Carlos & Pauli
Read this article in french.
We have been watching Pauli and Carlos ever since they started challenging each other on Instagram with the Slate. Taking turns, they posted drawings made with the Slate around certain topics, both revealing their unique style. We couldn’t be happier when they agreed to do a joint interview to tell us about their art and their friendly rivalry. Needless to say, we are impatient for the next challenge!
I. Meet Pauli & Carlos
Where are you both from?
Pauli: London born and bred, I’m currently living in Chingford with my gorgeous wife and baby daughter.
Carlos: I live in London, my mother is British and my father is from El Salvador in Central America. So I guess that makes me some sort of hybrid human (laughs).
How did you meet each other?
Pauli: We first met at a show in Amsterdam, we’d seen each other’s work in other shows, but our paths hadn’t crossed until then. It was amazing, like finding my bro-mate…
Carlos: Yes, we realized we had exhibited together before without knowing it in Oxford, England. We stayed in contact and have been good friends since.
Tell us a bit about each of you as an artist? What is your background? What is your favorite technique?
Pauli: I’m assuming I don’t have to tell Carlos’s side of this. (Laughs) I like to say I’m a self-taught artist, but I did briefly study art at college, although personal circumstances meant I couldn’t complete the course. It did show me a wider range of the arts which now, 18 years later, is how I use my work. I tend to mix a lot of different styles and like to mess around a little with technique, the main one being sheer panic whilst wiggling a pencil at a piece of paper. If I hadn’t had that brief experience I may have still been concentrating on a more ‘cartoony’ style. That my wife actually really likes…
Carlos: I’m a figurative artist that plays with a bit of surrealism and satire. I’m proficient in various mediums and I love learning new skills that I feel I can use in my work, which has included working digital too.
I’ve always been drawing since I can remember and continued through school and university where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts. I’ve also occasionally worked for film and television and my work has been exhibited in London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Texas, New Mexico, Canada and Australia.
For the last six years I have been mainly working with tea (yes, drinking tea) as a medium combining it with traditional drawing techniques. I also recently created a series of fun paintings on cardboard of old movie monsters from my childhood.
What are your favorite drawings tools?
Pauli: Promarkers, fineliners, any paper — but since Carlos talked me into trying digital artwork around Christmas time (by introducing me to the Slate!) I haven’t really looked back. It allows me to be much less messy in my work.
Carlos: I tend to like ballpoint pens and fine-liners mostly, also a nice smooth off-white heavyweight paper. I like col-erase pencils in vermillion or non-photo blue, also a good 0.5 mechanical 4B pencil.
What pieces of work are you most proud of?
Pauli: My very first portrait that looked like the person it was supposed to be (Simon Bird from ‘The Inbetweeners’). It also brightens my soul whenever I draw myself — because I am narcissistic. (Laughs)
Carlos: Some of the ones I’ve enjoyed creating the most are the pieces “The Wonder Years”, “Wings of Promise” and “Reflections of Mortality” all done with tea, pencil and ballpoint pen.
II. The Slate Challenges
How did you discover the Slate? What made you want to purchase it?
Pauli: Carlos! We’ve worked alongside each other before we’ve discussed various projects and he has always been a big advocate of digital work. When he mentioned the Slate, he joked that we could challenge each other whilst learning how to use it.
Carlos: Exactly. I saw an online article by chance and it got my attention, so I hopped over to the website to get more information. The use of physical paper was what got my attention and the possibility of having a digital record to go with it. Although I’m familiar with graphic tablets, I enjoy the feel of pen on paper and the rings to fit on your favourite pen or pencil sounded good. I think I sent Pauli a link to the article announcing the Slate just to see what he thought. The rest is history! (Laughs)
How did you get started with these drawing challenges? What made you want to do one with the Slate?
Pauli: As above — I know I speak highly of Carlos, but conversely he is also my nemesis……. And I will beat him one day, you mark my words.
Carlos: We always take an interest in each other’s work and encourage each other to do better, so when we found out that we had both decided to purchase the Slate, Pauli and I thought it would be a good idea to see what it could do and learn how to use it by setting small challenges for each other and see what we could achieve with it. There’s a friendly rivalry between us…unless he does something better, then it’s war. (Laughs)
Tell us about your experience with the Slate. How has it changed your creative process? What are your favorite things about the Slate?
Pauli: It’s a great gateway product to digital art, I’ve always been a bit cautious of digital art, and I didn’t quite understand it, but to be able to ‘draw’ as normal, with the bonus of all these different options to play with has been great –I love the layering aspect. It hasn’t so much changed my creative process as sped it up!
Carlos: I enjoy using the Slate with the Imagink software and love the feel of pen on paper instead of a smooth non responsive surface. It allows me to explore ideas very quickly as I can decide whether just to use it to draw or carry it on using colour etc. Complex pieces can also be accomplished fairly quickly. The layers are great to allow me to separate my base drawing from the colors.
I love the blind mode as you can just sketch without the distraction of a screen and still have an interpretation of your original sketch. It’s not perfect as sometimes it doesn’t replicate my line accurately and I saw early on that I would have to compensate for this as much as I could but as long as iskn continues to update and improve their software/firmware, things will keep on getting better!
What improvements do you think should be made to the Slate?
Pauli: That’s a hard one for me as I’m only just learning about the world of digital art devices. It would be nice if it did make fresh croissants and coffee like Carlos said it would…
Carlos: There’s that! And I would like to see another standard pen for the Slate so it matches the default tool used in the Imagink app, possibly a fine-liner or felt nib. However, I was very impressed with the Imagink software, nice and simple interface but powerful results.
Better support when tilting pen or pencil when drawing would also help, as well as a better accuracy when using layers, sometimes it offsets lines when drawing over an underlying layer.
I think with technology you have to be aware of possible limitations from the beginning, nothing will compare to real mediums. I say this because there is always a learning curve to get through to get the most out of any device. Each person is different and will use it differently.
What would you like the Slate to be able to do in the future?
Carlos: Possibly some kind of pressure sensitivity and improved accuracy when using layers.
Pauli: I’m going to insist, FRESH CROISSANTS AND COFFEE.
III. Inspiration & projects
Where do you find inspiration for your artwork?
Pauli: I know it’s cliché — ‘everywhere’! I have dyslexia and I was always told that my form of this ‘allows’ me to see the world a little bit jumbled! So, it really can be anything.
Carlos: Basically everywhere, I believe art is a reflection of what you feel, see and think, it has its own voice. It can be from a song’s lyrics, popular culture, books I’ve read, classical art, social history, my observations etc. They all feed my inspiration, there is always this thing inside me that just pushes me to draw, draw, draw.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
Pauli: Carlos, because he is amazing. Neil Buchanan, he was also amazing… And probably still is. I have to be honest, this answer could go on forever! And the problem is with social media now. There is pretty much an artist a week that I see and who inspires me — It’s why I put together a series about artists who inspire me!
Carlos: Ahh this is such a difficult question ha ha, my main ones are Boris, Frank Frazetta, Van Gogh, Michaelangelo, Katsuhiro Otomo to name but a few. They have all been consistent in the quality of their work, I never tire of looking at how they apply their unique style to their subjects.
Do you sometimes work together on some projects?
Pauli: Yes, we’ve worked on a few projects now, formal and informal!
Carlos: Yes, we have worked together on various projects, the biggest being for a campaign for Lenovo computers. We have also done concept art and character development together, as well as stalking each other by exhibiting at some of the same galleries.
How are your styles different?
Pauli: They are so different it’s like trying to compare the moon with a goldfish…
Carlos: I don’t really think we are that different really, although Pauli disagrees. (Laughs) We have similar ideas and thoughts but I think our approach is very different. I feel Pauli’s work is very bold and beautifully simple and that is what I love about it. I also like simplicity but I tend to get carried away with details sometimes ha ha. Pauli is like a machine he just produces things so fast!
What is it about drawing that you love the most?
Pauli: I’m quite an introvert really, drawing is how I communicate, it’s a way of telling a story without stumbling over words and letters.
Carlos: I love the immediacy about getting an idea out of your head. It becomes so natural you don’t even think about it, your hand just takes over. Drawing for me is the foundation of everything, you’re learning to see, to observe, recording whatever is going on in your head and heart. The more you draw the better you get at making sense out things and understanding things around you.
What are your upcoming projects?
Pauli: I have a few commissions running and I’m helping my wife with designs for a project she and a friend are working on — so watch this space!
Carlos: I have been planning on creating a colouring book with activities for adults using pop culture as a general theme for a while now.
Are you planning another Slate challenge, when can we see it?
Pauli: We both have a few things on at the moment, but it’s actually Carlos’ turn to pick the challenge. So I’m just waiting for him to put it out there!
Carlos: Yes, we’ve both been so busy but I have to get to it!
Follow Carlos & Pauli’s artsy friendship on Instagram: