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 ;-)!!!!
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