‘Rapture: Robot Girl and the Angel’ from Digital Art by Gemma Duffill. ‘This is a character I am working on for a short comic book series. Her story is very sad and sweet.’ (Digital Painting in Corel Painter) Artwork courtesy of Gemma Duffill.

Artist Watch

The Artist

Gemma Duffill (continued)

Practice, experience new things, try new things, fail at things, and try again.’ 

‘Realistic portraits still fascinate me. The challenge of getting a likeness and the satisfaction you feel when you do manage to get one is the best part. I’m currently in love with Corel Painter and am finding that I’m using that program more in my art – whether it’s for cartooning or realism.

‘My own personal animation and illustration projects include short films, most likely just to broadcast on the internet. If they turn out well enough I may enter them into film festivals. I’d love to make something similar to Simon’s Cat on YouTube.


‘I’m an avid reader of comics and graphic novels and, although I have a couple of ideas of my own, I’d love to work with a writer to create one. Currently I’m plotting a self-published comic book featuring Robot Girl. She came about when I entered the 7x9 exhibition with Illustrators Australia a few years back. The theme was “rapture” and I don’t know why, but that little robot reaching out to an angel came to mind. So I ended up coming up with a story for her. It will be a sad, sweet and quiet story. I plan for it to be a mini-series, perhaps 4-5 issues long.

‘I design T shirts for my stores on zazzle in redbubble, which are print-to-order websites. But I can design shirt prints for anyone; all I need to know is what colour shirt it will go on, how they want it printed and what they’d like on it. Pricing depends on the level of time and detail involved in the artwork.’

Do you think that attitudes to art have changed over, say, the last thirty years? Are people more interested in art or less interested, and if more so, in which form?

‘I think people in general have this misconception that people don’t “make” art anymore; that it just happens. Especially if it’s digital art, they think the computer does all the work, like there’s a “make art” button on your keyboard. I think that unless someone has a particular interest in art in any form, most people don’t really pay it any mind, which is sad.

‘That said, artists can find each other and art lovers more easily than ever before with the internet. We’re no longer bound by our locales and art can be seen in galleries all around the world just from your computer screen – it’s more accessible than ever.’

How necessary do you think formal qualifications are in terms of finding work?

‘I think that in freelance your work speaks for itself and you don’t necessarily have to have qualifications. But, if you’re looking to work with a studio in design or illustration, you would stand a much better chance of getting employed if you have them.

‘These days everyone is expected to have qualifications and a great portfolio. Once you get a job with someone they may train you more in their specific field. But something that would help any artist is to take life drawing classes – they not only teach you about the human form but they also teach you to see as an artist.

Do you think that there will be an expanding market for artists in Apps, eBooks and for people who are self-publishing in the future?

‘There already is. I know many of my peers are working in these areas already. I am working on an eBook with a long-time friend of mine to bring her children’s book to life for tablets and computers everywhere. Self-publishing is also much easier these days. People can run kick-starter campaigns to fund the first run of a self-published book or they can sign up to a print-on-demand service that will print the books and post them to clients for them.

Is there any advice that you would give to someone starting out in your field now?

‘Practice, experience new things, try new things, fail at things and try again. If you go to art school make sure that it’s one that will teach you technical skills as well as art theory. Most of all, stick at it – it’s a hard industry.


Website Watch

GEMMA DUFFILL is an illustrator, animator and story artist based on the Gold Coast (south of Brisbane) in Queensland, Australia. She graduated from Griffith University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Animation (majoring in 3D Animation) and, after further study, also acquired a Graphic Design Diploma from the Cold Coast Institute of TAFE.

Gemma excels at digital and traditional illustrations and can provide illustrations for any kind of project; a children’s book, a mural, a comic book or an advertisement. Anything – she’s very versatile. If there is a particular style the client is after Gemma can emulate that style and also provide graphic design services such as logo design, brochures, pamphlets, business cards etc. The best way for clients to find out project  costs would be to contact Gemma on as each client’s needs differ and she can customise a price to suit.

To keep up with what Gemma’s doing and to see more of her work, go to her blog at, visit her websites at, and and browse through her gallery at

But wait, there’s more! You can also find Gemma on the Behance website at, follow her on her Facebook pages at and LinkedIn on


More Gemma...P.2




‘Crocodile’ from Photographs by Gemma Duffill. 'Photography has become a great hobby of mine. This image was taken on the Proserpine River where salt water crocodiles are plentiful.’ (Photographed using a Nikon D80, Shutter speed 1/800 sec, Aperture F/5.6, Focal Length 300mm, ISO 320) Photograph courtesy of Gemma Duffill.