would be to use basic linework. Below you can see the sort of pattern that is incorporated close up. As with all my pieces, I always challenge myself not to just repeat the same patterns, this makes it more fun for me and more visually interesting.  By using a sort of ribbed design that followed the form of the hand with a slight curve to each one I was able to give it more dimension. Although a lot of this detail gets lost when looking at the piece as a whole, I think it's nice that anyone looking at the original will be able to see all the tiny details.  

Next up was the shading of the hand, this was vital to get right so that you could really see the fingers in the background. You can see below the difference shading makes where the hand and wrist meet - I hadn't added any shading to the wrist at this stage and it looked very two dimensional in comparison. 

Once the hand was complete I could really get stuck into the wrist where there was more room for experimenting and no need to worry about form as much. I stuck roughly to the design from my initial concept and just tweaked a few little bit as I went along. The floral part had to flow nicely from the pattern above it so I used small leaves to transition between the two styles. You can see below that there is no harsh line where the two styles meet, instead I drew the leaves in a random-like fashion so it looked more organic and free flowing.

I tend to draw a pencil outline of any floral design first so I can get the flowers right. Then it is just a case of colouring in the black bits in between and adding the detail and shading. The beauty of the floral pattern was that I could let the design end organically with a few little leaves scattered for a nice effect.  

And here is the final design! In the end I was really happy with how it came out and it taught me a really big lesson in terms of my art: push your boundaries and see what you can achieve. As you can see from my process above it took me a long time to get to the end product so if you think something is not your "natural talent" then just keep practicing and progressing, I promise you will see big changes. 

Collaborating is my absolute favourite thing to do, adding other people into the mix challenges your practice and you end up making new friends in the process. I felt especially grateful after this collab because these are artists who I admire greatly myself, to be part of a piece with them was an absolute privilege and hopefully there will be more to come! 

The final piece got a mental reaction online from people all over the world with so many people entering the giveaway, which was a nice way for us to give something back after all the amazing support we are given. I hope you all liked it and feel free as always to leave your thoughts as a comment. Thanks for reading! 

Let's Talk Pens

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So the question I get most is: What pens do you use? I have found some pens are better at certain things than others. The pen is so important to your illustration because it does so much more than bringing your idea to life.

With the right pen for you, you can work quickly, easily and achieve the exact linework you want. You also want to consider factors like the flow of the ink, the way it feels on the paper, the intensity of the colour, the lifetime of the nib. Paper also makes a MASSIVE difference to how the ink comes out. And ultimately it depends on what works for you. 

Here are some pen sets that I use often with my own pros and cons of each one. I have only really discussed black pens as most of my illustrations are black and white and these are my thoughts in relation to the types of illustrations I do. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom and I will get back to you. 

Sakura Pigma Micron

My go to pen is the Sakura Pigma Micron Drawing Pen. I now buy the 005's separately but a good place to start is this 6 pen set.


  • The black ink is so very black! It is the "blackest" ink I have found
  • The ink flow is great and it never smudges
  • You can create a variety of strokes with it so perfect for shading
  • It comes in a variety of sizes: 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8 - 005 is the best for details
  • Best for artistic illustrations that do not need to be really crisp and clean
  • Good for Moleskines and sketchbooks


  • The smooth ink flow doesn't last long so the lines get less crisp quite quickly = getting through pens quickly 


These are the pens I tend use to use when drawing tattoo commissions.


  • Lines are clean and consistent 
  • It has a good range of thicker nibbed pens: XS, S, F, M, B and C 
  • The B pen (broad) is really great for filling black areas, it is really pigmented and is my favourite pen to use for this purpose


  • Shading is more difficult with these pens
  • XS is still not small enough to create the details you can with the 005 Pigma Micron 
  • Not ideal on Moleskine paper
  • For some reason I just do not enjoy creating freeflowing illustrations with these pens 


Although this is not their intended use, I use these pens for planning and sketching ideas. 


  • A lot of ink flows out of these pens, makes it really easy to quickly sketch and draw 
  • Even and fluid ink makes it great for getting a very animated feel to illustrations, ideal for a comic/cartoon sort of look 
  • Waterproof so good if you are adding watercolour on top 
  • Range of sizes: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07 & 08


  • Biggest con is that there is SO much ink that it can smudge very easily so I do not use it for final designs
  • The ink is not very black and is more of a dark grey 
  • Can bleed a lot on the wrong paper such as moleskines 
  • Definitely not the best pens for my style of illustration that requires absolute precision 


These pens are a good mix of the Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell. I use these mainly for commissioned projects requiring precise lines that will eventually be used as a graphic or on a product.


  • Crisp lines so easy to edit digitally e.g. for use on products or converting to vectors
  • Perfect for geometric and graphic designs 
  • Last a long time and very reliable 
  • The biggest range of sizes: 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8 1.0 & 1.2
  • Good for inking over pencil sketches and outlines


  • Does not easily facilitate artistic illustrations 
  • Not ideal for shading or adding depth to illustrations 
  • The black is not as black as the Pigma Micron and Faber Castell pens 
  • Nib has bent on a few occasions (but maybe I am just heavy handed!)
  • Have had some smudging issues with these pens 


So that is how I have found these four brands of pens. I have tried lots of other pens over the years and these are the ones I always return to. If you have any other pens you want advice on then please feel free to leave a comment and I will let you know if I have used them. 

If you are looking to invest in some pens but do not know where to start I would recommend buying around a 01/S of the types you are considering and testing them out to see how they work for you before committing to a whole set. Let me know your thoughts and I hope this helps!

Cosmic Love ft. Doodles

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I know a lot of you have requested that I film a timelapse video of me drawing but the last time I tried it took SUCH a long time I haven't had the courage to try again, sorry! This is mainly because I am usually so close to my drawing that I have to consciously sit further back from the camera and well I keep forgetting and lots of frames end up being removed (unless anyone wants to just see shots of the top of my head).

I will try again one day but for now I thought I would share this video I made a few years ago. This was just when I started drawing so you will see there is not really any shading or depth but I always knew I loved lots of detail. The concept of this illustration was a temple of snakes, the idea came to me while I was on a bus. I liked the idea of mixing temples, usually holy places of worship, with snakes that are usually depicted in Western culture to be evil. I find it interesting to see what happens when you bring together clashing concepts from opposite ends of the spectrum.

It is always nice to go back and reflect on your work and past pieces, you can really see how much you have progressed as well as elements that have remained consistent. Generally I am a big believer of self-reflection and awareness but I don't do it as much with my illustrations as I probably should. Nowadays I am a lot more precise with my illustrations, the one in the video was done without any pencil sketches or grid lines - I can't imagine doing that now!

Why don't you look back on some of your older work or perhaps some of your earlier accomplishments to see how far you have come. Who knows, you may even be inspired by it. I know I personally realised how much I love to incorporate music with my illustrations, something I have neglected recently.

Anyway hope you enjoy watching the video, feel free to comment below with your thoughts :)

In case you are interested this is the song, I felt like it really complimented the timelapse:

My First Papercut

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When I first came across papercutting art I was in complete awe, the effect that can be created is so beautiful and delicate. I really love trying new crafty things so on one of my trips to Rymans I decided to pick up some bits so I could have a go myself. This is a little about my first papercutting experience, what I did, what I learnt and how you can try it out yourself. There are some great tutorials out there so I definitely advise youtubing and googling this some more if you want to give it a try. 

Okay so firstly the equipment I used:

  • Paper - silly of me but I bought some black card and then found the knife wouldn't actually cut it. I actually just used normal printer paper in the end but I will be researching into the best paper to use for next time. 
  • Hobby Knife - I used the Jakar Hobby Knife 
  • Cutting Mat - I got mine from Rymans and apparently its self healing!
  • Pencil 

The next thing to do is to plan what you want to cut out - I did a mandala design that I sort of made up as I went along each layer. The key thing to remember is that the whole piece needs to stay connected - if you cut the wrong bit a chuck of the design will just completely fall through (not sure how to explain this but if you try you will understand!) And if you are doing words then it will need to be a mirror image. 

It might be better to try with a simple design first and experiment a bit rather than stress yourself out like I did. As it was my first time papercutting, I was in extreme focus mode throughout and very worried I would cut the wrong bit. I did actually cut through a few of the lines and so had to make emergency plasters out of masking tape to fix it back together!  That's why I recommend practicing a lot more before attempting something this complex. 

If you draw your design with a blunt pencil the lines are really thick and you just need to cut out the space in between the lines. So that you can see how I did this I have included a photo of how it looked from the back, you can see all the pencil lines I drew. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that it REALLY does not matter if all the bits are not completely even, as long as it achieves the overall effect. Just take a look at one layer above, you will see many of the shapes are actually wonky and sort of all over the place.

I also discovered that small curves and small round circles are SO difficult to do. This probably again comes down to practice and learning how to use the knife - I ended up having to do a lot of reshaping because I was struggling to get the curve looking curvy, if that makes sense. If you are going to include little circles or curves I would advise doing some practice runs on another piece of paper first. 

As with drawing, I prefer there to be contrasting sections so in the same way I like there to be a range of dark and light areas in my illustrations, I tried to vary the straight and curvy lines as well as the thickness in certain areas. But this is down to personal preference, its just what I like. Here's a few progress photos so you can see how it grew:

I hope you give papercutting a try and please feel free to tag and send me photos of any of your papercuts! I am by no means an expert but I hope this helps and gives you an insight into papercutting. If you want to check out some other artists who do this sort of artwork then look at the artwork of Rebecca Loechler, Mr Riu and Sarah Dennis - they are all incredibly talented.

Continent Series

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I will be honest with you guys, I started drawing as an escape from my 9-5 and I honestly could never have imagined having so many people on the journey with me. So THANK YOU a million trillion times! Whether it's a follow, a like or a comment, it all means I can share my work further and hopefully make an impact on someone :) 

After reaching 100,000 followers on Instagram I wanted to do a little series that represented how I feel about all of this. And it only seemed right that it would be something to do with all of you guys. I mean it's so cool that people from all over the world not only follow but buy my artwork. That means a bit of me is in countries I haven't even been too! I'll never quite get over that! 

I try to bring together my drawings and travel whenever I can so the Continent Series just made perfect sense. This is a little behind the scenes of how I drew this series. You can buy the Limited Edition prints of them here

1. Grid lines and pencil sketches

Each Continent drawing started with a pencil grid to help keep everything symmetrical and in line. When I first started drawing I didn't really use grid lines and pencil outlines but with ones like this that require absolute precision, grid lines and sketches are very helpful. 

Then I researched that particular Continent to compile ideas of landmarks, architecture and scenery in those countries. I even took a trip to my local library in Richmond Upon Thames to get some inspiration from travel guides and books. 

Then I started planning out the composition of the piece, picking imagery that I felt represented that Continent and that was particularly recognisable. Below you can see the pencil sketch for the Europe drawing. 

2. Inking the outline

Next I started going over the outline using my Pigma Micron Pen (I have included a link at the end of the post to where you can buy this product on Amazon in case you are interested in using it yourself). At this stage I sometimes changed the composition of the drawing depending on how I felt it was looking e.g. in the Australia one below you can see there were some bits of coral coming out of the skyscrapers that I didn't ink because I thought they might look a bit strange! 

Australia Outline.jpg

3. Shading and adding details

The final stage is where the drawing starts coming to life, its all in the details, my favourite part of illustrating. Depending on what I was working on, I sometimes made up techniques as I went along to capture the texture or detail, for example, I had never worked on something like the green mountains surrounding the Great Wall of China so I developed these sort of small tight randomly arranged curls to achieve that look. You can see this technique in the mountains of the South America and Asia drawings. 

I really hope that I was able to connect with each and every one of you on this series. Our home, where we live, work and play, is a part of our identity and naturally we feel such immense pride about where we come from. I know I wasn't able to include every country in the drawings and for that I am truly sorry but trust me if I could I would! I would just be working on that for a while...  

But anyway THANK YOU again for following my work. Maybe one day we will meet and can be more than just social media friends! 

And lastly you can grab the pens I use to do the outline and details of these sketches here, hope it helps you on your sketching journey:

Origami meets ink

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From the first moment I came across the wonderful work of Ross Symons aka @white_onrice I have been a massive fan of his magnificent little creations. Now I admit I don't know much about origami but I do know that Ross is GREAT at it. 

I noticed many of his beautiful origami creations were made from plain coloured paper and wondered to myself how they would turn out on patterned paper. So I got in touch with Ross to see what he thought and thankfully he was on board straight away.

Ross suggested that as we had both worked on a dragonfly we should bring these two together. What a brilliant idea!

So I began working on what I call "motherboarding". This consists of drawing various made up computer components. The real fun is in coming up with new variations and trying not to repeat the same concepts. When I initially worked on this technique I very carefully examined computer chips and motherboards to get an idea of what actual components look like. Now I tend to experiment a lot more.

As soon as I had finished a block of this design I sent it over to Ross who created what can only be described as a MASTERPIECE. Here is a close up of the final origami dragonfly made from from the motherboarding illustration. To think something like this can be created from just one piece of paper is truly incredible and reminds me of the beauty that us human beings can create! 

Definitely go and check out more of Ross's work on his website where you will seriously become just as obsessed with his origami as I am. Take a look at his Stop Motion Animations, they are unreal!

10 Reasons to be Creative

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For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed making things.  I think as children we all enjoy being crafty and creative, we like to explore and make and experiment. But as we get older sometimes we can get stuck in a routine and forget about that childlike wonder and curiosity.  

I'm a big believer in having a creative outlet, whether it's a musical instrument, painting, knitting, making plane models, literally anything as long as you are making something.  

Here are 10 reasons I think it's great to be creative, hopefully I can persuade you to get in touch with your creative side:  

1. Quite simply it is better than watching tv, browsing social media or being on your phone. Technology distances us from the real world and although we always feel "connected", it can also be quite a lonely place. Sometimes it is good to just uplug.

2. It gives you a moment to tune out all the other stuff going on in your life. It's basically like yoga without the physical demands.  

3. By the end of each creation you have achieved something and this makes you feel good about yourself, boosting your self esteem. This is great if you suffer from low self-confidence or self-worth. 

4. It should be fun! Keep going through different crafts and skills until you find something that makes you happy. 

5. It's particularly good if you have a job that doesn't involve being creative. You are using different parts of your brain and that's always a good thing.  It could even help with your day job and give you a new way of thinking. 

6. Art Therapy is a practice used to help people express themselves emotionally, and for me personally, drawing is like keeping a journal. Maybe not everything creative will give you this kind of benefit but most can do.

7. Creativity feeds more creativity. And you never know what ideas you might stumble across, who knows you may come up with an invention!  

8. You are developing a skill that could lead to other opportunities. Possibly even career opportunities.

9. You can meet other people who are interested in what you do and speak to like minded people. There's nothing quite like talking to people who feel as passionately about something as you do.

10. You become an even more interesting person! I'm big on self-development and it's great to find new things to do. 

And as an alternative to a creative hobby you can always make presents and gifts for friends and family. It's always good fun and the person receiving it is bound to love the effort and thought that went into it.  

Just don't be deterred if at first you are not a pro, no one is at first!  

Tattify Yourself

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I know this collaboration was over the summer but I didn't have a blog then so I hope you don't mind me writing a little post on it now.

Now although people have had my designs tattooed on their skin, I never even thought about temporary tattoos until the lovely guys at Tattify got in touch with me.

Usually due to bleeding of the ink, the linework of tattoos cannot be too close otherwise they will just end up blurring. For this very reason I decided to draw the tattoos as detailed as possible and in keeping with my usual style; this way you could wear something that could not even possibly be a tattoo but still looked real!

If I had a tattoo it would probably be a mandala, they are harmonious and timeless. And so this formed the basis for many of the designs. As always I like to add a little twist, so where possible I still made sure they were a little different and perhaps something you had never seen before.

In case you are interested in the thought process behind the designs, I have picked my favourite three and will share with you how they came about. Treasure Trove, the first of the designs just below, was based on jewels and gems, a sort of take on jewellery. I wanted it to feel extravagant but still elegant so I focused on a few floral details combined with a rounded overall form and little bits of curved lines to make it feel softer.

Flowerage, the middle design below, is my take on a flower. I'm not one for drawing things that look pretty in the conventional sense and so it ended up being a mandala meets flower. The last one, Ice Queen, was based on a snowflake and the overall "icey" look was achieved by using mainly small sharp lines and shapes. You can see close ups of these designs in the Gallery.

What I like most about temporary tattoos is that each person can wear them in a completely different way. I might think it goes perfectly on a wrist and you might see it working on your neck! But wherever it goes, it completely transforms you. Never have I ever been more persuaded to get a real tattoo. It even had me thinking of concepts for my own tattoo!

I hope that if you do manage to wear one you are left every so often catching a glimpse of it and getting lost in the detail that now forms a part of you.

  • Buy my Temporary Tattoo Collection here
  • Read my Q&A with Tattify
Treasure Trove

Treasure Trove

First blog post!

MePavneet Sembhi7 Comments
Traveling through the Norwegian Fords

Traveling through the Norwegian Fords

Hello friends. I want to start this by saying I'm not a writer in any shape or form so please don't judge my poor grammar, punctuation or spelling! Please forgive me if I use too many commas or not enough or if my sentences are so poorly structured that you just want to look at the pictures. But bear with me and I hope you will read something useful.

So this is what you can expect from my blog:

  • Get to know me a little better
  • More about my work
  • Exciting news and projects
  • Reviews and lists of recommended stuff
  • What and who inspires me
  • Things I have learnt along the way
  • My adventures through the world
  • Inspirational things that will brighten your day

As you may have noticed from my online posts and updates, I don't talk much about myself. For me, it has always been about my artwork and sharing it with those that can connect with it.

But I realised recently when I'm admiring an artist's work, I want to know more about the person. So here I am writing this blog, looking forward to rambling on about what goes on in my chaotic mind.

If there is anything in particular you would like to see from my blog please comment below. I hope you will enjoy the journey with me.

I would like to share a quote I heard recently whilst watching an interview with India Arie, a soul singer who is as real and honest as they get. This pretty much sums up how I think we should all feel:

Your real job in this world is to be you.
— India Arie