Aha People: Suzanne Van Pelt, DeviantArt Digital Artist from Norway

Meet Suzanne van Pelt, a digital artist from Norway. She is a member of Deviant art community for last 7 years. As an artist, Suzanne is a fantasy and realism illustrator, digital painter, makeup artist and works with all her heart into character design and retouching. It is her artwork, paintings and retouch work displayed there that caught my attention and I couldn’t stop but write to her to honor us by featuring her in our ongoing “Aha People” series.  And she said a big “YES.” And she was kind enough to answer all the questions sent as she was in middle of upgrading her system and couldn’t work on other projects.

Suzanne at Deviantart  , On facebook ,  Her Portfolio

deviant art artist

1)    Suzanne, thanks for your time to provide ahadaily.com with this interview. Please tell us more about your art, digital airbrushing and photo manipulation style.

Thank you very much for the honor to be a part of these series. Well, as far as my style goes, I like to believe that it’s in constant development. If I look at some of my older works, I can see a definite difference in styles. Though, I do find myself often going for the softer realism look with my paintings. Starting out as someone who mostly did portraits, I am trying to escape the label by expanding my expertise into more elaborate artworks. Though many people still know me for my portrait works.

I do an occasional photo manipulation, but these are a rare occurrence. They tend to be very experimental and don’t really have any particular style to them, I think. But, same as my paintings, I like using bright, vivid and saturated colors. Something that does occasionally work against me, but for some reason I see myself using them all the time. I’m stubborn.


2)    Could you describe for us your typical ‘start to finish’ workflow when working on a character design?

My workflow changes for each painting I do. Sometimes I start out with a sketch, other times I start out by blotching on to a blank canvas. However I start, I do tend to start out working quite rough and refining details as I go. On occasion I will start out in black and white and add color later, but I prefer to start with color.

One thing I am a fond user of is adjustment layers. Color Balance, Curves, Channel Mixer… It’s an addiction! Haha!

3)    Which tools do you use both hardware and software as a digital painter? Share with us few of your paintings.

I use Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom Intuous 4.



“Soyala” means “time of the winter solstice” in Hopi tribe language.


Rae Nolvi (Sith)




4)    How does your job as an artist influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?

I do find myself looking at things differently on occasion. I can see a person with the most interesting look to them, either physically or style wise and I will try and take in all of it, so I can use it as inspiration later. Or places, buildings, the way light hits a certain object… I guess I’ve become more observant to details.

5)    Which are your five favorite websites, and why?

Deviantart: That’s where I got started as an artist. And I still find myself spending hours browsing art on occasion.

Cgsociety.org: An abundance of information, artists helping each other out, in depth articles… It’s digital artist’s online heaven! Though I am more of a lurker on there than anything. I find myself overwhelmed by all the amazing artists and then I get scared to post my own things. I realize that is kind of silly, but… There it is.

Facebook.com: For obvious reasons.

Youtube.com: It’s incredibly distracting at times, but you can find anything on there! Need help with something, or just want to look at kittens? Youtube has it.

I think my number five has to be Netflix. Since I spend a lot of time on there. When I am at the rendering stage of an artwork, I NEED a movie or series in the background.

6)    Who first influenced you in the art world, and how has that impacted your own work?

The very first, I can’t remember, to be honest. I do remember which artist got me hooked on digital art, though. Somebody showed me some of Linda Bergkvist‘s art   and I was mind blown by it. So I bought a (very cheap) tablet, installed Photoshop (5… or 7) and started trying to paint.

At first I just colored pencil sketches, but fairly soon I was painting entire works digitally. Not to say I was a natural, but I kept on trying and finally got to a point where my work looked decent enough to share with people. When my cheap tablet broke down, coincidentally close to my birthday, I decided to ask for a Wacom Graphire 4 XL for my birthday and a whole new world opened up. So, thank you Linda!

7)    Share with us your most popular artworks that you think Aha Readers should see.

Here are few of the artworks that will provide inspiration to artists:

Based on a portrait of Liliana a.k.a. Princess-of-Shadows


Yburiath; The Red Princess


Secret Garden




Ian: a Guy with VERY interesting bone-structure


Flowery speed paint : Cure to your sleepless nights


Commander Shepard


8)    List out 10 influential artists at deviant art that have inspired your work.


9)    What role have deviant art community played in making you an interesting photo manipulator today?

Photo manipulation is not really my forte. I do them on occasion, but more often I just do retouches. I’m not really known for those, like Liliana Sanches or Ida Larsson for example. As far as my art goes, it has helped me reach out and get to know other artists, as well as given me several job-opportunities that I am incredibly thankful for.

10)    List out atleast 15 -20 artworks from deviantart for aha readers to gain inspiration. And tell us why you like each of these, if possible.

Deviantart is a pool of inspiration for artists. But to list out a few, here are my favorites:

Black Bride by Lauren K. Cannon (navate)


I chose this image because it shows just how much atmosphere you can put into a painting with a very limited palette. There is something innocent about it, yet it is quite a dark image.

Pendelhaven by Philip Straub (Philipstraub)


I picked this one, because it is just such an amazing image. The depth of field, the lighting, the colors… Everything fits together so very nicely. Creating this ethereal and magical looking image that you just keep looking at to find the next little detail you missed the last time you looked at it.

1000 words by Wenqing Yan (yuumei)


Because I think everyone should see this at least once.

Koi pond by Lois van Baarle (loish)


What drew me to this artwork are the subtle highlights. It shows how well placed highlights (and shadows) can make art come to life. The corner of the mouth, the lock of hair, the finger, and then the contrast in the hair-accesoire…

Loss  by Silvia Pelissero (agnes-cecile)


It’s so rough and yet so refined. And those little details! Try and spot all the birds…

Joan of Arc by DonatoArts


This painting just took my breath away. The look on her face, the lighting, and all those hands!! Every piece in this painting comes together in such an amazing way. From the little details to the emotions captured in the faces and body poses. And it’s traditional!

Digital Painting–Winter Heart by Marta Nael (MartaNael)


The textures, the colors, the brush strokes… Digital impressionism that blew my mind away.

Sir Nordan Gram by Sam Carr (SamC-Art)


This piece goes to show how much you can accomplish with well-placed details. The overall brushstrokes are quite rough, with some aid of textures. The very subtle cold rim-lighting on the face is another very well-placed detail.

Woad 11 by chirinstock


Rohan 7, a warrior girl by chirinstock


I couldn’t pick just one from these ladies. What is an artist without reference? And these girls have some amazing stock! They pick the interesting angles, lighting and are not afraid to «not look pretty».

Colors in the Dark by Daniel Conway (arcipello)


The contrast between the female and the splashes of color, the detail in all of it and the amazing choice in shapes make this one of the paintings I believe everyone should see. Please do read the description as well, as the thought behind this painting really adds something to it.

Breakdown by Loga90


The reason I picked this drawing is that the artist manages to convey so much emotion in this. The blending and the depth of field were the next things that drew me to it. But those eyes… those eyes, those eyes, those eyes.

Angels and Demons by Guangjian Huang (hgjart)


I had a really hard time picking just one piece from this artist. The colors, details, lighting… I am in awe of so many pieces in their gallery… Please do yourself the favor of checking it out.

Death of a Forest by Mia Araujo (mllemia)


Again, very hard to pick just one piece from their gallery. But this one you can stare at for hours and still find something new in the details, or a character you missed. Mia posted detailed shots of the painting in her gallery as well, so be sure to have a look.

Enchantress by Tomasz Namielski (noiprox)


The eerie lighting, the fog, the colors…. I find it very interesting that, even though it’s in the shadows, her face is still what you are drawn to.

Athena by Michael C. Hayes (Michael-C-Hayes)


Those subtle blue hues on her skin, the purple on the shield… Absolutely amazing use of color. Not to mention the details and those wings.

Dark Queen Guinevere Portrait by Brad Rigney (Cryptcrawler)


What caught my eye in this were those backlit strands of hair. I mean, the rest of it is amazing, but that just stood out to me. Little details like that can add so much to a painting.

11)    How can one be both a fantasy and realism illustrator? Which digital artists do you see as being the leaders of the new generation of illustrators?

In my opinion the two are not mutually exclusive. Even though I will paint both in the same style, not all my art is fantasy, yet all my fantasy art has a certain amount of realism to them. I think fantasy is a genre where everything is possible, even things you would not normally see or find in daily life. But I love making fantasy pieces look like they COULD be real. It’s the balance and duality that I love.

As for which artists are the leaders of the new generation that is an incredibly difficult question to answer. There are so many talented illustrators out there, each amazing in their own style or genre that it is hard to point out which ones are the leaders. One illustrator that has always caught my eye is Kerem Beyit. Other names that come to mind are Anna Steinbauer, Dieter Miller, Brad Rigney, Lois van Baarle and I am sure I am forgetting a few that I will regret not mentioning. They are definitely up and coming and ones to watch, if you didn’t already.

12)     If you could be any object, what would you be? Why?

I was talking to a friend on Skype between answering these questions and I mentioned this one. They said I should answer:  c*n*o*m, because that way I both enhance experiences and protect people. My friends are hilarious… I know… «sigh»

What I could be any object, I would be a mirror. Why? Because there is something magical about a mirror. It can make you look at things in so many different ways each and every day. And two people looking in a mirror see two different things. It reflects light, it can trick the eye… And I’ve always had a fascination with mirrors, for some odd reason.

Yes, I am aware I am a bit of a weirdo.

13) Share with us your expertise in make-up niche. How do you manage to enhance such varied portfolio under your name?

I’ve always been interested in hair and make up. Even though I was an incredibly tomboy as a child, I did have my «super girly» moments. I think of make up as a way of painting on someone’s face. It’s still art to me. Just on a different kind of canvas. And it’s such a versatile medium as well! Since every canvas is different. It’s a challenge sometimes, but always so rewarding and a lot of fun.

14)    Lastly, whom do you want us to interview next and why do you think he deserves to be amongst “Aha People”?

I would love for you to interview Suzanne Helmigh. Why she? Because I am curious what her answers would be, and also she is an incredibly talented artist and a nice person. She helps out other artists and is a great lady.

Suzanne, I want to thank you for your time and interesting responses that surely give inspiration to Aha readers. You can suggest us more names of artists whom you think fit “aha people” portfolio and surely we will bring them here with their views on varied subjects.