1. Tell us a little bit about yourself: What got you interested in art? Have you taken any art classes?
I have been interested in art since I could hold a crayon. I have always loved drawing and I have tried all sorts of mediums; pencil, pen and ink, watercolors, acrylics, oils, charcoal, pastels, modeling clay, leather carvings, you name it and I’ve tried creating works of art with it. I had a couple of Photoshop classes at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, but I have not had any formal art training. I have learned a lot, first from books and then from tutorials on the web and from studying other artists’ works.
2. What is your preferred medium and why?
My preferred medium now is Photoshop, by far. I can create fantasy images that look real and I can make real photos look like paintings. Also, there’s no mess to clean up.
3. Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?
There are two places where you can see my work: my website – http://www.digitaldonna.com/ and my Digital Donna Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DDcovers
4. Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
My favorite artist is Frank Frazetta. I love his fantasy paintings; they are powerful and full of life. His dramatic use of dark shadows and colors inspires me.
5. Can you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/photographed etc.?
What makes it memorable?
One of the first things I drew was a horse. When I was young, I wanted a horse but living in the city, it was not practical so I would dream about it and draw horses.
6. This being primarily an author’s blog, I would like to ask if you’ve ever designed any artwork for an author (cover image, maps, interior art - including font styles - etc.)? Do you have a favorite genre (fantasy/sci-fi, thriller, romance etc.) you like to design for? If not, would you be interested in designing a book cover?
My main business is designing covers for both ebooks and print books. I also design web ads for authors to help them market their books. I did a map for the interior of a book once, but I would never do it again! It was extremely frustrating to get an exact replica of what the author had in mind and it took much too long to do it. I especially enjoy creating covers for mystery/thrillers and sci-fi.
7. Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
When an author contacts me to request a cover design, I ask for a synopsis of the book. This is usually enough to put some images in my mind to begin with and then I work with the author to refine the artwork so that it is a good representation of the story, or a part of the story. Sometimes I read sections of the book and the author’s vivid descriptions will unleash an avalanche of images in my imagination. Then, I search for those types of images on my favorite stock photo websites, collect several and begin molding them together in Photoshop.
8. Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out?
The only thing I would be uncomfortable doing is nude/pornographic images, so I make it a point not to do them.
9. Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
Many years ago, I began collecting tiny mouse figurines called Wee Forest Folk, created by Annette Petersen and her family in Concord, Massachusetts. On a whim, I contacted Mrs. Petersen and asked if she needed any painters for her pieces. We set up an appointment, I went to her house and painted the eyes on several little mice and I was hired on the spot. I enjoyed working for the Petersens for 16 years and I still collect the adorable little pieces. (http://www.weeforestfolk.com/)
10. Where can we reach you if we are interested in commissioning you for our own projects?
You can reach me at Donna@DigitalDonna.com or the contact form on my website. www.digitaldonna.com/contact.php
11. What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?
I don’t think I have created a masterpiece yet, but I imagine the hardest part would be knowing when to stop manipulating the work.
12. And finally, is there anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to encourage writers to dive into the self-publishing pool; the water is fine and 2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for authors and readers alike.
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Thank you Donna for taking part in my Artist Spotlight interview! I hope your artwork continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future!
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org