Anna Dittmann is a talented american illustrator that I found on DeviantArt the artists platform. Her illustrations so delicate and heavily inspired by nature are made digitally with tablet and Photoshop.
With this interview she tells us about her art and influences, also gives us some small operational board to pursue a career as an illustrator.
Interview: Anna Dittmann digital artist
Q: Ciao Anna, thanks for accepting this interview! Tell us something about yourself.
A: Hello, and thanks for inviting me! I'm a 21-year-old digital illustrator from San Francisco with a passion for enigmatic portraiture. I grew up in a big, chaotic, yet creative family, and began taking painting more seriously when I discovered Photoshop around age 13. A lot has changed since then, but I still have that childlike excitement every time I see and create art. I eventually moved to Georgia to study at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and am currently working on my BFA in Illustration. Besides painting, I love ice cream, baking, biology, cats, tea, night walks, and binge watching TV shows.
Q: How would you define your style?
A: My style shifts all the time – I think style is a constant evolution and is bound to change as our experiences change us. From the beginning though, my style has been somewhat dreamy and surreal. I have a love for nature, biology, and portraiture which are recurring themes throughout my work. Ethereal and atmospheric moods have always appealed to me because the sense of mystery they evoke, so I tend create soft pieces with a combination of graphic and realistic elements.
Q: You decide that it is the right time to create a new illustration. How is your creative process?
A: Often, a concept to a piece will come as an accident. A loose brush stroke will suddenly take on shape or design of its own, and I'll just go with it. The urge to paint hits me randomly sometimes and I'll feel obliged to go draw. Normally this is late at night when I've procrastinated and have lots of work to do. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful feeling.
I normally start with a vague concept in mind and sketch out my idea in black and white in Photoshop. After tweaking the composition, values, and being generally nitpicky, I start seeking out references and refining my sketch. Next, I start throwing in textures on a variety of layer modes such as soft light, divide, multiply, whatever may feel best. I add color using layer modes, and I particularly like using curves to manipulate hues. Toward the end, I detail the piece, sharpen it, and call it a day.
Q: How is your desk? Are you a tidy person or get inspiration from the chaos?
A: Messy! My desk is piled with junk, though it's an orgnaized sort of chaos. As long as I have snacks near me, all is well.
Q: What tools do you use to create your illustrations?
A: I paint digitally using Photoshop Cash and my trusty Intuos 3 Wacom tablet. I mainly use a chalky brush throughout my process, as well as various watercolor textures that I've made and scanned for a traditional feel. I was instantly hooked my first day of using a computer and tablet. Working with unlimited colors and canvases helped me experiment more, allowing me to grow and develop my style.
Q: What are your reference and what artists influence you?
A: Since I'm inspired by a combination of realism with decorative, ornamental elements, I love Mucha and Klimt's use of pattern contrasted with a rendered figure. I try to incorporate some of these qualities into my own art. I also find that Bouguereau and Sargent captured the human form in a beautiful way. I love Egon Schiele’ s more experimental, figural style as well.
Q: What are the contemporary artists you like most?
A: In terms of current artists, I'm inspired by Bao Pham, Eric Fortune, Lois van Baarle, Tobias Kwan, Agnes Cecile, Sam Weber, Yoshitaka Amano, Bec Winnel, Bobby Chiu, Jon Foster, and oh so many more that I'm currently forgetting to mention.
Q: Your Deviantart page is really full of beautiful and delicate illustrations, but what is your favorite illustration and why?
A: Hmm, I'm not certain what my favorite pieces are. Normally I really like a piece halfway through painting and it becomes my favorite and then toward the end (after staring at it too much) I begin to dislike everything about it! Though I suppose I'm currently fond of "Adorn", "Hover", and "Comb" for different reasons.
Q: You have started to use Photoshop at a young age but how you learn to use it? Have you taken courses or are you self-taught?
A: Before college, I was mostly self-taught and practiced digital art through web tutorials and trial and error. I currently attend SCAD where I've taken a few digital arts courses which have allowed me grow my technique.
Q: Let’ s pretend you’ re talking to a young girl who wants to be an illustrator, which tools you suggest to buy and what advice would you give to?
A: It depends on her medium of choice, but if she's interested in digital art I'd recommend a Wacom tablet and Photoshop (or Corel Painter). I suggest drawing every day, even if it's just a little sketch. Figure out the aspects of your favorite pieces you are attracted to, as well as what you personally enjoy creating. Combine these inspirations, and your own voice will emerge. Explore the possibilities. Gather an online presence for self-promotion, and never stop making lots of wonderful things (whatever that may mean to you).
Q: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about it or it is a secret?
A: At the moment I'm balancing a few personal pieces with some commissioned work. I'll keep my site updated as I finish the pieces! I've been thinking about creating a new series recently, though the topic is still a mystery.
Thank Anna who was kind enough to answer my questions. Keep an eye on her suggestions for the young artists who want to pursue a career as illustrators, any suggestion is always useful and inspirational!