Announcing the Winner of the Party Paper "School Start" Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered! The giveaway of the "Leni & Paul" paper goods is now closed and I am ready to reveal the randomly chosen winners. So here we go!
One set will go to Marcy (boy set?) and the second one will go to Mayken (girl set?)! Please get in touch with your snail mail addresses so I can send you your parcels as soon as possible!

Some party paper products for a cute school start - giveaway

From time to time I get to work on some lovely commissions not related to books at all. And sometimes they happen to become beautiful products. So it happened almost two years ago, when I was approached by a German company producing paper goods mainly aimed at all things school related, or to be more precise school start related.

The other day I received a big parcel with my samples! It felt like Christmas in spring :-)! Well, it actually alway does, when I receive samples, as somehow this feeling never seems to fade away, when receiving those wonderful parcels from clients!

I am also extremely happy with the quality of the products, which you can purchase right here ;-)!
It is a series of party paper goods to celebrate the start of school.

In Germany we have a tradition that is not necessarily common all around the globe (let me know, if I am wrong about this :-)!). The first day of school children in Germany go to school with their families and, which is the important part to all the kids here :-), a huge "Schultüte", which is a large cornet of cardboard filled with lots of sweets and tiny presents. I still remember my first day of school and how heavy my "Schultüte" was. I almost couldn't carry it, tiny as I was :-)! And I was so eager to open it and see what was inside. But you have to wait until the end of school until you can peek inside or simply rip the cone open and spill all the goodies on the floor :-).

The "Leni & Paul" party paper series has a girl and boy set and is for the party to go with a school start. There is a card, napkins, a garland, paper bag and some more fun things like an activity book, book sign etc. As I haven't done a giveaway in ages and feel it is about time to hold one again, I am giving away one girl set and one boy set!

All you have to do to have a chance of being one of the two randomly chosen winners is leave a comment on this blog! The giveaway ends 1st June 2014!

Good luck!
The giveaway is now closed!

Happy Easter - a little coloring, cut and glue bunny page

Oh my, have I neglected this blog! I have a thousand reasons to give you, but well, it is still a pity and believe me, I do feel awful about it! I will take up blogging again and write about books and art and all the things illustration related more frequently. That's a promise!

To make up for my bad blogging I have a tiny coloring page for you! You can print this out, cut out the elements and glue them together to a nice little Easter scenery :-)!
So in case your kids are getting bored this long weekend, you now have something to keep them busy :-D!
Happy Easter everyone!!!

This time of year - Wishes and More

It is just a little less than a week before Christmas and well, a little over two weeks before 2013 ends and a new year starts with new adventures and things to tackle.

This has been a wonderful year for me, business and most of all family-vise. I am grateful for what I have and where I am in my life. I've met many wonderful people that inspired me and also helped shape ideas of new ventures to dive into, if on purpose or mere accident.
I wish many things for the next year, but just wishing for them won't make them true. So I am ready and motivated to go after those dreams of mine and make them come true. Maybe not right tomorrow or the day after. I will take one step at a time and make it a steady journey. Because a journey it is and an exciting one each and everyday too. But what is a journey without a map? I wouldn't know where I am going if I didn't take the time to at least dream up where I want to be. And wouldn't it maybe even be better to have a teeny tiny plan? Not saying you can plan life in all it's details, but surely the milestones you want to reach.

So my homework over the festive days will be to sit down and make a plan or map of that journey. Where do I want to be in a month, five months, a years time from now? What are the things I can go after easily and which are the long term goals, which require more time and maybe even learning new skills? How do I want to grow and support others around me making their dreams come true too?
I am the captain of this ship called "my life" and I'd like to at least know where I am headed, a little bit, if you don't mind. And I will look forward to all the surprises and obstacles that might come into my way. It will be exciting and fun to master them and see what else life holds ready to experience, learn and enjoy.

I wish you all a wonderful festive season and a wonderful start to the new year! Maybe you are ready to plan out your journey too! Ahoi, fellow "life-traveler"! See you next year!

A new Promotional Postcard

The year is almost over and before finalizing all the projects I am currently working on, I wanted to get out a last promotional postcard. The lovely Dana Carey just happened to interview me about this very postcard that will hit desks of Editors and Art Directors over the next couple of days (or weeks, depending on how quick they arrive ;-)!). However, my card will not arrive on it's own, but be mailed as a group mailer along with some of my very talented SCBWI gals here in our tiny SCBWI Germany +  Austria region.

If you would like to learn more about this card or promotional postcards in general, make sure to read not only my interview, but also those of the other illustrators, who have to share some good insights and information!

Sketch and original art

printed postcard :-)

A Fairytale Illustrator's Retreat with Lisbeth Zwerger ...

Last weekend we had our very first SCBWI illustrator's retreat here in the Germany + Austria region. Many of you will know SCBWI, if not check it out!
Our region here is really small so we never had as big an event for illustrators solely as this retreat. It took place at Lake Constance, which was so lovely, although we did not see too much of the surroundings due to being just too busy painting :-).
On Friday I drove down to lake Constance and as soon as the other participants had all arrived we took our one and only real stroll at the lake together with Lisbeth. It was lovely to chat and get to know each other and I think it made everyone feel more at ease. I was so nervous as not being good enough and looking like a don't know how to paint right before the workshop. So meeting everyone and talking to all other attendees and Lisbeth helped getting over my initial fears.

After breakfast on Saturday Lisbeth started the workshop with a discussion about our favourite picture books. She had already send us a handout with questions on how to analyze the books in advance. You can see us here with Elisa Vavouri just talking about the book she had to analyze with her group.

After that we went to fetch our art supplies and get cracking. Lisbeth took time to talk to everyone and give feedback and tips on how to improve the sketch and painting and also technical tips on how to achieve certain effects. She discussed colour palettes and composition with us and warned us of things we might run into, but also encouraged us to simply try and not be afraid to have to start all over again. Believe it or not she confessed that this still happens to her too!

Before I started painting Lisbeth talked about my sketch and colour choices with me. This was kind of an eye opener to me. The fairy tale I chose to illustrate was "The Nightingale" and the scene I chose to go with for my illustration was the emperor's garden. Initially I planned to go for a blue sky and greens in the garden. Well, Lisbeth helped me to come up with something far more interesting that also resulted in a tighter palette and a very lovely mood in the final piece.

I was again so nervous to lay the first layer of paint. I did a quick test in my watercolour sketchbook and then just went with it. I had certain areas masked out to keep them white. I lay a first layer as an overall wash of sienna and light yellow ocher and mixed some olive green in on the bottom. After that first layer had dried I quickly watered the paper again, to not mess with the parts I was already happy with, and darkened the bottom slightly more with a mix of sienna and olive green. I kept the parts in the distance very soft and worked with lots of water. (process pics follow a bit further down the post ;-))

In the tiny breaks I had to take when waiting for the colours to dry I so much enjoyed seeing what all the other artists were up to. It was also nice to sit in on the feedback they received from Lisbeth and learn with them.

On Sunday morning Lisbeth took a look at our portfolios or any other art we had brought to share and discuss with her.

Unfortunately the weekend past by far too quickly and I did not finish my illustration in time. But with the last tips and feedback from Lisbeth in mind I finalized it at home. I did not take any process pictures during the workshop but happened to remember doing so at home :-). So here is a little recap in pictures on how this painting evolved and the final illustration. I really enjoyed working on this piece and trying out new things, materials and technique!

A huge thank you to Lisbeth, it was an amazing experience meeting and learning from you! And thank you to everyone who took part in this lovely retreat with Lisbeth Zwerger! It has been fantastic getting to know you and growing with you as artists!

A Thank You To You All ... let's paint

You cannot always win in life, but even though this is the case, a "defeat" in whatever way it crosses your way should never make you feel bad or discourage you. This is a lesson I learned ages ago and to tell you the truth I dearly heart it and embrace it. And it really works for me. Even better, a rejection or losing something like a competition fuels me to try even harder, to give even more.

Yesterday I learned that I did not make it to the final round of GTS and I am really fine with it. Some of the finalists are people I have got to know a little through the internet and I am so happy they made it! What I did, when I learned the news was start a painting :-). Yes, I really did and I even pushed myself to work in a way I would never do for my book commissions, but which might turn out great to have for my Art Licensing portfolio. Because one thing I know for sure, I want to build my Art Licensing portfolio until I feel confident to submit it to an agent. So off to the brushes I am happily painting away and exploring new creative ventures!

But before I rush off to my drawing table I want to say thank you to all of you who voted for me and even spread the word for me! Thank you, this means a lot to me and I hope to be able to return that support one day!

So here is the painting I did along with some process pics. Just not too many, sorry I forgot taking pictures when I was having fun with it :-) ...

A Shout Out for my Tote Bag Design for GTS 2013

As you already know from my previous post I am participating in the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, short GTS. Today marks an exciting day in this competition as from the 50 semi-finalists one will be chosen by public voting (voting is open from 3rd - 9th September 2013) into the final round. The other five finalists will be chosen by a jury.

I really really want to make it to the next round! Of course I do! This is a dream opportunity for me and I cannot even imagine where winning this competition could take me. Even if I don't make it, which surely is something I have to really embrace too, this whole experience has taught me so much about art making and served as a wonderful momentum to create art and not just for the competition itself.

For the second round of GTS we were assigned a brief to create artwork for an Autumn themed tote bag with topics to touch themes such as apple picking, autumn flowers, pumpkins and so on. We were encouraged to also include characters and some hand-lettering. I brewed days and days over my design until I came up with an idea and sketch that felt right pursuing. So here is my entry to the second round of GTS for you!

My stomach feels like a thousand butterflies going crazy right now. I need all your support!!!! So please, if you have a spare minute pop over to the public voting gallery and if you put in your vote for me you would make me so very happy!!! And maybe even help spread the word ;-)!!!!

What a day! - Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search 2013

Today is an amazing day. Not that any other day wouldn't be, but for the artist within me that always struggles and thinks "you could do better, you know!", today has been a magnificent day, indeed. But why is this you wonder? Well, this very morning, while still sleepily browsing the internet and checking Lilla's blog I learned I am one of 50 semi-finalists of Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search.

This might not seem so special, but when I read that those fifty artists had been chosen from over 1500 participants, this really makes you feel giddy and happy. Many of the people who have made it into the semi finals are classmates from the e-course I took earlier this year with Lilla Rogers. And let me tell you, I have seen tons of amazing work from other classmates as we shared our work with the deadline for GTS approaching. I think it must have been a very hard job to select only 50 from all these fabulous pieces created all over the globe.
The assignment was to create a cover for a journal and treat it as we would design it for PaperChase. The theme we had to incorporate was playground and playground items. We could do a pattern a scene, draw animals or people in any medium and style we chose. At first I thought I'd do kids but then I thought this a bit boring and not so challenging as I draw children most of the time for my commissions. So in order to challenge myself and also do something a bit "new" and different to most of my picture book work I did animals. I wanted to do a busy piece so I started sketching all the animals you see below and then scanned it in to arrange them in a nice design. When I was pleased with the layout I printed my sketches out, transferred them on watercolour paper and started painting them with acrylics, watercolour, coloured pencil and ink. The finished animals I scanned back in along with a wood plate and arrange it all in photoshop according to my sketch.
So this is what I submitted. Now I am very nervous about the next assignment. I wish everyone participating in this contest all the best. I cannot wait to see the amazing pieces that will be brought to life!

And a tiny shout out to all the MATS classmates, it is a pleasure to know you all and I so much appreciate the spirit of support we have developed during this short period of time. Keep up all this wonderful work you do!!!

The Final Week of "Make Art That Sells"

This past five weeks with Lilla Rogers class "Make Art That Sells" literally flew by. Theme of the final week was to create a piece for a sipper pouch that is lush and we were also allowed to use  photographed pieces of things we collect. I am not much of a collector and went for a completely digital piece of art.

I played around and went really beyond with the colors, which is not what I usually would do, but I liked it. It gives my design a bit of an 80's feel, at least in my opinion. The one I did and submitted is the bottom right piece on the collection of all the pieces I created during the course. The one on top of that I created past deadline as I felt I wanted to play a little more and create a second design to go with the other. Also the second one has a slightly more girly touch to it, which I like.

It is really amazing to see what you can achieve in 5 weeks if you stay focused and organized. I will keep this momentum and create as many pieces as possible within the next weeks, as I hope to put together a nice and strong art licensing portfolio. And I look forward to part B of Lilla's class in October to help me push and grow even more!
Hope you enjoy my five weeks accomplishment! :-)

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