New Series

Maybe it's a future story...for now it's a series of paintings and sketches I'm obsessed with. Ruthie and Gran on a grand adventure. I'm working in several mediums - pastel, pencil, gouache, acrylic. Sometimes on paper and sometimes on canvas. You can follow along at my instagram page :)

Detail of Ruthie and Gran in the Andes

Detail of Ruthie and Gran in the Andes

The beginnings of Gran, in my sketchbook

The beginnings of Gran, in my sketchbook

From my in progress, acrylic and pastel on canvas

From my in progress, acrylic and pastel on canvas

Work in process from the Andes scene, mixed media on canvas

Work in process from the Andes scene, mixed media on canvas

Ruthie and Gran in Venice, in my sketchbook

Ruthie and Gran in Venice, in my sketchbook

Gran and Ruthie over Niagara Falls, in my sketchbook

Gran and Ruthie over Niagara Falls, in my sketchbook

Thumbnails, sketches, dummy books...

I've been working on a couple of different stories these last few months. One story showed itself to be completely too complicated (thank you brain). I'm quite experienced at drawing but not so much with writing so I've been flexing that muscle as much as possible lately. It's a big challenge - sometimes aggravating. The best (and often only) way for me to get through roadblocks while writing is to take a walk. It clears the mind and the motion just does something to get the ideas to float up. It's the best feeling when the idea sparks in your mind. But then you have to make the idea flow across 32 pages, all the while supporting (and maybe subverting) the story with the illustrations. Brewing magic in the combo of words and pictures is the aim.


Instagram collaborative

Last month I did a little giveaway on Instagram to celebrate 2000 followers (thank you!). I asked everyone to leave a comment stating a favorite color, favorite animal, and something they remember doing in childhood. The responses were just the best! I printed out 3 pages of beautiful and funny anecdotes, with the intention that I can flip through and grab a color, an animal, and a childhood activity and create an illustration from them. Above was my first go at digesting the information. My own personal "treehouse spirit" - my inner child.  I'm excited to continue and love that I got to know more of my instagram friends a bit better Xo

In process...I used pastel, color pencils and gouache in this piece.

In process...I used pastel, color pencils and gouache in this piece.


New in September

Hi friends!

September is blowing into Aachen with surprisingly chilly winds and lovely red tinges on the blueberry bushes in my garden. I found myself yesterday pulling on socks and thinking about a scarf while out walking Phylodog.

The beginning sketches of a story I'm developing.

The beginning sketches of a story I'm developing.

I've been working this week on a set of illustrations to submit to the Bologna Children's Book Illustration competition. They are based on a story I've been writing. Lots of firsts for me this year. The more time goes by the more I say yes, and believe in and know myself. It feels completely awesome!


One Sky, entry by Devon Holzwarth

One Sky, entry by Devon Holzwarth

Yesterday the Women Who Draw Illustration Collective's project, "One Sky", launched. It was a couple weeks ago I took my watercolor palette and pencils out to a high spot at the RWTH campus overlooking the Netherlands. 84 of us around the world drew the sky at the same time. You can see the whole project here. It's powerful to see the world represented in a patchwork of unique views from artists all over the planet.


Working out what the adorably hissy kitten in my story should look like.

Working out what the adorably hissy kitten in my story should look like.

Some thoughts on kittens, angry and hissing, from my sketchbook. I think it takes drawing the character a few dozen times to really start to understand who they are. It's getting there!


Scenes from home and with my family. School started and we now have a first grader and third grader. Our garden was bountiful this summer and I didn't have to buy zucchini even once. Bird amazed us all at Jared's company party, beating all the others at the climbing challenge. What a confidence boost - she stacked and climbed 22 boxes before it all toppled over and she was dangling in the sky like a little spider. Griffy and I upgraded our wreath to look a bit fall-ish - it's our catch point for finds from walks...mostly feathers and seeds.


So cool to see that one of my favorite books is being featured with a set of USPS stamps! From the LA Times:  “The Snowy Day,” first published in 1962, was one of the first successful picture books for children to feature an African American main character. The book was awarded the Caldecott Medal, which is considered the most prestigious award for picture books, in 1963.


You can pre-order the stamps here.

We're watching Hurricane Irma very closely, with lots of family and friends living in Florida. Check out these daring NOAA pilots flying into the storm to collect data.

And I particularly love this image of the Miami Zoo flamingos in their hurricane shelter (the men's room). All peering into the mirror ;) Thinking of all those, big and small, affected by the insane weather systems we've been having.


Wishing you a wonderful day Xo Devon

The 100 day project 2017

I'm doing the 100 day project again this's been going for about a month and I'm behind (but catching up officially here today!) with the last month. You can find my posts for this year's 100 day project under: #100daysofgermanbydevon on Instagram. Yes, 100 days of German - words and sayings. It's a fun way to help me learn more of the language and create new characters/spark new ideas.

Day 1 - Der Frühling - The spring

Day 2 - Die Tulpen - the tulips

Day 3 - In meinem Garten - in my garden

Day 5 - der Leuchtbuchstabe - the illuminated letter

Day 6 - Meine Familie erzählt Geschichten beim Adendessen - My family telling stories at dinner time

Day 7 - Wir wandern im Wald - We're going hiking in the forest

Day 4/100 - die Vögel - the birds

Day 8 - die Palme - the palm trees

Day 9 - Ein sehr süßes und geduldiges Pferd - (Fidalgo) a very sweet and patient horse

Day 10 - zugunruhe - restlessness, stir crazy, migratory pull

Day 11 - Bildzeichen der Tapferkeit - Bravery symbols

Day 12 - mehrere Gesichter - assorted faces

Day 13 - der Blick von meinem bequemen Sitz - the view from my comfy spot

Day 14 - Frohe Ostern - Happy Easter

Day 16 - goldenen Sand und glühenden Klippen - golden sands and glowing cliffs

Day 18 - Portugal hat köstliche Pizza und Eis - Portugal has delicious pizza and ice cream

Day 20 - leckeres portugiesisches Bier - yummy Portuguese beer

Day 21 - unser letzter Tag in Portugal - our last day in Portugal

Day 15 - Portugal is atemberaubend schön - Portugal is stunning

Day 17 - wir sind frei und ungebunden - we are wild and free

Day 19 - die Möwen warten auf unbegleitet Picknicks - the seagulls wait for unattended picnics

Day 22 - der Flughafen ist ein verkehrsreich Standort - the airport is a busy place

Day 23 - Es gibt so viele interessante Leute am Flughafen - So many interesting people at the airport

Day 24 - mach weiter - keep going

Day 25 - April, der macht was er will - April, does what it wants ;)

For the next days, I'll post to my instagram page!

Thanks for following along! :)

Prepping for another round with MATS Children's Book Illustration course

I'm taking another deep dive into the world of children's book illustration with Lilla Rogers and Zöe Tucker's course through Make Art That Sells. It starts this Monday and what's super nice (though tricky to squeeze in) is the warm up project Lilla and her team send out to help you get ready for the class. This week we received adorable pictures of "Birdie" and can develop the character and story from there.

My Birdie lives in Peru and is out for a spin not far from her neighborhood. Huge cacti and bright blooms fill the landscape. She's carrying something in her hand.

Birdie arrives at the little pond and pokes a finger into the water to call her friends to the surface. They love when she visits and feeds them snacks leftover from her breakfast.

As Birdie gently floats the cracker in the water things suddenly shift. Her surroundings shake then grow and become unrecognizable. Birdie pushes through the thick stalks of giants irises and carefully avoids prickly cactus stems as she moves along, wondering what she'll discover next.

Those are the first three days of prompts - so much fun to imagine who this Birdie character is and where the story will lead. Check back for the last two days :)

You can see more about the course & prompts here and here you can see my feature from the showcase of the class...scroll down in the article to see my cover of Ada Lovelace & the Number Crunching Machine.

Have a lovely (crazy windy wintery) day all!


Women Who Draw & my illustration based on Charlotte Despard, Suffragist

**UPDATE** The directory was opened again last Monday and my profile is now listed on the site - yay!

I have so many ideas for continuing on with this personal project...highlighting women who stand up and fight for their beliefs.

Yesterday I made time to work on an illustration for the new directory "Women Who Draw"...which unfortunately is on pause for submissions as they received 1200 entries in one day - wow! I would love to have my work there. When it happens I will let you know - for now, I'll share the piece I made. It started after hearing Trump talk about getting TIME magazine's "Person of the Year" award and how he thought they should return to calling it "Man of the Year" award..because, you know, women don't matter right? It was just one more thing piled on top of the mountain of disgusting, selfish, idiotic, and downright mean comments he has spewed this past year. I've just had it, and can no longer listen to his voice - I only READ the news now. The feeling I get when I think of the situations that could stem from this new administration is a jumpy irritating nervousness beneath the surface my skin, throat tightening, jaw clenching, violence inciting, deep anger....and it's really hard to let go of. I've been picturing it as an illustration while and have had my first attempt. I'm really inspired by this photo of Charlotte Despard (suffragist & much more) and pinned it a long time ago. I made my modern era version with similar defiance. I love that she's so strong, even in her elderly body - it radiates out. This may become part of a series, as I love working from old photographs (and the subject matter is therapeutic!) and I want to work to increase the solidarity of women artists today - as women are still, and always will be, facing an uphill battle for equality.

Day 11/100 of #100daysofpattern

A video of my block printed triangles...that means I put my first video on youtube. I'm all about the first of things these days! Enjoy!

It's a simple pattern - a string of triangles or "flying geese"...I had made the block to go with a sailboat block in a shirt design I made for my dad. It turned out so neat that I made my son a shirt with it and have used the blocks individually in other places. I like to use speedy carve and it has held up quite well.

Have a lovely Friday!

Devon Xo


New site!

Hi and welcome to my new website!! I'm thrilled to be putting it together finally. It's going to be a little rough around the edges for awhile but that's okay - I'm letting go of some of that perfectionism. I'll get there - little at a time, and it'll be lovely.

So unfortunately, switching over the blog from my original blog home means I've lost all the comments from the posts (I think the posts go back to 2007!). But I was so happy to realize I could plunk it from one home to this one and at least keep all the words and pictures with me. There are some sweet memories in those posts.

Thanks for finding me here!

Xo, Devon

100% Handcrafted Düsseldorf Market

I'll be participating in the 100% Handcrafted Düsseldorf Market next Saturday. I haven't done a market/craft fair for several years, and this is my first one in Germany!! Very exciting.

I'm introducing new work: block-printed tea towels, bags and pouches, fabric buckets for indoor plants, fat quarters, soft sculpture and plushes - all printed by hand in my studio in Aachen on gorgeous organic linen and cotton fabrics. I'll also have a small selection of original art and prints.

Please consider coming if you're in the area! This is the start of something new for me. I'll continue to post updates...I'm considering opening a new online shop in the next weeks.

Devon xoxo

Stills 13/52


Linking up with Em from the Beetleshack

I have no idea what they are but we love these spring flowers. Bursts of sunshine.

Leafing out.

Picking wild garlic and various other treasures.

Kids just belong in trees don't they?

Our first outing with everyone on a bike!! (Griffy had his laufrad and did nearly all the ride)

4 in the picture :)

Happy bike riding bee-eyed lady.

Sitting on the dining table, making the whole room smell amazing.

End of Sunday chill out, after a really nice weekend.

Hope you all have a great week! We are getting ready to visit Spain again, this time with a day trip to Morocco. Can't wait!


Stills 12/52

Linking up for Stills with Em from Beetleshack

My most favorite spot this week.

The reality of the rest of the house this week.

Those responsible for the reality of the house this week ;)

Stringing together letters and asking what the word says. This one is giggle worthy.

Jingly bells and convex mirrors - things I really like.

Mr. Fishy (named Lightning McQueen and Hello Kitty so maybe we should call him Lightning Kitty) has a new home and is awaiting a new bubble filter. We are slowly warming up to the idea of a real fish tank, this is a good start.

Backyard daffodils - happy faces of sunshine.

And the tulips are coming up for the second year now - hooray!

Sea shell wind chime my dad offered to me before he was going to disassemble it. I love the odd beachy vibe it gives our German backyard ;) Like a warm hug from home.

Have a happy healthy rest of the week.

Stills 11/52



 Linking up with Em from Beetleshack

We got a little exercise with our aching flu-walloped bodies and it was lovely. A sun-shiney day.

He'll follow her wherever she leads.

Chilly chilly chilly natural springs are for dipping toes into on a warmish day.

Flowers are blooming and green is sprouting everywhere in's been a very tolerable mid to light jacket weather. I'd call it Spring!

Concentrated piggy pose.

The aftermath of our Easter sensory bin. Lots of ideas over at Imagination Tree.

Phylo got a gorgeous new collar.

We lost a fish today...this one is without his friend now and I'm not sure what to do. We had them in a large pot with water irises - from my dad. Upon thinking about their situation in hindsight I think it was terrible to have them in a pot (even though large) and without filtration (besides the water plants). Fail on my part. I think we're going to have to get a proper fish tank, asap.

 Happiness is coral tulips in a bright blue coffee pot.

Lots of xoxo,