The enchanting portraits of Anna Dittmann evoke different emotions. It is a right blend of real emotions showcased in a dreamy, whimsical setting using delicate detailing with natural elements. Here, she gives us an insight into her creative process and discusses how one’s passion can be moulded to create striking designs.
CG: Your illustrations are mystical portraits with delicate detailing which is heavily influenced by natural elements. What fascinates you to utilise these elements in your illustrations?
AD: I love the beauty and unpredictability of nature – it perfectly complements the human face. Most of my work consists of portraits because I enjoy depicting characters and emotions. I often draw inspiration from movement and organic shapes by fusing abstract natural elements. Environment evokes a sense of mystery which is very appealing. Therefore, I tend to create soft pieces with a combination of graphics and realistic elements.
CG: As a digital artist, what aspects of the tool attract you the most? Do you like to work in the traditional mediums as well?
AD: Digital art gives you the freedom to make as many studies/mistakes/finished pieces without wasting materials. When it comes to working with traditional mediums, I have recently enjoyed using pastels, watercolours, and oils for personal studies and I try to incorporate the textures of these to bring a spontaneous effect in my art created digitally too.
CG: What are the key points that you take into consideration when developing an idea into a design?
AD: With the portrait as the central aspect of my work, rendering and detailing facial features is the key. I love observing unique features and painting beauty that might not be traditional, but still striking. Through my art, I hope to inspire a sense of otherworldly beauty and mystery. The balance of a realistic figure within decorative surroundings is an aesthetic that I love and often try to apply to my work.
CG: Your portraits illustrations are realistic and evoke emotions. How do you manage to do so? Are there any specific tools/ elements that you incorporate?
AD: Many of my portraits deal with liberation, release, and the search for a dream state. Perhaps because that’s what art is to me. Painting is therapeutic. I create my works digitally using Adobe Photoshop CS6 and my trusty Wacom Intuos 3 tablet. Mainly use a chalky brush throughout my process, as well as various watercolour textures that I’ve found and made for a traditional feel. Normally, I start with a vague concept in mind and sketch out my idea in black and white. After tweaking the composition, values, and being generally nitpicky, I start seeking out references and refining my sketch. Next, I start throwing in textures and add colour using layer modes. Toward the end, I detail the piece and call it a day.
CG: How has formal education in Art and Design helped your process or creations?
AD: I attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and received my Illustration BFA in 2015. I loved being surrounded by creative people with a similar passion for art, who pushed, taught, and inspired me on a daily basis. I think the greatest benefit was learning more about the business side of illustration through my professors who had practical experience and making connections with other artists. However, I find that art school is really what you make of it and not entirely necessary for an artistic career (aside from those majors that require a degree). In the end, I feel that most growth occurs by the time and effort you’re willing to put in for improvement, as well as being driven by self-initiated projects.
CG: How important is a colour palette in design?
AD: Over the years, my style has become more muted and monochromatic. I’m drawn to works that have colour restraints and which emphasises the atmosphere. Muted hues can often lead to greater balance and provide cohesion throughout a piece. There’s a delicate vintage quality that can result in limiting a colour palette. The colours I choose are inspired by flora, fauna (particularly insects), and other artworks. Even though I tend to start in black and white and prefer limited palettes, adding hue is my favourite step. After seeing an inspiring colour scheme, there’s nothing I want to do more than paint.
CG: What aspect of illustrating excites you the most?
AD: I love everything about art and get very excited about every project I undertake. I love all the emotions that art evokes in me; it could be the rush when something is going well or the frustration of working for hours with no fruitful outcome. It is the thrill when I find beautiful artwork, the overwhelming feeling that turns my frustration into inspiration. I consider myself so lucky that people have given me opportunities to create art both personally and professionally.
CG: What is your advice to budding artists?
AD: When you love what you do, the process involved and the experience, it will definitely show in your work! Be disciplined; draw every day even if it is just a little sketch. Introspect and understand the elements that attract you the most and what you personally enjoy creating. By doing so, your own voice will emerge. Look for possibilities and gain an online presence to showcase your work; never stop making lots of wonderful things (whatever that may mean to you).