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 :)
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
IN MY SKETCHBOOK:
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.
AROUND THE WORLD AND INTERWEBS:
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
I'm doing the 100 day project again this year...it'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! :)
Nearly a month behind me (how can it be?!) I was in beautiful Bologna at the international Children's Book Fair. It was very much like friends/fellow illustrators described it - overwhelming and completely inspiring. I had a fabulous time and plan to attend next year. I'd recommend it to any aspiring children's book illustrator - book your flight/airbnb, prepare lots of promotional pieces, give yourself some great pep talks, and get ready to engage with people for a few days! While it's draining to put yourself out there (and maybe a little scary?), I met some of the nicest people and really enjoyed chatting with publishers and a whole assortment of book people, from all around the world. Not to mention so many illustrator friends that I've met in the last few months. It was so cool to finally meet up -in person!- and have dinner in the center, share contacts and info (yay for generosity and helping each other), and encourage one another's success. I stayed with a friend I'd met through my Illustrating Children's Book course and we had such a good time - miss you Tanja! I hope we can repeat next year.
On my last day at the fair...handing out the last promotional booklets I'd made, getting into as many queues as possible for illustrator/portfolio reviews, and probably on my third espresso ;)
The halls of the Fiere are light-filled and beautifully designed. I enjoyed all the details so much. Visually inspiration everywhere!! I especially appreciated the creative stands from the publishers - like Laurence King - how sweet! Though I didn't arrive till Monday afternoon and the illustrator wall was packed with posters and promo material, I found some spots for my stuff. And by Wednesday there were more open spaces. It was encouraging to see that my cards were getting picked up :)
Me on the left, Tanja on the right. Her work is so joyful, as is her spirit. Having such a positive lovely friend at the fair was fantastic. You can peek into her world here.
Wouldn't you love to sit here for a little while with a coffee and your sketchbook?
Bologna through the hours...delicious coffee, elegant (ancient) details, wonderful people watching, tortelloni, pizza, and wine, and lots of children's book people sprinkled about - a magical experience.
Beautiful people...and talented illustrators too! I'm rooting for all of you and hope to see you again next year. May we be carrying something published in our arms by then! Ciao!
My cover is featured on the Make Art That Sells blog - yay! You can visit here to read the brief summary of my class experience and see lots of other beautiful pieces from other artists in the class (scroll down to the bottom for mine).
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!
**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.
The shop is open! It was so much work to put together and I was going a little nuts from spending so many hours on the computer, but I'm so happy with it. It was worth the work. I've had several sales so far (thank you!!), and the new 2017 Tea Towel Calendar (pictured above) has been a popular purchase.
I also have a large assortment of archival prints of my work.
There are a few leather wrist cuffs still available as well as a few hand printed tea towels.
And a fun picture of some of extras including my drawer of printing blocks and a few coloring pages also for sale.
Purchases made through next week (the 23rd of December) will be shipped same or next day from Germany. The mail service while not super quick to the states, is at least quite dependable. If you are local we can arrange pick up/drop offs. :)
Shop link here.
Have a lovely day all - Sonnige Grüßen!
I'm opening shop again! It's great to get back to it, albeit a lot of work. I have a couple of new prints available now and will have the shop well stocked by Thursday noon GMT. If you have seen anything of mine before that's not in the shop, send me a message (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll be happy to pop it in there for you!
The shop will have a variety of my art prints in A4 and A5 size, a very limited quantity of tea towel calendars, an assortment of printed fabric, and a small run of leather cuffs, to start.
You can visit my etsy shop (devonindustry) here.
Last week one of my heroes Stephani Gordon of Open Boat Films (and she happens to be my sister-in-law - lucky me!) won for the Children's Series at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival with "My Haggan Dream" alongside Sisbro Studios. She's someone I very much look up to as a professional, go-getting, earth loving, positive force in this world. We love to tell our kids "Auntie Steph stories" as entertainment because there are plenty of them! Good fodder for future children's book illustration in my mind.
A few years ago I designed the Open Boat Films logo. Over the summer as our families got together & the kids were splashing in the pool, I made a few illustrations of coconut crabs for something she was currently working on. Working with someone you enjoy being around is the best.
Cheers to Stephani and her film partners! It takes so much work to do what they're doing - many places they visit for filming require government permission and quarantine clothes...and are thousands of miles from mainland.
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!
I was featured in the Make Art That Sells student showcase in April! What fun, and I nearly forgot to tell anyone. I embarrassingly gushed in the comments I sent but after re-reading it and deciding not to be so critical of myself I think it's alright ;) & I'll share it! I've been so happy with my experience with taking classes with MATS by Lilla Rogers Studio that I've had to contain myself somewhat when asked about them. I've grown tremendously in my art & illustration practice over the past few months - it's hard not to share my happiness about it.
Here's the artist interview:
This has been my first MATS class – I’m in MATS A It has been amazing! I’ve signed up for Bootcamp as well and can’t wait. I’ve attached work for the Wall Art market. My piece is called “Last Night I had the Most Wonderful Dream”.
What have you enjoyed most so far about the course?
I enjoyed creating it so much – I started hesitantly then quickly became obsessed with it. I used to work large (I owned a mural painting business in CA) and liked having room to stretch out on the canvas. For the past couple of years I’ve had a committed sketchbook practice and in MATS I’ve been mostly working with small brushes and gouache paint.
How is the MATS class helping you grow?
Using various methods to achieve my best work has stretched me incredibly. Moving from tiny illustration to cut paper collage to work in Photoshop to plate design (thinking 3D) has forced me to think more quickly, trust my intuition that I really do know what I’m doing, and to go for what I see in my mind. Having a mini exercise is brilliant and has changed how I think about starting my projects. I had heard from friends about MATS classes but wasn’t sure how they would help me.
What are you discovering about yourself?
I’m so glad I signed up for MATS A and feel intense gratitude for this resource! It’s as powerful as being back in art school but the difference being that I’m way more focused on what I want at this point in life (art representation! licensing! working with amazing people & companies!). I’m a mom of two and have limited time. The growth I’ve achieved in the last few weeks with how to start & be inspired for the work, how to switch gears quickly, and how to push and give more to the work by trusting myself has given me the confidence to see that I can seek the next phase in my life – a working artist who is successful doing the work she loves.
I’ve started planning the next steps toward what I really want to do and where I will fit in. Maybe it’s Wall Art, maybe it’s Home Decor (I adored designing tableware), maybe it’s Children’s Illustration. Funny enough, I studied textiles & pattern but felt most challenged by the Bolt Fabric assignment. I may go back and have another go at it. There is a tremendous amount of information on the MATS site and I keep finding more answers to my questions.
How would you describe the class to a friend?
I have been recommending MATS to my artist and designer friends in person & over Instagram as a way to get a focused jump on their work, to develop their style, and to build confidence. It really came at a perfect time for me. Both of my children are away from home for part of the day and I have the time to focus on assignments and the big scheme. I’m so excited for what’s next!!
See more work here: Website
I started something new this year which feels pretty amazing so far. There is this neat concept called the The 100 Day Project where one will for 100 days do the same type of thing daily and post to social media to share (and for great accountability!). I'm focusing on PATTERNS - hand drawn, gouache painted, paper collaged, repeats tidied up in Photoshop, etc. - patterns for 100 days. It's day 10 already and I'm so excited about what I already have. For me, this is the perfect type of discipline building exercise. Being your own supervisor is a tough job and I'm not naturally prone to consistency. I'm loving that having this daily commitment is building up those muscles. You can find my patterns on Instagram with the hashtag #100daysofpatternsbydevon as well as in the feeds of #100daysofpattern and #the100dayproject. I'm also posting to my new Facebook business page - Devon Holzwarth, Art & Illustration. I suppose that's another bit of news - a new business page over at FB. I think it was about time ;) I'm still thinking about what I should be posting there but I figure it's a bit of what's here and from Instagram and other business bits that I think to include. I've also started up a Society6 shop presence again but haven't loaded many goods yet. Many many prints to come as I have been painting and making consistently this last year but haven't been scanning and editing. That stuff takes time! I'm on it now. Little bit daily and I'll catch up.
So here are my first 10/100 days of pattern.
Enjoy your day!!
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!
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.
I have no idea what they are but we love these spring flowers. Bursts of sunshine.
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!
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.
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 Aachen...it'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,