Creating a unique art style that easily identifies you amongst the hundreds of other artists around you is easier said than done. In fact, for many people who actually know how to draw but are striving to reach that extra sweet spot, it’s still downright impossible.
But Emma Galea Naudi‘s colourful and quirky illustrations and caricatures have done just that.
In Emma’s case, practice is definitely not the only thing that makes perfect; passion also factors heavily into the equation. She’s been attracted to drawing ever since she could pick up a pencil, “I probably started producing finer art than scribbles around the age of five,” she jokes.
“I’d spend hours drawing cartoons and creating an ongoing monologue for the characters I was drawing.” And that very same childlike wonder and imagination still lives on in her art nearly two decades later.
But for every talented artist in any field, there’s always that one tipping point where a fun hobby turns into a deep-set passion, and Emma’s came from a variety of sources. She distinctly remembers reading books and looking at the illustrations, envisioning herself giving life and colour to the characters she was reading about.
No other illustrator had as much of a strong effect on her than Quentin Blake, particularly his illustrations in Roald Dahl’s books. “I used to gaze at his illustrations and think, ‘Yep, I could do that!'” reiterating just how much of a huge inspiration Blake was her in the earlier years.
While she still reckons he’s her favourite illustrator of all time, Emma cites other foreign artists and animators as her current sources of inspiration, mainly concept artists for the likes of Disney and Dreamworks.
Thankfully, despite numerous challenged, Emma was never disheartened from pursuing her passion and she’s very grateful for all the people in her life who believed in her and helped her to always keep improving on her style.
“As I got older, I kept getting encouraged by my parents and teachers, and when I studied under Mark Scicluna for a semester at MCAST, I remember he was one of the first people in the business who made me think I had potential.” That’s Mark Scicluna, legendary local illustrator and co-creator of A Space Boy Dream and the Politicks card game.
As you can probably tell, Emma prefers drawing people over scenery or animals. “It’s just more fun to distort features and experiment with different shapes and textures”, as she so simply puts it, and we definitely have to agree. Emma often gets commissioned to do caricatures, and she said she loves people’s reactions the first time they see themselves transformed into cartoons.
Speaking of cartoons, when asked where she’d like to take this talent of hers in the future, Emma said she’d really love to get into illustrating children’s books, seeing as her specific style very much suits that genre. And who wouldn’t want to read a Maltese children’s book with these cartoons waiting on every page? We know we’d ignore the suggested reading age for sure!
Emma is also working on getting a little side business set up providing commissioned caricatures, illustration albums, prints, and possibly even doing personalised wedding invitations! “It’s an idea right now, but I’m working on having enough time to make it a reality,” she continues. Let’s hope it does become one!
While Malta must be teeming with inspiration on every corner, especially for cartoons and human caricatures, our island and its people are not the only subjects of Emma’s art. “My favourite piece is the one I did called ‘Redrum’ “, she admits. “I’m a huge horror movie fan and The Shining is probably one of my favourite horror films. I love the fine details in that illustration and maintaining an eery undertone…sans all the gore.”
For more of Emma’s pieces, check out her Behance page. Who knows – maybe more of her caricatures will start cropping up around the island!