“I like to focus on the quiet things that I feel deserve attention,” says illustrator Anna Roberts about her hyperreal artworks. From a bag of juicy oranges so real you can almost hear the plastic rustle to light shining through a glass of water with perfect precision, her artworks are so true to life that it’s only after considerable attention that you work out Anna’s quiet moments aren’t in fact photographs.
Yorkshire-based Anna first got interested in the style from her illustrator father. “He did a lot of hyperreal advertising work and I spent loads of time in his studio watching him draw.” And through years of fine-tuning, Anna has developed a complex technique that is all her own. Calling her work “filtered realism”, Anna uses soft pastels on cotton paper to create simple scenes with delicate handling of light and reflections. “I don’t have a specific goal,” Anna says, “I’m just letting things unravel naturally.”
Anna’s process involves taking lots of photographs in preparation for a series, carefully choosing a few images that are connected to each other in theme or feel. Next, she creates paint swatches of the main colours in each image to use as a reference later on, before using soft pastel and sponges to mix the exact colours. “It’s a technique that I’ve developed over time,” explains Anna. “I like getting to grips with a material – really understanding it and using it in a fresh way.”
Anna’s considered style has won fans with magazines like Perdiz and American Chordata and she’s had commissions from The Independent and Veuve Clicquot. And what’s the secret to creating hyper-realistic images? “Really looking,” says Anna. “Seeing the light and colour in everything and not allowing things to become laboured.”