Before I decided to change careers, I used to be a high school teacher for German and English literature and so books always had a very important status in my life. When I had my three children, I obviously introduced them to kidlit early on and that’s when my creative side emerged again and it could not be stopped. It was a very powerful calling that made me see who I really am.
Your work infuses such true-to-life humor! How do you find your inspiration?
I just think I try to look at things in a humorous way whenever possible. Life can be too hard otherwise.
How would you say your cultural heritage influences your creative decisions when you are creating art for children?
My art is a direct reflection of my cultural heritage and upbringing—you will find a lot of the spirit of European kidlit or even music I was brought up with in my illustrations and stories. Themes with darker emotions are not taboo and unconventional characters are very common in European stories for children.
A normal work day without any pressing deadlines usually starts with a long walk with my dog to clear my head or even find inspiration in nature. Then I start drawing in my tiny studio until my children come home from school. In the evenings I often work on my manuscripts.
When I’m working on projects together with editors, I usually spend some days reading the manuscript I’m supposed to illustrate. Then I begin rough sketching and collecting material. Next stage is the storyboarding and then, when everything has been approved, I start working on the final coloured illustrations.
What are you working on now? And are you enjoying it?
I’m currently working on a picture book about an English bulldog as the main character and am very much enjoying it. There are other projects in the pipeline I can’t officially talk about yet!
Katrin is self-taught and creates quirky illustrations that children are familiar with and that speak to them. Her work features different media, texture and techniques. Katrin’s first picture book has been awarded “Notable Book 2018” by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and was short-listed for the 2018 Speech Pathology Australia Award! She also delivered illustrations for a highly successful video animation production on YouTube.
Katrin also teaches art to children and bribes them with lollies to clean up afterwards. Additionally, she conducts workshops for both adults and children. In her free time, Katrin enjoys walking her big Golden Retriever Loki who loves to eat and watch Marvel movies just as much as her. You can find her and her portfolio online at katrindreiling.com, on
Instagram. Facebook and on Twitter @dreiling_katrin.