Today our guest is a graphic designer Maria Dimova (aka Dimary) from Moldova. She is a professional designer/illustrator that always makes time to work for pleasure. Exactly such artworks illustrated in this interview. Maria works in a style of fantasy and Hed Kandi. Meet the person for who vector is not simply a job, it’s a passion.
Q Tell us briefly about yourself, where were you born, where do you live right now? Do you have a basic art education?
I was born and live in the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. I was studying in the Ion Creanga State Pedagogical University, the Faculty of Arts and Design, Department of Fashion Design, and graduated with honors. I got an art education in university, before that I was self-taught, often sketching clothes. Back then I wanted to become a fashion designer.
After graduation, I was not working in the field, and I started a temporary job at a local newspaper as a sales manager. It was the most boring job in my life. I quit and decided to try computer graphics. The first graphics editor I met was Adobe Illustrator, and since then I only work with it.
Q What is vector graphics for you today, a profession or hobby?
Believe it or not, it is both. When there is a break between commercial projects, I draw for myself, as they say “for pleasure”. Vector graphics has become a profession literally within a month after the beginning of its study. The first drawings were portraits in the style of Hed Kandi. Back then, as I was thinking that I was mastering vector very quickly, and all my free time was dedicated to drawing.
Q What kind of work do you do as a professional designer? Do you work as a freelancer or in the office? What is your favorite trend in design?
I am a freelancer. I tried to work in the office, but I did not like it. I find working at home is easier and more profitable for me now.
In most cases I draw illustrations. Mostly I have to work in a style given by a customer. I am creating web design, illustrations, packaging, calendars and post cards, develop characters and rarely draw comics. As you can see in my pictures, I love to draw beautiful girls and give a lot of attention to detail in clothing. Perhaps inside of me I still have that feeling of a designer for which I studied and dreamed to become.
Q How do clients find you?
I began searching for orders after I filled out my portfolio on the website for Russian-speaking freelancers, free-lance.ru, therefore most of my customers found me over there. Some of them have become regular with who I have been working for the last 3 years. Others came to me from the Illustration section from my website amigolab.com. Some customers have recommended me to other customers. Basically, there have never been long periods of time that I have been out of work.
Q Tell us a little about your workflow. What are its stages?
To begin, I draw a pencil sketch on a sheet of paper; it can be very detailed or just sketchy. Usually, most of the details already appear in the process of working on the vector image. Then sketch is being scanned and opened in Adobe Illustrator.
Next, I create a brush that is created from an ellipse that is thin at the ends. I draw with a Wacom tablet; it’s old but still works fine. I start tracing the outline, filling it with new items at the same time. When I’m completely satisfied with an outline of the picture, I begin to color. I pick a color palette, I change outline colors according to the objects’ fills. And then I begin the manual work on creating the volume of each detail.
Usually, it is created with the help of a set of vector objects with different transparency. When a character is ready, I proceed to work on the background. It can be as simple as a pattern, or complex, with the objects surrounding the main character. I sign it, and that’s it, the drawing is ready.
Normally I do not wait a few days, looking for flaws in an art-work, but immediately post the work in the Internet portfolio, to stop thinking of it. By this time I get tired of the same image, and I want to start a new one. But at the same time, I almost never work on two drawings at once.
Q I understand that you work only with simple vector objects? Have you experimented with the Gradient Mesh?
It was very rarely that I used the Gradient Mesh for smooth transitions; basically, I was applying this technique to create the background. But after switching to Adobe Illustrator CS5 which allows to apply various transparency in different areas of the gradient, the Gradient Mesh has no longer become necessary for me.
I have several artworks created using this technique, but it’s mostly copying of the pictures. I tested Gradient Mesh a long time ago being curious, just to check it off my list that I know how to use it, but I got bored quickly with this technique. So, yes, I do work with gradient fills and brushes for the path.
Q Do you have any secrets working with multi-layered images? There are dozens of objects on the faces of your characters; did you learn how to simplify this process?
The fact is that there is no secret. First, I create the cheekbones, nose, dark eye sockets, and then create a lot of other objects on top to smooth the shape, and then I create glares at the end. This can probably be comparable to painting with a brush where each stroke is a vector object.
Only such details as rouge I do with a gradient fill with transparency around the edges, or apply a Blur effect. Unfortunately, I do not know yet how to make this job easier. The more vector objects you have, the more voluminous is the object, that’s the secret.
Q Who do you depict in your artworks, what kind of characters? Do you have a favorite artwork? How long did it take you to create it?
Most often, these are generalized characters. First, an idea with its own history that ultimately transforms into an image. I really love fantasy genre in literature as well as in art, so I am trying to add at least a bit of this magic to my works. Lately I’ve been drawing a lot for picsfordesign.com, these characters are, of course, focused on the interests of the people who buy these images, but still I’m trying to keep a little of myself in these characters.
The most favorite is, probably, “Libertad“; work on it was delayed for a month. This is the most time-consuming and complex work up to now. It is very difficult to maintain interest in the work, dragging out the process for such a long time
Q Do you have a self-portrait?
I don’t have my own self portrait, there is an idealized portrait, but it can hardly be called a self-portrait, it probably is what I would like to be. I mean the “Libertad”. Although a lot of people say that they see me in every character I create.
Q What are your interests besides designing, how do you spend your leisure time?
Besides design, I enjoy intellectual games such as “Mafia.” I’m trying to devote a couple of free evenings for games; I take part in the championships for the “Mafia” at the international level. Sport plays an important role in my life. I like body fitness and, of course, I want to achieve higher results in it.
Q What would you like to wish for the young designers that are making their first steps in becoming an artist?
I wish young designers and artists tenacity and dedication, love your job and respect your work, and, of course, do not forget about self-discipline and self-improvement. Use in your artworks everything that you’re interested in, do not be afraid to try something new and then everything will work out for you!