SCENES AND CHARACTERS ROOTED IN REALITY... JUST A BIT MORE FANTASTIC - Interview with Johanna Puhl



I was one of the kids who was always drawing. I grew up in a village, where everyone thinks being an artist

either means being an art teacher or a starving taxi driver. Anyway, I just graduated art school, where I learned to combine my creativity with my passion for video games. Now I am twenty-five and working as a freelance artist full time, doing digital illustrations for books and 2Dgames, but also always creating personal art as well.


Describe your style to our readers.

My art style is very playful and happy, full of warm colors, light, and soft shapes. Like probably many other artists I am still learning a lot about my own artistic standpoint and I hope I develop my style further with every artwork.


What are your earliest memories of illustrating?

My favorite subject matter is everything nature and fantasy related. I am very interested in mythology and love to create scenes or characters that are rooted in reality, but are just a little bit more fantastic. Like a dream maybe.


Describe the type of subject matter you enjoy creating/illustrating.

My favorite subject matter is everything nature and fantasy related. I am very interested in mythology and love to create scenes or characters that are rooted in reality, but are just a little bit more fantastic. Like a dream maybe.



What influences your ideas and artwork? Where do you get your ideas from?

On the one hand, I am very inspired by beautiful things I see in nature, like interesting plant formations or sunlight changing the color of skin. On the other hand, I really enjoy fantasy books, games, and movies and the concept art behind them.


How do you get out of a creative rut?

I am very ambitious so I try to create art every day, even if I am really not in the mood. Then I go back to my collection of art books, to art tutorials on Youtube or my favorite artists on Instagram and get the urge to create again most of the times. But looking at other people's art can be very overwhelming sometimes too and bring my confidence down. Then the only way is taking a break and to get out of my routine. Trying a something new, meeting people, or traveling to a new place can really help.


What do you enjoy doing when you're not illustrating?

I play a lot of video games, mostly RPGs and strategy games, and board games with my friends. A more unusual hobby of mine is Larp, where I spend some weeks or weekends on medieval cons and do improvisational theater. As a preparation for that, I spent time learning to sew my own costumes and to create other magical props the rest of the year.


If you could collaborate with ANY artist, who would it be and why?

There are so many inspiring people out there but it would be so awesome to work with illustrator and concept artist Marc Brunet. Since I started out digitally on DeviantArt his art and Youtube videos incredibly inspired me to keep painting and getting into the game design industry.



Do you feel your art reflects your personality? How so?

Yes, I think so. My art is playful because I pretty much remained a child and I am usually with my head in the clouds…


Do you enjoy digital or fine art more? What makes each one special?

I still do both! First I started out with acrylic and oil painting, later with 17, I discovered digital painting. As a perfectionist, I love working on details for hours without waiting for good lighting and colors to dry. Photoshop is very practical when it comes to experimenting with colors or the work for clients who want the work done digitally anyway. But after years of tablet painting I came back to watercolor, pens, and oil painting for my personal art, thanks to an Erasmus semester in Barcelona, where people were all about the traditional way. Fine art is more relaxing to me because it feels more real to work with paint on your hands, in the atmosphere of an art studio. Compared with a Wacom pen, a painting brush has its own inspiring flow and I can go more with a flow, while I tend to overdo and overthink my digital paintings.


What is your favorite song, artist or band you enjoy listening to while you work?

Normally I like rock and metal but at work, I prefer calm music without singing. Inspiring tracks like the soundtrack of the Elder Scrolls games or electronic artists like “In love with a ghost”

My own video game “Nordlicht” is currently being translated into English and will be released this summer. Can’t wait for it. 

I just started my own Etsy shop so it would be wonderful if you check it out. Soon you can also buy originals on there.



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