Artist Charly Clements on Being Creative, Playfulness and Collaboration

Artist Charly Clements on Being Creative, Playfulness and Collaboration

Boriana Heim

This month we are very proud to be able to announce that we have worked with UK artist Charly Clements. Although she’s from Britain, you’ll never know where she is located at the moment. With her iPad, she travels the world and has lived in around 20 countries so far. We talked with her about being an artist, and of course the artwork she created using our Indonesian children's drawings.

Face This: Can you tell us something about your cultural background? Where did you grow up? Did you always like to draw? 

Charly Clements: I grew up in a small seaside town in the UK with my mum and younger brother. From a young age I just knew I wanted to be an artist. I was always entering drawing competitions and creating birthday cards for friends and family. I feel incredibly lucky that I grew up in a very creative family who always supported my love for art. I know how important that was for me growing up, so I try to be as supportive to my community too.

Face This: Is there one drawing that you can recall from your childhood? What was it about? 

Charly Clements: I was obsessed with the Beano comic growing up. When I was 8 I decided to draw all the Beano characters on one A4 piece of paper and as a surprise, my mum sent it into their magazine and it ended up getting featured. I’ll never forget that feeling of joy I got when I opened the comic and saw my work.

Artist Charly Clements in her studio working on something incredible 🙂

Face This: Are there specific moments in your life that made you decide to become an artist?

Charly Clements: I always struggled to focus in class, but as soon as it came to art, I could sit quietly for hours and not get distracted. I just became obsessed and eventually turned my obsession into a successful creative business.

Face This: What do you like most about being an artist?

Charly Clements: The freedom it’s given me. Being creative every day brings me so much happiness, and I just love sharing that with others.

Face This: What is the biggest challenge for you, being an artist?

Charly Clements: Avoiding burn out. When your job is also your passion, it can be easy to fall into the trap of over working. I found that having other hobbies and interests that weren’t art related really helped me find that balance between work and play.

Face This: As an artist, do you have any dreams? Are there some goals you would like to achieve? Is there something you’re building up for?

Charly Clements: One of the most rewarding parts of my job has been teaching. I started teaching digital painting classes on Skillshare around 3 years ago, and since then I’ve helped 1000s of students navigate the world of illustration. I’d love to expand on this and start creating more courses centred around the business side of things.

The Charly Clements x Face This collab is available on tees and a sweater. Pic by Rollo van Wijk/4eyes

Face This: Pablo Picasso once said: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’. How do you remain an artist? And do you have tips for non-artists to cultivate their inner child?

Charly Clements: I try to keep it fun! I know how important it is as an artist to not get bogged down by everything that comes with running your own business or freelancing. So I set myself fun challenges to make sure that I’m always enjoying what I’m doing. If I’m enjoying what I’m doing it always shows in the work I’m creating.

Face This: You designed an artwork by using some of our Indonesian kids’ drawings. With the proceeds of your artwork, we will be able to provide the kids you’ve collabed with a playground. How important is playfulness for you as an artist? 

Charly Clements: Not only for children but for adults. You’re giving them a place where they can be free to explore and get creative. Playfulness is incredibly important for not only children, but for adults too. And it’s something you have to actively seek out in later life.

Face This: When we reached out to you, what made you want to join?

Charly Clements: I just loved what your charity stood for. I’ve lived in Indonesia for a few months in 2017 so I felt even more of a connection to the cause. I’ve also worked with children in the past, and I used art and play as a way for them to express themselves, so it felt like the perfect collaboration.

The Charly Clements x Face This collab is available on tees and a sweater. Pic by Rollo van Wijk/4eyes

Face This: When you received the drawings, what was your first reaction? What did you see in them? Can you describe them a bit for us?

Charly Clements: I saw happiness. Art has always been a kind of therapy for me so I just hope these kids never stop drawing, because the possibilities are endless.

Face This: Which drawings did you use to create your artwork with (you can refer to the drawings by using the file names)? And why did you pick these? 

Charly Clements: I used the main concept of mountains and trees from file 15, the face from file 21 and the airplane from file 14 . I loved the idea of pulling elements from different kids’ drawings and bringing them all together to tell a story.

The Charly Clements x Face This collab is available on tees and a sweater. Pic by Rollo van Wijk/4eyes

Face This: Can you tell us something about how you have experienced this collaboration?

Charly Clements: It was an absolute honour working on this project. Being able to bring the kids artwork to life was so much fun and knowing that it’s for such a good cause makes it even better!

Face This: To conclude, is there something you would like to say to the kids who made the drawings you’ve worked with?

Charly Clements: Thanks for inspiring me to create this artwork. I’m so happy we got to collaborate on such a fun project! Keep up the great work!


We are thrilled to team up with TOPIA, a new culture magazine that explores the power of human creativity. Want to find out how to launch your dream career? For a more in-depth interview with the Beano and pun-loving British illustrator travelling the world with only her iPad, read: She is fierce! How to become a self made artist – with Charly Clements

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