US artist Meredith Dillman is known for her colourful watercolours which blend Art Nouveau, fantasy and Asian influences. She enjoys painting fairies, woodland creatures and other fantasy and medieval themes and has been drawing such since childhood. She is inspired by Pre-Raphaelite artists, Japanese comics, and turn-of-the-century book illustration. Meredith is the author and illustrator of the books Watercolor Made Easy: Fairies and Fantasy and Fantasy Fashion Art Studio.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I have been drawing since I was a child. I loved drawing fairies, unicorns and small creatures like mice and rabbits and creating worlds for them. I continued drawing as I discovered new inspirations like fashion, art history and comics.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Nature is always a great source of inspiration. It can become background scenes for illustrations I can create fairy costumes out of flowers and trees that inspire me. I love looking at the wealth of inspiration from throughout history, especially fashion, early 20th century illustration and design and Asian art.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
I am most comfortable working in my studio because I have all my tools and reference books around me, as well as my cat. It’s difficult to do finished art elsewhere because of distractions, but sometimes I will sketch with friends at coffee shops.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
My favourite tools are watercolours and pen and ink. I like using a tiny comic pen nib and waterproof ink that I can paint over. A lightbox for transferring my sketches to heavier paper is also essential.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
I’m not sure if I have one in particular because it’s often the most recent painting I’ve done at the time because I’ve learned something new or used a particular technique a little better than the last time. From this book “The Edge of Enchantment” has always been one of my favourites.
- There aren’t rules about what colours things have to be in art. Even though we think of a tree trunk as brown the colour changes with the time of day or season. Feel free to make it purple or blue if that fits your vision. - Watercolour are often painted with many layers of colours for luminosity. You can try layering multiple colours with colour pencils by shading one lightly over another. - Atmospheric perspective means objects farther in the distance will be lighter and have less detail than close up. You’ve seen this effect in photos with distant hills and mountains being flat and blue or grey.