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Article: Artist Spotlight with Bruce Emmett

Artist Spotlight with Bruce Emmett

Welcome to “Artist Spotlight”, our regular feature where you get to know the artists we work with.

Bruce Emmett

Bruce Emmett got his start as a traditional oil painter and has a host of portraits and book covers to his name in that capacity. However, he also creates purely digital works so intricate that it can be difficult to determine which techniques were used on screen.

1. Talk us through your process for creating The Great Dictator.

First, I had to see The Great Dictator again! It had been years since I had last seen it. It is a gem and certainly is still relevant. In my opinion, the globe sequence is the core of the film. I took screenshots of various frames and combined elements. There is no particular scene exactly as is shown in the poster. I composited Charlie’s head with body parts and, of course, the globe, colorized everything in Photoshop and, with Corel Painter, “painted” the piece.

The Great Dictator by Bruce Emmett (Original) | PopCultArt

2. How old were you when you started illustrating and what did you create?

Bruce Emmett Sci-Fi illustration

I was drawing nonstop as a child. As for illustrating, I sold my first piece for a pittance when I was still in art school. I was so happy to be published! The illustration ended up as a science fiction paperback book cover.

3. What is the coolest thing a fan has done for you?

Well, I have received letters…not too many..but I’m always touched by anyone who takes the time to express appreciation like that.

4. What are your top three movies?

This is a difficult question. Almost depends on the week and my frame of mind (such as it is)!

This week(!), my favorites are:

  • Orson Welles’ “TOUCH OF EVIL” (I love all his work) - because of its cynicism and heart..not an easy duo to integrate…and the magnificent cinematography. It has one of THE most famous opening shots...
  • Jean Cocteau’s “LA BELLE ET LA BETE” - because it is a beautiful dream. Unmatched
  • Billy Wilder’s “SOME LIKE IT HOT” - a perfect comedy with the best closing line of ANY film!

5. What is your favorite pastime?

    Riding my horse.

    6. What would be your one superpower and why?

    Supervision! As I age I realize how much I miss the perfect vision I had in my youth.

    7. Which artist(s) inspire you?

    There are so many, but my favorite illustrator is N.C. Wyeth. I always wanted to, but couldn’t, match his bold brush strokes and composition. He was best known for book illustrations...Treasure Island and the like…a golden age of illustration.

    NC Wyeth

    8. What is the one thing that keeps you going?

    I like to work. Illustrating is problem-solving and I like the challenge.

    9. If you were not an artist, what career would you have pursued and why?

    A singer..because it was almost my first choice...(and because it could have been another stable career choice)!

    10. Do you have any words of wisdom for artists starting out?

      Try to have fun.  I’m not big on giving advice. In my early days, as I made the rounds with my portfolio, a well respected (and feared) art director told me to “go home and be a housewife”…his exact words. Needless to say, I was flattened by this comment, but I recovered and trudged on. In other words, follow your gut and stay with it. It ain’t always easy…


      Bruce Emmett's piece for The Great Dictator is available in our shop here

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