A Mini-Interview with Constanze Von Kitzing
I have no recollection of how I found Constanze work. All I know is that as soon as I saw her work, I fell in love with it! Madly! Constanze is always surprising me with her compositions, textures and color choices. She paints like I dream of painting when I grow up.
When it came time to choose my 4 illustrators for this year’s Series, I had to ask her. I had a feeling she would say yes. Sure enough, she agreed and now I have the immense pleasure to introduce you to the fascinating world and work of the German children’s author/illustrator Constanze Von Kitzing.
About Constanze Von Kitzing
Constanze has been drawing and painting ever since she was able to hold a pencil. She started off with countless images of pricesses and horses, then already showing great love for details and a subtle humor in her characters and scenes. The evening stories, read to her by her parents, inspired her so much that she decided to become a professional children’s book illustrator.
Today, Constanze works for a wide variety of international publishers, has won several illustration prizes, and is happiest to see children enjoying her books and illustrations.
Describe yourself in five words:
Enthusiastic, funny, easily stressed, committed, people-person.
Now, please tell us how you got started in picture book illustration (in more than five words):
As mentioned before, I’ve always been drawing and fascinated by picture book, but from childhood dream to the actual profession it’s still a long way. I attended an art school for children for 10 years, after finishing school, I did a year of voluntary service in South Africa, doing educational dance and drama for a change, but then ending up producing flyers and posters there too. Back, I thought about being an arts teacher or graphic designer, I started with graphic design and discovered that I actually could focus not only on illustration but on children’s book illustration, so I switched schools and painted and painted. I was VERY proud when my diploma and first books (a series of a little lion) got published by “La Joie de Lire”, a French publisher I’ve done projects with ever since. It was also quite challenging to find a niche, as for some markets I was too artistic and for others I wasn’t artistic enough, so I learned to be flexible and to see the whole of Europe and later the entire world as my working field.
If you had to describe your work in terms of your artistic influences, you would say it is:
A mixture of Stepan Zavrel, Bernadette Watts and Eric Carle’s illustrations (my three childhood heros), that keeps being challenged by very many contemporary amazing illustrators.
Of the six fundamentals of 2D design (line, shape, volume, perspective, shading, and color): Which is your greatest strength? Which poses your greatest challenge?
Strength: Color and shape. Challenge: Perspective.
Given that illustration is different than many day to day jobs, how to you manage your time and maintain a daily routine?
Sometimes I don’t… As my husband is a musician without a regular time table too, our life tends to be rather chaotic, I try to start work after breakfast, but get distracted by housework, the desire to go for a walk, to make some tea, the internet… usually i start with paper work and emails and in the afternoon I paint. THAT I can do for hours and hours! Now that we have a little daughter, everything is different yet again.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given as an illustrator?
– Do what you love doing and try to be as good as you can be (my parents).
– If you see something you like, be not afraid of copying it, as it will come out very differently in your own hand (my professor).
– Love yourself and your own work (me, I have to remind myself regularly!!!)
What’s your favorite marketing tip or strategy?
Maintain personal relationships with editors and clients, quality not quantity – if you manage do both! :-), never give up, believe in the fact that what you have to offer is wanted and needed.
What new projects have you got coming down the pike?
A very cute gnome story; David and Goliath, a series about animal patterns for very small kids. Next week I will be attending the Frankfurt Book Fair, maybe some new things work out there…
And this ends the Mini-Interview with Constanze. Thank you so very much, Constanze! You are closing my series with the prettiest bow!
But we are not completely done yet. We still have 3 more fantastic interviews for this week and year:
- Jeremy Holmes on Wednesday visiting Molly’s blog
- Alexandra Ball on Thursday stopping by Mikela’s blog, and,
- G. Brian Karas on Friday dropping in at Laura’s blog
This post is part of the Mini-Interview Series where 4 children’s illustrators interview other Children’s Illustrators and Author/Illustrators throughout the month of November. Our guests include:
- Kevan Atteberry
- Lynne Avril
- Alexandra Ball
- Alexandra Boiger
- David Christiana
- Kent Culotta
- Adam Gustavson
- Jeremy Holmes
- Brian Karas
- Kelly Light
- John Parra
- Greg Pizzoli
- Amanda Shepherd
- Mary Sullivan
- Constanze Von Kitzing
- Wendy Watson