Monday, February 18, 2013

An interview (and *ahem* art critique) with illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger

Last week I had the honour of meeting, for the second time, one of the world’s most acclaimed artists, Lisbeth Zwerger. I don’t have much of a memory of our first meeting as I was about five and only really interested in the fact that she gave me a present – a copy of The Nutcracker… that she had illustrated! The perks of having an illustrator as a friend of the family!

Lisbeth has been illustrating the Classics, like Grimm & Andersen fairy tales, for over 30 years and has won multiple awards including the coveted Hans Christian Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award and is currently nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lingren Award - it’s like the Oscar of the childrens’ literature scene.

She’s in Perth on a whirlwind holiday after attending the opening of her latest exhibition in Taiwan where she shook hands with hundreds of devoted fans and signed all their books, no doubt getting a serious case of “autograph-signers-cramp”. And if you’re going to suffer from that, best you do it in a Louis Vuitton store, no? Makes the pain go away much quicker.

I had the opportunity for a tongue-in-cheek interview with Lisbeth, and considering she’s famous and used to actual reporters interviewing her, I was most impressed that she agreed… particularly since it actually just turned in to a bit of a chat since my interview skills are null and void.

Clockwise from top: Image from The Little Mermaid, Lisbeth trying not to laugh at my art, signing the giveaway book,
a selection of Lisbeth's books, the giveaway book, the Louis Vuitton store signing, signature inside the book,
We laughed about how her favourite thing to draw when she was little was princesses so it was only fitting she go on to illustrate books with princesses, goblins and giants and whatnot. Shows extreme dedication to all things magical, I think!

I asked her advice about keeping Tricky’s “works of art” since I will have them coming out of my ears soon. With a sage nod she suggested relying heavily on the grandparents and their fridge. Clever woman indeed! Sadly not many of her early drawings survived, I suppose because every parent thinks their child is super talented but you don’t actually envision them becoming an uber famous artist! Plus eBay didn’t exist then.

On words of wisdom for up and coming illustrators, she had this recommendation: “Believe in yourself but stay self critical”.

But it was time to get on to the serious business of getting my own “illustration” (and I use that term really loosely) critiqued, after a suggestion from Blundermum. I handed my art work over and, bless her, she tried her hardest not to laugh.

I'm gonna put this on eBay "as critiqued by Lisbeth Zwerger"!
Lisbeth described my work as bold and purposeful, with no hesitation in the strokes, and abstract, yet understandable. I think I’m going to use that as my new tag line, it’s the best thing anyone has ever said about me!

Lisbeth is currently working on “Leonce and Lena” to help celebrate author Georg Buechner’s 200th birthday (happy birthday, dude), and her works are available for purchase at, or or through your favourite book shop. Signed prints are available through and

Lisbeth has kindly donated a signed copy of her award winning book “Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales” for one lucky reader to win.

To enter, use the form below to tell me your favourite story when you were growing up or the one you love reading to your children now.

*For full terms and conditions please see here
*This is not sponsored in any way, Lisbeth is a friend of the family and on hearing from my aunty that I had a blog, decided that it might be fun to be on it!


  1. I CAN COMMENT! Yay, great giveaway, and OMG, your pictures rock. (Do I mean Lisbeth's or Glowless's? I'll let you decide.)

  2. I'm totally assuming you mean mine.

  3. Trae are you commenting on your own post?!?

  4. Ahh, Glow, what artistic talent you posses! Perhaps I should try my luck as it could run in the family? =P
    Seriously, how could I grow up with Hans Christian Andersen books and not know of this lady? I am deeply ashamed! =S

  5. She's much more famous in Europe. Like walk down the street and get recognized famous.

  6. Wow, how chic. Well, at least I can blame my Aussie naivety for no knowing a celeb. XD


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