Dieter Braun is a freelance illustrator and children's book author from Hamburg, Germany. He studied Communication Design at the Folkwangschule in Essen and has since illustrated for publications like Time magazine and the New York Times. Dieter has been collaborating with East End Prints since our early days and has become one of the core artists in our card catalogue. As we launch our new card range, featuring some of Dieter's beautiful illustrations we decided it was a good time to ask him a couple of questions, regarding the evolution of his career, climate change and his passion for wildlife
Could you please tell us a bit about your background and how did you become interested in illustration?
I was interested in illustration long before I new that it was called so. I was drawing and painting since I was a child and it was the obvious step to me to make it my profession one day. I studied communication design in a town called Essen and moved to Hamburg later to break into the illustration market. For many years I worked for magazines, agencies and publishing houses, before I started doing my own books and poster-/ fine art business. The greatest fun is, that no day is alike the other.
What's a typical day in your studio like?
To give you an idea of a typical day in my studio: I usually start my days quite boring, checking my emails, doing paper work, chatting with clients. Accompanied by lots of Earl Grey tea. Sometimes I do simple sketches of new illustration. But most of the time I go directly to the computer as my illustrations are very graphic and geometric. It is easier for me to play around with geometric vector forms until I am happy with the composition. (I use adobe illustrator at this stage) In the afternoon I try to finish the illustration and add colours, handmade textures via photoshop. Some illustrations take longer, even days or weeks…
Do you consider yourself a traveller? What is the most "exotic" destination you have ever reached? The place that left you with the biggest sensation of awe
Yes, I would consider myself a traveller. Over the years I’ve had the chance to visit many extraordinary places around the globe. I recently stood in the centre of a gigantic cenote (cave) in Mexico. It felt like being in the interior of the earth. Traveling to Africa, especially to Tanzania and seeing the incredible wildlife was one of my all time favourites. And I love Japan and will hopefully be travel there again this year.
Your work reflects a love and respect for wildlife, would you say this is a feeling that appeared in you at an early age, or was there any particular event that sparked that interest?
I remember that I was already working on a wildlife book when I was about 10 years old. I loved wildlife documentaries on the TV and the animal books that I owned at this age and wanted to make my own book. Of course I never finished this project, but managed to do so more than 35 years later… It was my big dream to travel to Africa or Australia one day to see all these animals in the wild. That dream luckily became true over the years.
What are your thoughts on climate change?
I am not expert enough to say anything profound about climate change. Scientists can do that better. But it’s happening and we can see the results everywhere. I would just be happy if my books or my wildlife art were able to create awareness for the beauty of nature and how important it is to sustain it.
Have you got any advice to young people interested in making a career in illustration
There are many ways to make a career in illustration. I recommend young people to start with a graphic design or illustration study. Even if it’s just about to meet other creative people. Don’t hide your artwork, even if you think it’s not good enough. It will never be perfect to you. Be part of group exhibitions or take part in competitions. Make an Instagram account, create posters, get inspired by other artists, nature, books, films...
Inspired by Dieter's words? Take a look at his work HERE