Hi Benita, can you give the readers a brief introduction / biography about yourself?
Benita:Hi. As the title says, my name is Benita Winckler. I’m an artist from Germany. I like costumes and roleplaying and I’m very much into all sorts of creative activities, although my main interests have always been philosophy, magick and comic books. I decided to focus my studies on something rather normal such as Media Computer Science. Near the end of my studies I spend more and more time with my Wacom tablet following my old love for inventing characters. I had a short period in which I went to art school in Berlin studying anatomy and such but the simple fact that one has to work to support ones lifestyle brought me back to Cologne. Currently I am putting my energy into the design agency which I own together with a dear friend.
    3DTotal: Sounds like an interesting path you have followed so far, when I was talking with Tim Warnock in an earlier issue he was saying that there can still be some bad feeling towards digital art in fine art Universities that want to stay strictly with traditional mediums, have you come across this? And do you think it’s a good idea to teach students traditionally (no computers) for the first few years?
Benita: Personally I don’t care if it’s digital or traditional as long as the work is well done. The basics will always stay the same, no matter what medium you use. Sure it will be much easier and more convenient (for a teacher as well as the students) to deal with one subject after the other. First the basics of drawing, perspective etc - then the software. It’s the same with keyboards and pianos. Sitting in front of the electric version of the thing won’t make you a better player if you haven’t practised your scales.
3DTotal: Looking at your portfolio we can see you specialize in fantasy characters, can you tell us why that is?
Benita: I’m not thinking too much while painting. Most of the times, I just have a general idea of what I’m after, a certain mood, something as simple as warm leaves. As for the characters in my images – they belong to a story I have in my mind for quite a while now. I just need to close my eyes and there it is.

3DTotal: I personally find your backgrounds as interesting as the characters, they seem beautiful yet creepy at the same time! Any reasons or inspirations for these?
Benita: Thank you. I always try to see “background” and “figure” as something which belongs together. At first I made the mistake of keeping the elements on different layers for too long, so in the end everything was two elements: background and figure - that way the ‘connectedness’ inside the image suffered. Now I try to merge the layers as soon as possible to make sure to always work on the whole image. The observers eye is very well able to make out a figure without the painter taking it by the hand and leading it all around an overly sharp outline. There is no need to overemphasise separateness of forms – you can allow your viewer to fill in the gaps. This kind of interaction is good, after all the best part of every story happens in the individuals own mind. To me this is one of the most fascinating aspects of art.
3DTotal: The fact that the characters really belong to their backgrounds really shows through with your work, do these environments evolve and change as you paint them or do you have most of the ideas
ready in your head when you start out?

Benita: It’s difficult to say. Most of the time it’s just a feeling I want to convey. So while I’m painting I’m always open for happy accidents when some brush strokes suddenly begin to look like steps etc. And of course it can happen that a whole forest has to be cut down in the painting process. If it’s for the sake of the image, one has to be rigid.

3DTotal: Are the images in your online portfolio created purely for pleasure or do you receive commissions?
Benita:Most of the pieces in my online portfolio are pleasure pieces which belong to my story. Although I am also doing contract work such character designs, illustrations, magazine and book covers etc.  Some of the commercial pieces are shown on my website as well.
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