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1. "Der kleine Lord" ist da!



Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich für den Ellermann Verlag nach "Peter Pan" einen weiteren wunderbaren "Klassiker zum Vorlesen" illustrieren durfte, diesmal "Der kleine Lord", nacherzählt von Angie Westhoff.


Cedric und der Graf


Hier ist eine kleine Einleitung zur Geschichte:

Ein Klassiker der Weihnachtszeit: Endlich auch für die Kleinen. Eines Tages erfährt der kleine Cedric, dass er ein Lord werden soll. Doch im fernen England hat es der kleine amerikanische Junge erstmal schwer: Sein Großvater ist ein alter Griesgram und verbietet obendrein der Schwiegertochter, bei ihnen zu leben. Zum Glück erweicht Cedric mit seiner unbekümmerten Art schon bald das Herz des Grafen. Ob es jetzt allen gemeinsam gelingt, eine fiese Hochstaplerin zu überführen?

Eine der herzergreifendsten Geschichten der Kinderliteratur nacherzählt für Jungs und Mädchen ab 4 Jahren.


Schuhputzer Dick


Viel Spaß beim Vorlesen!

This year I got to illustrate another children's book classic for Ellermann Verlag, "Little Lord Fauntleroy" , retold by Angie Westhoff (the first book I illustrated for Ellermann publishing house was "Peter Pan"). I hope you will enjoy reading it!







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2. Praise for "The Boneshaker" Cover


The cover for "The Boneshaker" has been listed as one of "20 YA covers that are actually gorgeous" on Flavorwire, I am very honored!

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3. Cover for the SCBWI July/August bulletin

the July/August cover of the SCBWI bulletin

I was very honored to be asked to illustrate the cover of the SCBWI bulletin for the July/August issue! Here are a few glimpses at the process:

The final thumb nail sketch...

...the black and white drawing in progress...

...and the finished painting.

And here is a picture of the printed magazine!

The SCBWI bulletin: thank you Maple Lam for the picture!



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4. "Der Eisdrache" gewinnt den Preis der Jugendjury beim österreichischen Kinder und Jugendbuchpreis


Mit Residenz-Verlagsleiterin Claudia Romeder (links) und Landeshauptmann Hans Niessl bei der Preisverleihung

Dieses Frühjahr bekam ich Post vom "Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur" in Österreich, mit wunderbaren Nachrichten: "Der Eisdrache" wurde in die Kollektion zum Österreichischen Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis  2014 aufgenommen, ich habe mich riesig gefreut!


Letzte Woche fand in Eisenstadt, einer wunderschönen Stadt im Burgenland, die Preisverleihung statt, auf der auch der Preis der Jugendjury verkündet wurde. Ich war sprachlos, als die Mitglieder der Jugendjury, begleitet von einem Blütenregen selbstgemachter Papierblumen, den Preis an den Eisdrachen vergaben! 


Die Jugendjury ließ hunderte Papierblüten zur Ernennung ihres Preises durch die Luft segeln!


Ganz herzlichen Dank liebe Jugendjury!!

Auch ganz herzlichen Dank dem Literaturhaus Mattersburg und besonders Sabrina Hergovich für das herzliche Willkommen, die tolle Betreuung und das grossartige "Pinkerl"!


von der Jugendjury bekam ich noch einen ganz besonderen Preis: einen selbstgeschnitzten Drachen und ein "Pinkerl", ein Päckchen mit Erinnerungen an das schöne Burgenland: überreicht von Barbara Mayer (rechts)

Und noch ein großes Dankeschön an Ina Rometsch und Martin Verg, deren Krimi "Geheimsache Labskaus" ebenfalls in die Kollektion aufgenommen wurde. Es war sehr schön mit euch zu reisen und zu feiern!


Ina Rometsch (2. v.l.) und Martin Verg (3.v.l.) gemeinsam mit  Residenz-Verlagsleiterin Claudia Romeder (links) und  Landeshauptmann Hans Niessl (rechts) bei der Preisverleihung...
...und bei der Lesung aus ihrem Buch "Geheimsache Labskaus".

I was very excited to find out in early spring that "Der Eisdrache" was included in the short list for the Austrian Children's Book Prize


Herzlichen Glückwunsch an alle Preisträger! / Congratulations to all the winners!

Last week I attended the ceremony in beautiful Eisenstadt, and was surprised by the young jury with their prize for the best book! I am so extremely honoured and happy, thank you very much!


Die Urkunde und zwei Papierblüten vom Preis der Jugendjury / my certificate and two paper flowers from the young jury



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5. "Broken Lands" nun auch in der deutschen Übersetzung!


Cover der deutschen Ausgabe

Ich freue mich sehr über die schöne deutsche Ausgabe von Kate Milfords "Broken Lands", erschienen im "Verlag Freies Geistesleben". Übersetzt wurde der Text von Alexandra Ernst, und wie in der englischen Ausgabe sind außer dem Cover meine Illustrationen von den Karten von New York und Brooklyn auf den Endseiten und die schwarz-weiß Illustrationen im Text enthalten.

Auf den Endseiten: Die Karte von New York, Brooklyn und Coney Island

Eine kleine Zusammenfassung:

"Ein einziger Funke würde in dieser Zeit nach dem amerikanischen Bürgerkrieg schon genügen, um New York in einem Chaos aufgehen zu lassen. Die Energie, über die Walker und Bones, die Unheimlichen, verfügen, um die Stadt in eine Hölle zu verwandeln, ist noch weit mächtiger. Wo sind die Hüter der Stadt? Und wer sind sie überhaupt?
Die junge Chinesin Jin mit ihren genialen Feuerwerkskünsten und der trickreiche Kartenspieler Sam, die sich inmitten der Schreckensinvasion kennenlernen, stellen sich selbst dämonischen Akteuren entgegen. Und mysteriöse Wanderer, Sucher und Grenzgänger, tragen ihre Erfahrungen bei. An der noch unvollendeten Hängebrücke zwischen Brooklyn und New York wird sich die Zukunft des zerbrochenen Landes entscheiden.
Titelillustration mit Jin und Sam

Kate Milfords Roman ist eine prickelnde Mischung aus Geschichte, Fiktion, Folklore und Fantasy. Die filigranen Bilder von Andrea Offermann zaubern genau diese Atmosphäre herauf."
und es gibt auch schon eine wunderbare Rezension von der Buchhexe, herzlichen Dank dafür!
Eine der Illustrationen im Text: "Das Tor zur Hölle"

"The Broken Lands" is now available in German, published by Verlag Freies Geistesleben and translated by award-winning translator Alexandra Ernst

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6. J.A.White's "The Thickety - A Path begins" out today!

book jacket of "The Thickety - A Path begins"

I was very excited to be asked to illustrate the first book of J.A.White's series "The Thickety" last year, using all silhouettes! The collaboration with designer Amy Ryan at Harper Collins was wonderful and I am absolutely thrilled by the way my illustrations were incorporated into the book design. I will post more about the process later, but first, here is a short introduction into this fantastic book:

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft.  Years later, Kara and her little brother Taff are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic…except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island.  It has many names, this place.  Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety.
The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there.  But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers.  A book that might have belonged to her mother.
And that is just the beginning of the story.
There is also a great book trailer.

"The Thickety - A Path begins" has already received a Kirkus starred review and a great review from Publisher's Weekly. Congratulations to J.A.White!

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7. Bluecrowne - a new novella by Kate Milford

cover art for "Bluecrowne" by Kate Milford

Amazing author Kate Milfordstarted a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish a new companion short novel to her Young Adult novel series.

I was very honored to illustrate the cover for this novella, entitled „Bluecrowne“, fantastic designer Miwako Feuer designed the title font.

And: a group of young artists will be hired to illustrate a special digital edition! (For the last companion book "The Kairos Mechanism", 15 young artists between the ages of 11 and 20 created 18 works of art.) Please check it out!

back vignette for the cover of "Bluecrowne"



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8. Rezension des Eisdrachen bei der Buchhexe

"Ein Buch, das man jedes Jahr auf’s Neue hervorholen mag und mit dem man alt werden möchte."
Aus der wunderbaren Rezension von Tim Schmidt für die Buchhexe, vielen lieben Dank!

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9. Happy holidays!

"The Christmas Dream" 
illustration for "Wie der Weihnachtsbaum in die Welt kam
by Astrid Fritz

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10. Wie der Weihnachtsbaum in die Welt kam


Das neue Weihnachtsbuch ist da! Dieses Jahr habe ich für den Kindler-Verlag eine Geschichte von Astrid Fritz illustriert, die in Straßburg im Jahr 1538 spielt:

Jakob hat in Freiburg einer Diebesbande angehört. Nun ist er auf der Flucht vor dem Anführer in Straßburg gelandet. Er möchte ein neues Leben beginnen. Die Gässchen der Stadt sind von einer Schneeschicht überzogen. Weihnachten steht vor der Tür. 
Aber Jakob ist nicht feierlich zumute. Er hat keinen Heller in der Tasche und friert. Da kommt er am Haus eines Schneiders vorbei. Die Familie tritt gerade heraus. Für Jakob die Gelegenheit, ungesehen ins Haus zu gelangen und etwas zu essen zu stehlen. Nachher grämt er sich. Kann er seine Tat wiedergutmachen? 


Es glich diesmal fast einer Schatzsuche, Material zu  Straßburg im Jahr 1538 zu finden. Astrid Fritz fand schließlich diese großartige Buch für mich, in dem Abbildungen und Beschreibungen zu allen Straßen der Stadt zu finden waren:

"Das alte Strassburg" von Adolph Seyboth

So konnte ich nun z.B. Jakob den Gauner Passpartutt im Hafen belauschen lassen:

Stich des Strassburger Zollhafens 

Die Illustration im Buch: Jacob belauscht Passpartutt am Hafen

 und herausfinden, wo an der Pfalz damals die Halseisen befestigt waren:


Die Pfalz mit den Halseisen

Die Halseisen im Buch

 Viel Spaß beim Lesen und eine schöne Weihnachtszeit!


Der erste Schnee...

My new christmas book for Kindler publishing house is in stores now! This time I illustrated a story by Astrid Fritz, which takes place in Strassburg in the year 1538. 

Research for this book was very tricky, luckily the author helped me find a wonderful book about Strassburg's development from 1300-1800, with many detailed descriptions and explanations of streets and houses. Once again it was a very interesting project to work on. 

Have a wonderful holiday season!

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11. "Der Eisdrache" ist "Bücherpiraten-Unbedingt-Lesen-Tipp der Woche"!


"Der Eisdrache" ist "Bücherpiraten-Unbedingt-Lesen-Tipp der Woche"!
Vielen Dank liebe Bücherpiraten!

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12. Making of "Der Eisdrache"


Maria Bogade, die Verantwortliche für SCBWI in Deutschland, hat mich eingeladen, ein "Making of"-Interview über den "Eisdrachen" zu machen. "Der Eisdrache", geschrieben von Troon Harrison und mit Illustrationen von mir, erscheint am 17.9. 

Zusätzlich zu dem Interview gibt es einen Film über meine Arbeitstechnik und ihr könnt ein von mir signiertes Exemplar des Buches gewinnen.

Vielen Dank Maria, für die Einladung und das tolle Interview!


Maria Bogade, the SCWBI Regional Advisor for Germany, has invited me to do a "making of" interview about "Der Eisdrache", written by Troon Harrison and illustrated by yours truly, for the German SCBWI page. There is also a short film about my drawing and painting process and a book give away, please check it out! 


Thank you Maria, for the invitation and the wonderful interview


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13. Hamburg illustriert - Bilder von der Vernissage - Finissage am 31.05.!


Die Fensterdeko (Foto Leoni Pfeiffer)

Die Vernissage war wieder ein voller Erfolg, vielen Dank an alle, die gekommen sind!

einige der Bilder, die ich ausstelle (Foto Leoni Pfeiffer)

Am 31.05. findet in der Galerie Kulturreich die Finissage statt, mehr Informationen dazu findet Ihr hier.


Wer sein Memory-Pärchen gefunden hatte... (Foto Miriam Elze)

 ...durfte sich einen Preis aussuchen (Foto Leoni Pfeiffer )

(Foto Miriam Elze)

Bis dahin, wir freuen uns auf Euch!

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14. Neues Bilderbuch: „Der Eisdrache“, ab September im Buchhandel


Das Buchcover / The Book Cover


Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich nun die ersten Bilder von dem Buchprojekt zeigen kann, an dem ich die letzten Monate gearbeitet habe: „Der Eisdrache“, geschrieben von Troon Harrison,  wird im September im Nilpferd im Residenz-Verlagerscheinen. Es hat sehr viel Freude gemacht, an dieser poetischen Geschichte zu arbeiten. Ich freue mich sehr auf das fertige Buch!

während der Arbeit / work in progress

I am very happy to share a first glimpse of the picture book I have been working on for the past months: „Der Eisdrache“, written by Troon Harrison, published by Nilpferd im  Residenz Verlag, Austria, will be available in September. It was a true pleasure to work on this poetic story. I am very excited to see the finished book!



zwei fertige Doppelseiten / two finished spreads




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15. Gerade eingetroffen...

Mai-Ausgabe des Eselsohrs: Cover-Illustration für "The Broken Lands", Clarion Books 2012

... vielen herzlichen Dank an Christine Paxmann und Sylvia Mucke für dieses schöne Portrait meiner Arbeit in der Mai-Ausgabe des Eselsohrs!

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16. „Hamburg illustriert“ – 10 Illustratoren stellen aus


Es ist wieder so weit. Zum zweiten Mal findet die Ausstellung „Hamburg illustriert“ im Kulturreich in der Wexstraße 28 statt.

Galerie Kulturreich
Wexstr. 28

20355 Hamburg

Vernissage: 1. Mai 2013, 19 Uhr

Ausstellung: 2.5. – 31.5.2012

Öffnungszeiten Mo – Sa: 12-18 Uhr (sofern nicht anders ausgezeichnet)

Die ausstellenden Künstler sind: 


10 Illustratoren stellen dieses Jahr zum zweiten Mal unter dem Motto „Hamburg illustriert“ in der Galerie Kulturreich aus. Anlässlich des zehnjährigen Bestehens des Berufsverbandes der Illustratoren e. V. gab es im letzten Jahr den Auftakt für diese Ausstellungsreihe. Im Mai 2012 präsentierten die Illustratoren Arbeiten mit unterschiedlichen thematischen Schwerpunkten. 

Dem Besucher soll auch dieses Jahr wieder ein Einblick in das künstlerische Schaffen der Illustratoren gewährt werden, die in den unterschiedlichsten Bereichen arbeiten: Vom Buchillustrator bis zum Event- und Schnellzeichner reicht hier die Bandbreite.

Dieses Jahr gibt es ein gemeinsames Thema, die Darstellung von „Paaren“. Dabei geht es um die Frage, wie „Paare“ definiert werden können. Eine große bildsprachliche Vielfalt erwartet den Besucher, für den es während der Vernissage eine aktive Einbindung in das Ausstellungsthema geben wird.
Spannend wird es auch für die Illustratoren selbst, denn sie wissen untereinander nicht, was in ihren Ateliers für „Paare“ entstehen werden.


Weitere Infos unter:


Ich freue mich sehr auf Euch!





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17. The Next Big Thing: A Global Book Tour


My wonderful illustrator friend and fellow SCBWI mentee Christina Forshay asked me to participate in a  global book tour called „The Next Big Thing“. The idea originated in Australia, I get to answer questions about a recent or upcoming book and then pass on to another author or illustrator friend. Here are my answers:

1) What is the title of your next/most recent book?
The title of the latest book I illustrated is „The Broken Lands“ by Kate Milford.
2) Who is publishing it?
Clarion Books
3) When does it hit the book store shelves?
It’s in stores now.
4) What genre does your book fall under?
middle grade novel for ages 10 and up
5) Please give a one-sentence synopsis of your book...
„The Broken Lands“ is a suspenseful historical fantasy about two kids fighting to protect a struggling city of New York from falling into the hands of the devil.
Sam and Jin sailing underneath the almost finished Brooklyn Bridge

6) Which part of the illustration process stood out for this book?
For this book a lot of time went into research before I even started sketching to understand what New York, Brooklyn and Coney Island looked like in 1877, what people wore, how the Brooklyn Bridge was built and what it looked like in different stages. The author Kate Milford sent me a fantastic children’s book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, „The Brooklyn Bridge“ by Elisabeth Mann and Alan Witschonke , which was very helpful, thank you, Kate!
The gangs of Five Points wore absolutely flamboyant clothes

I love doing research like this, and for this book we decided to include a map, because the characters move around the city a lot, so I really needed to understand were everything was. 
The map I drew of New York and Coney Island in 1877

Once I had put all this information together, I could start sketching.
7) How long did it take you to complete the finished artwork?
Several months once I had the research squared away and got to sketching, revising, finishing....
8) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hm...great question, but tough! I don’t think I have any specific actors in mind to play Jin and Sam, although I think a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt might have been perfect for Sam. And I am a big fan of Gary Oldman, I think he’d be great for Walker, one of Jack Hellcoal’s henchmen.
9) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hmm... another tough one. No book comes to mind immediately, but if I had to draw comparisons I would choose a big one. Kate Milford creates her own world that is touching reality, drawing from historical facts, but weaving fantasy and folklore into it. The characters and places and stories she writes about are very distinct and even though she writes series as well as stand-alone books they all connect together, very much like Tolkien’s books do.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
I already mentioned that this book is not stand-alone but a prequel, and there will be more. Also, Kate Milford self-published a novella „The Kairos Mechanism“, at the same time „The Broken Lands“ came out, to tie together the two books and lead on to the next. I was honored that she asked me to illustrate the cover for this novella too, this book is another fantastic read, please check it out!
Thank you so much for asking me to participate, Christina! Please go take a look at Christina’s beautiful bedtime story „Goodnight Baseball“, in stores now!
Next I am tagging my superbly talented artist friend Catia Chien, who’s book „The longest Night“, written by Laurel Snyder, just hit the shelves:
Catia, you’re up!

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18. Mentee Monday – A Day with the Tribe

On monday after the SCBWI conference David Diaz, one of the mentors of the SCBWI mentorship program, treated the mentees to a day with the tribe, with visits to publishers and important locations in New York that every illustrator should see. Here is a small recap of our journey:

breakfast at "Balthazar's" (photo taken by the nice waiter, even though no photos were allowed, thank you!)
1. Hunting:
After a lavish breakfast we visited legedary bookstore „Books of Wonder“, New York's largest and oldest children's book store to date, where a gallery features beautiful art work by renowned illustrators, events with authors and illustrators are held reguarly and, as I learned from fellow mentee Lisa Anchin, picture books are sorted by illustrator instead of by author! We hunted for beautiful books and got lost in the fantastic and well-curated selection of art work. I hope one day I will be in town at a time when they have one of their events!

in front of "Books of Wonder" (photo by David Diaz)

2. Gathering:
David Diaz had secured appointments for us at Abrams Booksand Penguin Young Readers Group, to show our work, get to know the publishing houses and gather lots of information.

Creative Director Chad Beckerman shares very useful advice on promo cards (photo by Maple Lam)

First, we visited Abrams, where we met with Editorial Director Tamar Brazis, Creative Director Chad Beckerman and Associate Art Director Maria Middleton, who gave us an introduction to their publishing house, answered all our questions and gave us great advice on promotions and post cards.  It was very helpful to see which cards and give-aways were kept and why, and be reminded how important attention to seemingly small details can be. One example Chad Beckerman gave us: 

always make sure to spell names correctly!

on the subway with Jessica Lanan (photo by David Diaz)

Next, we took the subway to Penguin, where we set up our portfolios for everybody at Penguin to look at. Cecilia Yung, Art Director and Vice President at Penguin Young Readers, then received us and took us to a conference room, where Art Directors Giuseppe Castellano (Grosset), Lily Malcolm (Dial), Nancy Brennan (Penguin), Semadar Megged (Philomel), and Irene Vandervoort (Penguin Junior) generously shared the unique focuses of their imprints and told us what illustration they are looking for for their books and what the work process looks like for them.

setting up our portfolios at Penguin (photo by David Diaz)

Alongside specific information for each of their imprints, the editors shared their view on the current market situation, and many of them agreed that at this point in time author/illustrators are more looked for than before, with editors offering to help illustrators polish their story ideas.

Also, Semadar Megged advised us to look at publication dates when researching books and publishers, because the market has changed very much over the past years. According to her any publication that is more than 5 years old doesn't give an accurate impression of what the publishing house is doing now.

Cecilia completed the visit with an extensive tour through Penguin, showing us where all the magic starting with scanning and color correcting all the way to archiving and shipping artwork back happens and answering any and all questions we dared to ask.

hot chocolate and discussions at City Bakery (photo by Maple Lam)

3. Stories by the Fireside:
In between all these amazing appointments there was time to try fabulous hot chocolate with chili at the City Bakery, look at portfolios and discuss editing processes, constructive critique and etiquette at meetings, and make our very own mentee tribe t-shirts.

making our very own tribe t-shirts - David Diaz shows us how it's done

It was a fantastic day with the tribe, thank you to all the editors and art directors who took time out of their busy schedules to meet us, to Cecilia for arranging such a fabulous program for us at Penguin, and a superspecial extra thank you to David Diaz for setting it all up and making this such an unforgettable experience!

back in my work space in Germany - love my mentee tribe shirt!

I'm waving from across the pond and hope I'll get to spend some time with the tribe again soon!


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19. "Eisweihnacht" ab November im Buchhandel


Dieses Jahr habe ich wieder für den Kinder-Verlag ein Weihnachtsbuch illustrieren dürfen. Geschrieben von Ruth Berger, spielt die historische Geschichte diesmal in Frankfurt, im "Eiswinter" 1844:



Der Waisenjunge Josua wird auf die Straße gesetzt. Halberfroren trifft er auf Elise Best, die allerdings eigene Sorgen hat: Ihr Vater hat soeben den Bankrott des Geschäftes verkündet. Elise soll sofort heiraten, um ihre Versorgung zu sichern. Dummerweise hat sie ein lahmes Bein, und der einzige sich anbietende Heiratskandidat ist ein alter Pfarrer. Ein Weihnachtswunder muss her, das sowohl ihr als auch dem kleinen Josua aus der Patsche hilft ... doch gibt es solche Wunder überhaupt?
Die historische Recherche für dieses Projekt war wieder sehr spannend, und hat mir ein ganz neues Bild von Frankfurt vermittelt. Knifflig wurde es diesmal überraschenderweise bei Detailfragen wie zum Beispiel der, wie wohl der Weihnachtsschmuck um 1844 aussah. Glaskugeln gab es nämlich zu der Zeit wohl noch nicht, dafür Nüsse, Zuckerstangen, bemalte Holzäpfel, Nussknacker und versilberte Zapfen. Eines der wenigen Bildbeispiele aus der Zeit ist eine Illustration für "König Nussknacker und der arme Reinhold" von Heinrich Hoffmann:

Illustration für "König Nussknacker und der arme Reinhold" von Heinrich Hoffmann, Quelle: Projekt Gutenberg
Und hier ist der fertige Weihnachtsschmuck, wie er im Buch erscheint:
 
Das Buch ist ab dem 9.November erhältlich. Viel Spaß beim Lesen und eine schöne Advents-Weihnachtszeit!
This year I was again invited to illustrate a historical Christmas novel for Kindler. "Eisweihnacht", written bei Ruth Berger, is available in bookstores November.

It was once again a great joy to research the past of a city, this time Frankfurt, and figure out all the historical details, like what the christmas decoration in 1844 might have looked like.

Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!





  

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20. Praise for the cover of "The Broken Lands"

The Atlantic Wire has listed the cover of "The Broken Lands" among the 25 most wonderful YA/MG covers of 2012. I am very honored! Here is the link to the article.

The Atlantic Wire hat eine Liste mit den 25 schönsten Jugendbuchcovern von 2012 veröffentlicht, unter ihnen das Cover von "The Broken Lands", Ich freue mich sehr! Hier ist der Artikel.

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21. Happy Winter!


Frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

Happy Holidays and a great start into the New Year to you all!

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22. A window for "The Broken Lands"


The fabulous McNally Jackson bookstore in New York asked me to decorate one of their windows. Here are some first photos of the window, with elements from "The Broken Lands", featuring new silhouette cuts of Walker and Bones. The display will be up for a month, if you are in the area, please check it out!




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23. The Animal Kingdom - Opening at Gallery Nucleus this Saturday


I am excited to have two pieces in this fabulous group show opening Saturday at Gallery Nucleus:


If you are in the LA area, please drop by and check it out! You can also view the artwork online here.

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24. Lessons from the SCBWI winter conference – be bold, avoid discouragement, let go of the outcome


I am so so happy that I was able to attend this years SCBWI winter conference, with incredibly inspiring speakers who shook my mind up and planted some beautiful ideas. It was an overwhelming experience and will take some time to let all the information sink in, but I would like to share a couple of thoughts that especially stayed with me:

Shaun Tan talks about meta style (photo by Debbie Ohi)

Shaun Tan’s idea of a meta style or deep style that comes from who you are and how you think more so than the way you draw or type of medium you use got me inspired to have more confidence in my way of solving a problem in my art and to take risks. Shaun Tan also shared his practice of creating a „bubble of delusion“, which you should carefully construct around yourself to give yourself time and space to keep critics voices out and allow yourself to be able to be creative.

Surround yourself with encouraging people, avoid discouragement.

In his second lecture, Shaun Tan spoke of internal migration, the journey within your mind rather than to exotic places, that will allow you to find inspiration in the smallest details. He pointed out that the world we live in is exotic, and we forget that. Artists work against this blindness, and show the „weirdness of the world“. He also shared that to him the truths that can’t be spoken about, can’t be communicated through words, are the most interesting. He said that in his stories he is not telling a story but setting the stage for the reader to come in and „do the thinking on his behalf“. I loved this.

I brought my copy of "The Rabbits" from Germany, now it has a beautiful drawing by Shaun Tan in it! :)

Barbara McClintock shared several bold moves in her career, e.g. how she cold-called Maurice Sendak to ask him how she could become an illustrator, or how she approached her agent to suggest a project to illustrate Natalie Merchant’s CD „Leave your Sleep“. Her advice was to

be bold

voice what you want and

keep trying.

David Ezra Stein shared a poetic metaphorical story about working yourself through an inspirational block and balancing your inner artist with your inner critic. He seconded the lessons the first speakers offered and added another two that I will definitely take to heart:


David Ezra Stein and his "inner artist" (photo by Debbie Ohi)
Take care of yourself.

and

Let go of the outcome.  

I loved his suggestion of putting a block in form of a question and then letting go of control.

Mo Willems finished the conference with a „step-by-step guide to writing a successful children’s book“. One of his remarks that might seem self-explanatory but rang very true to me was:

The writer should be invisible.

He also encouraged us to have big dreams, aim to have our work change the world, and, most importantly, write and illustrate books that will be some kid’s best friend.

listening to legendary Tomie dePaola

As I said, these are just a few excerpts from the many wonderful speakers we got to listen to. Throughout the tightly-packed conference there was still a little bit of time to meet writers and illustrators from all over the world, catch up with fellow mentees, meet the legendary Tomie dePaola at the illustrator’s social and look at the amazing portfolios at the portfolio showcase.

supercool mentee "band" photo by Debbie Ohi

And then, on top of all these fantastic experiences, I won the grand prize for my portfolio, what a huge honor! I was shaky with happiness and humbled by all the talented people around me! JessixaBagley and Lori Nichols were also honored for their portfolios, their work is magical, please check it out!


one of the portfolio showcases

Thank you SCBWI for the wonderful opportunity to come back to New York and share my work with art directors and editors! 


Thank you, Debbie Ohi, for this photo of super-shaky me receiving the grand prize!


And from the bottom of my heart a superspecial thank you to the mentors and mentees of the SCBWI mentorship program, the last two years have been amazing, I am so thankful that I got to know you all and learn so much!

mentee discussion after the conference with David Diaz, one of the mentors of the SCBWI mentorship program (photo by Debbie Ohi)

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25. How to decorate a window that is 4000 miles away...


I already shared a few pictures snapped of the window I decorated at the McNally Jackson independent bookstore in New York. I am so thrilled that everything came together and wanted to share a few pictures of the process.

working on the silhouettes for the window
When the bookstore asked me to decorate the window they sent measurements and photos for reference. I realized very quickly that it was a challenge to put together a decoration from so far away without ever having  seen the actual window. I ended up using a book shelf as a model for the window size (the measurements were about right) so I could get a sense of what the scale of the decorations would have to be.
the finished pieces for the window waiting to be packed
But I only started thinking of one of the biggest challenges very late in the process: getting everything there. When I had finally created all the pieces and figured out how I wanted to set them up, I got out my biggest suitcase, only to realize that I would not be able to fit the pieces in it. I ended up having to cut a few pieces in two, and putting them back together in New York, and I made a large slim packet to carry with me on the plane, thank you dear airlines for letting me do that!

Finally in New York, after quite a few hours of putting everything back together, twisting and tweaking and drinking lots of coffee, and with lots of help and encouragement from fabulous and incredibly generous author Kate Milford, here is what the window looked like from the back:

paper-foamcore-tape-architecture...
And a week after I set everything up I am happy to show proof and report that all is still up and looking good:
the window a week later
close up of the silhouette details
As I wrote before, the window is up for the month of February, so please go have a look! The bookstore also asked me to sign a whole bunch of books and put together a beautiful corner advertising them all:
signing, signing, signing... :)
Thank you McNally Jackson, it was a great adventure!
book display inside the store

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