'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 19 April 2018

Meet the Illustrator: Jutta Berend

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Colourful and vibrant images capturing life to touch the heart.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
A huge mug of black tea, snuggly warm socks most of the year and an audiobook playing. Silence is also good.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I work digitally on my Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.  I also like watercolours, but more for personal use in my sketchbooks, than professional illustration.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Pascal Campion, Henri de Loulouse-Lautrec and Maya Fidawi.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
To be honest, I'm terrible at history, even the history of art. But I think end of the 19th to the start of the 20th century would be very interesting. Art Nouveau and Realism are very exciting. And I would love to spy on a Renaissance painter or two, just to see how they did what they did.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I have spent large parts of my childhood lying on the floor and either reading or drawing about what I read. It has always been important for me to visualise and channel my feelings onto paper. To capture atmospheres and make stories visible. This is what I still do and how I want to spend my life - lying on my belly and drawing pictures of stories I love.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
I don't have a fancy studio, just my desk in our living room. There isn't that much to say about it.  You can see my computer, my tablet (my baby!) and the printer. And that I am not too fond of keeping order. The plant is the only green thing that hasn't died on me (yet). There are some reminders and drawings pinned everywhere. Next to the desk is my big (yet not nearly big enough!) bookshelf. It takes up a whole wall of the room. I like to work among books and let my eyes wander over them and get inspired by what they hold inside. I do love books.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
The beginning is always the most exciting part. It usually starts with a colour or the way the light falls or a certain atmosphere I want to capture. I don't make sketches very often but try to create the picture in my mind until it is ready to come out. Then it has to go very quickly, before the spark is gone and it dies unfinished. When everything is laid out and I'm happy with it, the colouring is the most fun part. When I know what goes where it is a little bit like laying a puzzle. It is a soothing and satisfying process.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Being an aspiring illustrator myself, I can only tell you what I have learned so far. Even if it hasn't lead to big success, yet. Never stop drawing! Only exercise will make you good. Get feedback.  Facebook groups are great to get to know others of your kind and learn from each other. You can learn from everyone and everything: children, nature, buildings, light, people... Embrace yourself and let the pencil do its thing. You will eventually find your style and start being the illustrator you were meant to be.

Jutta Berent was born in 1988 in Oldenburg, Germany. She lives in Hamburg with her husband and two small daughters, where she works as a freelance illustrator and Dummy Builder. Jutta loves family life, hot tea in the mornings, a cold beer at night and books all over the place.
You can follow Jutta on facebook and instagram or visit her website for more information.