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- author Jackie French

Thursday 22 June 2023

Meet The Illustrator: Carla Hoffenberg

Carla Hoffenberg

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Character-driven, playful and optimistic, crafted digitally, with a traditional feel.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My iPad and Apple Pencil. I prefer my standing desk, but I can draw anywhere.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I love using procreate – no set-up or clean up time and I can draw anywhere. I love using the traditional pencil “brushes”, rather than fancier digital brushes. If I am not using my ipad, I love using graphite pencils.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Normal Rockwell, Axel Scheffler and Heath McKenzie

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
It would be amazing to travel back to the 1960s and witness the vibrant pop art era first hand. What I admire most about pop art is how it made art fun and accessible to everyone. It allowed for social commentary that encouraged viewers to engage with the artwork, creating a unique interactive experience.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
As a mother of three children, I have always turned to children's books as a platform for entertainment, connection and explaining our world and events in our lives. Even though I have always been creatively inclined, I only started becoming interested in illustrating children’s books during the Covid-19 lockdown. I started sketching and illustrating my kids as they went about their daily activities, and it struck me that it would be a fantastic idea to write and illustrate a book about this unique period in our lives. I enrolled in courses to improve my skills, and eventually, it led me to pursue it as a full-time career.
The kids that read my books are my main inspiration for creating children’s books. I want to bring joy into their lives and also help them understand the world around them a bit better.

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 spend most of my work hours at my adjustable height desk. I don’t need much space as my iPad as the main tool. I do keep children's books on my desk, which serve as inspiration and I often take breaks to flip through the pages (especially if I get stuck with something). When I feel like I need a change of scenery to gain fresh perspective, I like to draw at nearby cafes.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I find the design and planning phase of a project particularly enjoyable, as it requires a lot of imagination and allows me to draw on inspiration while challenging myself. Brainstorming character designs and compositions is a significant aspect of this, and I'm always pushing myself to come up with innovative ways to connect with my target audience.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Just keep going! Every illustration or work of art that you make informs your next piece and helps you to improve.

Carla is a published children’s book illustrator, residing in Sydney. She grew up in Johannesburg and lived in NYC. She is passionate about bringing fun, connection and learning opportunities to kids through optimistic and imaginative illustrations. Carla loves the ocean and is always working on her next children’s book project.

For more information, please visit Carla's website or follow her on instagram.