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

Thursday 26 December 2019

Meet The Illustrator: Eva-Maria Schull

Name: Eva-Maria Schull

Describe your illustration style in 10 words 
Simple, whimsical characters looking at the world with big eyes.

What items are an essential part of your creative space? 
There’s not much space on my 40 x 20 inches desk. My pencils, Micron-pens, some brushes, a stash of cheap sketching paper, and a small watercolour box are in close reach for impromptu sketches.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium? 
No, I don’t have a favourite artistic medium.  I like watercolour, because it is easily available and always ready to use. I love old book pages and I often paint on gessoed magazine pages. Recently I am working on photocopies of old letters and envelopes which once were sent to my grandfather. Adding pieces of collage is exciting as well. 

Name three artists whose work inspires you?
My favourite artists/ illustrators are Shaun Tan, Wolf Erlbruch and Timothy Basil Ering. I love their books, because the pictures are so imaginative and full of wonderful characters. 

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
That’s a tough one! Okay, I would love to time-travel to old Amsterdam and watch Rembrandt work on his tiny portrait etchings. How could he scratch all those details into the stamp-sized metal plate in the poor light of his studio?

Then I’d like to visit Picasso in one of his studios. Just watching him for a day or two ... wouldn’t that be amazing? 

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My main inspiration and my favourite art-teacher is Carla Sonheim. When I saw her work for the first time many years ago, I instantly fell in love with her quirky, imaginary animals, she created from sidewalk cracks.

With Carla, drawing and visual story-telling was fun again, and I never went back to boring perspective studies and realistic painting.


Can you share a photo of your creative work space? Talk us through it.
Here’s my desk. It’s pretty small, but I don’t work on real big formats. Usually an A4 format is the right size for me.

Favourite pictures are taped to the wall; my pens and brushes handy in front of me, always ready to be used.

My little mascot Superpiggy is always watching me, waiting to appear in one of my stories.


What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
What’s the best part? That’s when the little guys actually appear on the page in front of me, giving me thumbs up, that they feel good on the paper!

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Sorry, I am hopeless with advice! Maybe one thing: Try to keep your desk tidy. That’s important for me. If you come to a messy desk and having to clean it up before starting your work, your good mood, your inspiration and the genius idea will get lost in the tiring process of tidying up your workspace. 

Eva-Maria Schull was born in November 1953 in Detmold, a small town in western Germany.
Instead of following her natural talent as a hairdresser (see pic above), she became a teacher. She taught Art and Maths at comprehensive schools for 38 years, until her retirement 3 years ago. She lives in Duesseldorf, Germany together with her husband Peter.

You can follow Eva on her instagram.