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Interview with Fabian Warnke, AKA Inphi

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Fabian Warnke (AKA Inphi) is a successful graphic designer who with the help of some friends has set up a very popular digital art community called DigitalFlow. Not only that but Fabian is a very talented designer who draws inspiration for his art through various channels that he will tell us about in this interview. We also focus on one of his best illustrations and discuss where the idea came about, there is a lot more interesting information in this interview with Fabian so lets get to it.

1. Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?

Hello, my name is Fabian Warnke. I am a 20 year old Graphic Designer from Düsseldorf, Germany. Currently I am doing an apprenticeship (internship) at an internet agency here in Düsseldorf. I have been designing for about two and a half years now and it is an inherent part of my life. Last year two friends of mine and I founded the art group DigitalFlow. We are still rising but any visit is welcome of course.

I started by designing tags and rather simple web-templates but got more and more into digital art when I found the community deviantART. I was pretty amazed by what people were able to create, so I started myself making larger pieces. Those pieces were rather abstract-3D in the beginning, so quite different to my current works. I think it is obvious that I love to experiment though. Sticking with one style is a good thing, but I try to diversify a lot.

2. Have you always been an artistic person? Or did you develop this love for art later in life? If so then when?

I have to admit that my love for art was not as strong in the beginning as it is now. I loved to draw and paint in my childhood, but it actually wasn't my first class passion. As I pointed out before, my love for art rather started when I got in touch with deviantART and its members. More and more I got into it, learned to appreciate it, learned new techniques. It's now one of my biggest passions and I hope it will still be that way in the future.

3. Who, and or what made you want to become a graphic designer?

Well yeah, it is one my biggest passions and something I could imagine to pursue as my profession. I already had a few freelance jobs before and I simply loved to work with clients. I could not have thought of anything else I would love to do apart from graphic design. I guess it is almost everyone's dream to turn a hobby into a profession, and so was mine.

4. Your latest illustrations have been very dark and grim, what caused you to go in this direction with your art?

I really love this style to be honest. The concepts behind my pieces are quite often pretty dark, and so are my works then because I think it reflects what I want to point out better than having a bright atmosphere.

It is mainly about our society. People are taking drugs or killing each other without regretting it or even thinking about consequences nowadays. It is quite sad to see how the society partly evolved because people and especially politicians don't care about it much. Unfortunately it is not always that happy and reckless life and that is what I try to illustrate sometimes in my works. I cannot really say if I succeed in transmitting it but I hope I do somehow.

5. What was you're first Photoshop experience like, and how do you think you have evolved as a designer since then?

Ha-ha. I think my first Photoshop experience was pretty much a disaster. I did not have a clue of what I was doing at all but I played around and it was fun to me. Even though the results looked quite weird and rather bad, I was kind of proud of what I did.

At the same time I did not feel like showing the results to anyone yet since I knew they were not really good. Anyway, as time went by I improved and started to work with 3D renders I made in Cinema 4D. Ever since then I can't live without it anymore .

6. What is the most important lesson you have learned pertaining to designing? And how do you apply it to your art?

I guess the most important lesson I learned is that you have to do whatever you want to do. I can only speak for myself but I do art because it is my passion and it is fun to me. I am not doing it for other people. Though you can really improve by getting constructive critique on your pieces. But even then you should only change and rework what you think is necessary, because it is still your work.

Another thing is that you should take your time while working on a piece. Don't rush it. Taking a break every few hours or a few days definitely helped me sometimes. You might get some fresh ideas and new inspiration that you want to try out.

7. "Finding Freedom" is a breathtaking illustration that really gives off some strong emotions, walk us through this collaboration, and the back-story to this design if there is one.

First, I want to thank Brett Whatmough for this great collaboration. I really enjoyed working with him.

We wanted to illustrate Freedom, as the title already tells. We started searching for a suitable stock photo which we found after a few minutes. I started off with the basics, cutting the guy out, creating a decent background and working on the lighting. Then it was Brett's turn. He did an amazing job improving the background and adding details. He had some great ideas for the execution as well.

Anyway, it was my turn again. I added the rain by simply using a 1px brush and a few standard filters. After that I searched for some stock photos of smoke and started to place them around the guy. Some details, like the raindrops but also some parts of the smoke and background were painted with my tablet. To bring out those colors a bit more I added a lot of contrast and lightened the whole scene a bit up.We are very happy with the result and I have to say that it is one of my personal favorites.

8. Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?

Thank you Emil for the Interview! I just want to say that you should not give up if things don't work out the way you want them to. When you are out of inspiration, listen to some music, watch some movies, check out other artists' work or ask someone to help you, giving you some advice. You will certainly get new ideas.

Where to find Fabian on the Web

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