The 42nd ALEA Meanjin – Brisbane area – Australian Literacy Educators’ Association Young Writers’ Festival (for students from Years 5 to 10) is being held on Thursday 4 July at Griffith University Mt Gravatt Campus.
Featuring a Keynote from Morris Gleitzman and four workshops with a wonderful line up of authors, poets and illustrators – Candice Lemon-Scott; Gregg Dreise; June Perkins and Katrin Dreiling.
Today’s blog is an introduction to the delightful illustration work of Katrin Dreiling. I first met Katrin through Writelinks, who hold monthly meetings for writers and illustrator/ writers for children and young adults.
Katrin is one of a community of illustrators residing in Brisbane, and I, as an emerging children’s book writer who can’t draw, just love her quirky and often hilarious characters.
As writers we have a lot we can learn from illustrators; by understanding their creative processes hopefully we can write better picture books for children. But more on that another time. Let’s dive into the creative world of Katrin.
1. June: Katrin can you introduce yourself to my blog readers:
Katrin: Sure. Like most illustrators, I’ve always been drawing, doodling and just love being creative in any way possible. While still working as a language teacher I used to explain boring grammar problems with the help of quirky characters on the board, coming to life for my students.
When I had my own children I felt an immense rush of creative energy – all of a sudden the things I’d been drawing made sense – there was not only an audience for my art but also inspiration!
Step by step I ventured into this industry until one and a half years ago I decided to stop working as a teacher and pursue my illustration dream.
My first big and paid job was illustrating animated lectures at QUT (Queensland University of Technology). This was a fantastic and very fulfilling experience. I’m entirely self-taught so this makes me very proud.
2. June: Your latest work is Princess and the Pea – what made you want to illustrate this classic story?
Katrin: The Princess and the Pea interpretation proved to have a life of its own. I originally started work on this fairy tale just for practice purposes and to build a portfolio. I especially love the classics. I wanted it to reflect as much of my style as possible and just have fun.
It was very well received and I sold one of the originals to a very dear ‘fan’, which meant a lot to me. Later on I created a book dummy to show an editor at CYAand since then I’ve been taking orders to put it into print.
3. June: What are your favourite things to illustrate (some illustrators like, people, some animals, and some both).
Katrin: It really depends on the day. I love to create quirky characters but if I want to get my hands messy I enjoy nothing more than creating landscapes or architecture with collages made of lots of paints and prints and papers.
4. June: Do you think your illustrations are for children, adults, or both?
Katrin: This is a hard one. Let me just say that in the past, and still today, I get a lot of funny looks for some drawing ideas from grown ups. This has never happened with children. I think they just get me.
5. June: What things do you do differently when illustrating for children?
Katrin: My work is always for children first. I try to touch their lives by either seeing things through their eyes or introducing them to classic themes. My illustrations are meant to take them by the hand and we dive together into a crazy-and beautiful-fun world.
6. June: Can you tell me a little about your plans to publish Princess and the Pea and why Wybble was formed?
Katrin: Wybblewas formed because I wanted my first story How to get a fat fairy flying printed and dedicated to my three children. Along the way I realised that there were many aspiring authors and illustrators and the idea evolved to offer Wybble’s services to them. This business still exists, although I’m predominantly focused on my illustrator’s career. I’m planning to publish my Princess and the Pea interpretation with Wybble.
Due to overwhelmingly positive feedback I decided to do a print run for The Princess and the Pea through Wybble Publishing. I’m in the process of trying to get around 100 pre-orders as I need to sell at least that many to justify the cost and work of setting up this book.
If you are interested, please head over to KATRIN’S Facebook page to place an order on the wall or by private message.
(Editor’s note: I’ve already ordered my copy! Thanks so much for the interview Katrin and the insight into your world. This is the beginning of a regular feature on illustrators, and writer/illustrators for children on Pearlz Dreaming. )