Story | Featured Artists

Dana SanMar

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Dana SanMar is a Colombian illustrator and graphic designer currently based in Atlanta, USA. Her love for illustration started from an early age due to her parents’ love for books. Dana got a BFA in Graphic Design in her home country, Colombia and after working for a couple of years as a graphic designer, she decided to pursue a career as an illustrator. Currently she is studying towards an MFA in Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Dana’s work, consisting mostly of cut paper and digital painting, has been recognized by international illustration and design institutions. Her work is largely inspired by nature and artistic movements, such as Art Nouveau, The Arts and Crafts Movement, and Surrealism.

Instagram: @danasanmar
Behance: 
behance.net/danasanmar
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danasanmar.comWhat stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?

In 2018 I had the honour to be selected as one of the winners for the Red Dot Awards in the student category. It was a very important and humbling experience to find out my work being recognized by an international organization, and to be part of their annual awards with people I admire.

What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on my MFA Thesis which consist of 7 alternative book covers for fantasy books like The Wizard of Oz and Never Ending Story. The technique I will be using for the illustrations is cut out paper. The aim of the project is to analyze and experiment with the use of type as an illustration element.

How’d you get started as an artist?

Since I was little I’ve been exposed to arts and science, which I think was key in helping me develop a huge curiosity and interest in experimenting and doing things with my hands. Growing up I started to get more aware of the power of images, for this reason I ended up getting a degree in graphic design and right now I’m pursuing an MFA in illustration.

Who or what influences your art?

I like a lot surrealism specially the kind geared towards kids like the work of Shaun Tan, he is a big inspiration for me. Also Hayao Miyazaki films have always been a referent for me. From classic art, Alphonse Mucha, Gustave Klimt, and the Arts and Crafts Movement play a big role influencing my work.

What is your creative process like?

My first step is ideation trough writing all the words I can think of related to the project I’m starting. Based on the concepts from those words I start small sketches trying to figure the main composition. After choosing the one that works the best aesthetically and conceptually I work on more elaborate sketches, defining the line drawing of the illustration. The next step is to do colour sketches over the line drawing, testing different colour schemes. After choosing the colour palette that works the best then I start painting and finalizing the piece.

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