GR Interview: Artist Paul Robertson


Paul Robertson is a quiet individual who’s imagery is as powerful and iconic as any digital artist. He’s from Australia, yet might be best known for his work on the Scott Pilgrim video game. With one look at his art and then the game, it’s obvious. Robertson’s art style echoes that of games of yesteryear, yet the subject matter has both retro elements and iconography yet is filled with cyber energy and excitement. His current work at Giant Robot 2 is a series of prints in Diversions.


GR: Your work has a 8 bit feel. Is that too trite of a thing to say about your work? Or is it 16bit?

PR: I don’t think it’s fair to call it 8 bit or 16 bit, it seems like those terms are thrown around alot without knowing what they actually mean. I’d say I just work in pixels and usually low colour pallettes. 

GR: Can you explain the process by which you create art?

PR: When I have an idea for something I’ll sketch it down on paper, or a rough pixel sketch first. Then I’ll just gradually pixel over it, edit things here and there, and push things around until it doesn’t look terrible. I don’t think I’m a natually good drawer so I always do a lot of editing and adjusting. Pixel art is pretty accomadating for this kindof method.

GR: Is there a scene of artists or audience for your work in Australia?

PR: I have no idea. I’m not really into any artist “scenes” in australia. I think my work is mostly known online.

GR: Explain if you can, how the Scott Pilgrim work took place? There’s a lot of art in that!

PR: Ubisoft contacted me after seeing my work online and offered me the job of lead animator. So I went to Montreal and worked there for about a year. I did all playable characters and strikers, almost all bosses and other art here and there. Other animation was done by super cool artists Jonathan Kim, Mariel Cartwright and Justin Cyr. Stephane Boutin did the backgrounds and all round graphics supervision. Jonathan Lavigne did the game design and additional art.

During production there were alot of problems with producers and higher ups, and we had to really fight to get the game made. But I think it turned out pretty good in the end.

GR: Where does your imagery come from? It has a wild mix of icons, characters, and such in there!

I take inspiration from all over the place: horror movies, 80s action heroes, blues brothers, gainax anime, akira, norse mythology, world leaders etc. I am always into anything ridiculous or grand, or over the top.

GR: What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on something for a tv show, and also a new game with my ex Ubisoft friends Justin Cyr and Jonathan Lavigne.