Getting to Work with CLAVIS on the Kollie Book Series

A couple of weeks ago my parcel with my copies of the two Kollie books, I illustrated last year for the Belgian publisher Clavis arrived. These books have a little Koala bear has the main character and tell in rhyming form about what he discovers and learns in day care.

But before telling you about the illustration process I would like to share the story of how I got this commission. In 2010, just a little before I ventured into my illustration dream full time, I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair. It was overwhelming and to be honest I did not show my portfolio much, as I was too nervous and feared I was not good enough. From time to time, when spotting a publisher who's books I loved I took all my courage and asked, if someone was around to look at portfolios. This is what I did at the Clavis stand too. Unfortunately they only had sales people there, like most foreign publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair to tell you the truth, but the very kind lady gave me a card and a name where to send my stuff too. And so I did. Shortly after I received an email, that they got my samples and all was past on to the person in charge and they would be in touch. This was it for a very long time. A year really!
One year later I received an email from Clavis. It said, they loved my art and offered me to illustrate the first two books of a new series they were doing. I was thrilled! I had not at all expected to hear from them ever again because so much time had past. I was so wrong!
They send me a translation of the original manuscript as I do not speak Dutch and I got too illustrate my first two books with animal characters all over the place and also for very young readers. It couldn't have been better!
I started sketching away and as the timeframe was quite short, worked seven days a week to meet the deadline. But it was all worth it! The books turned out so lovely and the quality of the print is really stunning!
Next time I will tell you a little more on how I went about making the art for the Kollie books. For now I hope you enjoy these first peeks!

Winner of the Storybook Brushes Giveaway

Illustration by Juana Martinez-Neal for our Storybook Brushes Calendar
Our giveaway has ended and a winner has been randomly chosen. We picked the winner from all the comments from all of our blogs. The winner of one of our calendars along with a print and postcard is ... Megumi Lemons!!!
Megumi, you will receive a calendar, print and postcard of Juana, as you commented on her blog to enter the giveaway. Please get in touch with Juana, so she can send it all your way!

Storybook Brushes Calendar - Giveaway

I hope you all had lovely holidays and I wish you all a little belated but nonetheless very happy new year with lots of exciting things to happen and dreams to come true!
To start the new year off in a rightly manner the Storybook Brushes ladies, Juana Martinez-Neal, Angela Matteson, Katriona Chapman and me, decided to hold a giveaway of our calendar. We will all do blogposts over the next couple of days revealing more art from the calendar. If you would like to be counted in the "pot" of possible winners, simply leave a comment on one of our related blog posts. So I am the lucky one to announce the giveaway we are holding for the next two weeks. All comments made either here or on the ladies' blogs entered by 20th January 2013 will be considered. By the way Katriona will be next with posting a new illustration on her blog on Monday.

But enough said about the giveaway. Here is a new piece I illustrated for our group project Storybook Brushes. It shows the story of "The Star Talers" by the Brothers Grimm. I am not sure whether it is well known around the globe, but I still remember it from my childhood. It was one of my favorite among many others of course and as it is only short I thought I post it here for you to maybe read to your little ones while also enjoying the illustration to go with it.

The Star Talers by The Brothers Grimm

  Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father and mother had died, and she was so poor that she no longer had a room to live in, nor a bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little piece of bread in her hand that some charitable soul had given her. She was good and pious, however. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she went forth into the country, trusting in dear God.
  Then a poor man met her, who said, "Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry."
She handed him her entire piece of bread, saying, "May God bless it for you," and went on her way.
Then came a child who moaned and said, "My head is so cold. Give me something to cover it with." So she took off her cap and gave it to the child. And when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who had no jacket and was freezing. So she gave her jacket to that child, and a little farther on one begged for a dress, and she gave her dress away as well. At length she made her way into a forest and it was already dark. Then there came yet another child, and asked for a shift, and the pious girl thought to herself, "It is a dark night and no one can see you. You can very well give your shift away," and she took it off, and gave it away as well.
  And thus she stood there, with nothing left at all, when suddenly some stars fell down from heaven, and they were nothing else but hard shining talers, and although she had just given her shift away, she was now wearing a new one which was of the very finest linen. Then she gathered together the money into it, and was rich all the days of her life.

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