Judith Loske – Detached but not Aloof
Some people are simply born with the gift to draw – and so it is with children’s book illustrator Judith Loske. Creating joyous pictures for children is her lifeblood. With the illustrations chosen for sale in our shop, she wants to let people who enjoy the extraordinary art of illustrations share in her candid observations. Just like Judith’s life as an artist, there’s also much to explore in her paintings – and we just can’t wait for you to see them!
Having grown up with ‘pencil in hand’ so to speak, for artist Judith Loske drawing has been an essential basic need since childhood. In the 1990s her artistic capabilities still needed honing. However, first sketches quickly turned into a respectable portfolio and the inexperienced artist turned into a successful, sought-after illustrator.
Judith’s skills were developed at the Ruhrakademie in North Rhine-Westphalia, where she studied illustration. It was here that she was first introduced to the artistic aspect of children’s books, which she found incredibly fascinating and which were to whet her appetite and passion for this art form. Henceforth she started focussing on producing mainly illustrations for children. The starting point was her dissertation, for which she illustrated her very own children’s book, which was to become a great success. The rather moving book, titled ‘Sadako’s Cranes’ would subsequently be published by the publishing house minedition and proved to be very popular with readers. It tells the real-life story of a little girl, who develops leukaemia in the wake of the Hiroshima atom bomb attack, and who believes that if she manages to make 1,000 origami cranes she will be granted a wish and be cured.
The book would mark a milestone in Judith Loske’s artistic career. It inspired her to keep drawing images for children, which – due to their thought-provoking contents – would also touch the hearts and minds of grown-ups. The design realisation of her illustrations tends to be unique and filled with great wit. A fact that instantly struck our publishing manager, Mandy Reinmuth, when she spotted Judith’s work at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2013.
After that it didn’t take long until we could welcome Judith Loske in our midst as an artist. Since then a lot has changed; by now we’ve travelled some of the way together and think now it’s time that you, too, should be able to share in the enjoyment of these inimitable works created by this artist and children’s book illustrator.
“I don’t think that I have discovered the artist in me – I rather think that the artist has found me. I simply cannot imagine doing anything else – creating paintings is just part of me and my life.”
Attention: Adventure ahead – a fairy tale’s a-coming!
When Judith gets started, the most beautiful fairy-tale creatures, the cutest animals and the most homely everyday-life scenarios that only a child could dream up arise from the drawing board. Most of the images in our shop show Thumbelina dancing beside a very busy Red Riding Hood, cat and mouse being the closest of friends and children getting together for a picnic in a sun-drenched garden. Being an ardent cat lover, ever so often a soft and fluffy cat’s paw suddenly appears, adorning Judith Loske’s illustrations
The young artist loves to let the world appear through rose-tinted glasses by giving the charming characters in her picture stories cute little button noses and fairy wings. Many intricate little details for each of her characters ensure they all have their own distinct personality traits. The ideal world represented in Judith Loske’s illustrations mirrors her own deep longing for harmony.
Away from children’s book illustrations, Judith occasionally enjoys the freedom of creating images that simply follow her own imagination. Unburdened by any kind of editorial specifications and without the need to draw with a certain target group in mind, the artist finds that her imagination has free reign and it’s when she’s most creative. This free-spirited imagination is exactly what inspires Judith Loske to create new work – and she believes it is sadly what many adults have lost and lack in their lives. Every day the artist enchants both young and old with her illustrations by letting them share in her creativity.
Putting images together to tell a story
Judith Loske’s unique style is characterised by her great attention to detail. When drawing, she often loses herself rendering fine fur structures, or works for hours on end on a very elaborate background. In the early days it used to be different, she recalls. In order for the individual characters to stand out, she tended to keep the background rather sparse. Nowadays Judith achieves a coherent overall composition by letting her characters interact with their environment in the foreground. This adds a second narrative level to her motifs, whereby the viewer gets the impression of watching a short story. And this, by the way, is not as far-fetched as it seems: as a child Judith used to dream of becoming a writer.
Fine lines and intuitive structures have been part of her artistic signature since the beginning. Over the course of her creative career she gradually dared to deploy more complex techniques and started exploring new topics, developing a more ‘detached’ style.
We can’t wait to see what Judith has up her sleeve for us and her fans in future, and what kind of images will be added to her artist’s page in our shop.
“In a hectic world such as the one we live in today, we ought to take more time to enjoy the small, the beautiful moments – and that’s something I try to express in my paintings.”
From idea to masterpiece
To engage with the images that form in one’s head – for Judith Loske that is the key to unlocking creativity. For her it’s enough, though, to bring the image to paper somehow. All that matters is that the theme represented reflects her personal feelings, her style and her motivations. Judith draws inspiration from the everyday items that surround her.
When working on her illustrations, Judith first starts with a bit of doodling, before developing these doodles into an initial, more detailed sketch. After some research she transfers the sketch onto watercolour paper and starts painting the image.
For the graphical part of realising the image she prefers using a variety of media, such as coloured pencils, gouache, acrylic paints and watercolour, as well as Gelli plates – gelatine printing plates that are good for creating structures. Sometimes, however, she even uses such mundane aids as tea or coffee. Working with a computer or graphics tablet offers the artist the option to make adjustments in colour or contrast retrospectively, remove stains or correct mistakes that would otherwise compromise the image.
More than anything, though, Judith Loske likes the physical qualities, i.e. being able to feel the structure of the paper, perceive the smell of the colours or draw inspiration from the mess on her desk. Finally holding the finished article in one’s hands is for Judith Loske the most beautiful moment in the whole making process of the illustration.
“Especially when you have the feeling that everything’s been done before, you have to have the courage to say: Well alright, but it hasn’t been done this way, not the way I do it!”
Where creativity is at home
As an illustrator Judith Loske shares the fate of all creatives – she gets rather lonely sometimes. Before throwing herself into a new project, Judith makes sure her workspace is tidy. If she then, in the calm of an afternoon, starts working and doesn’t stop until the early hours, her ginger Maine Coon tomcat, called Araki, often keeps her company. This frequently causes quite a bit of chaos in her studio, which fits in rather well with all the bits of collage, the sheets of watercolour paper and paint stains all over floor and desk.
For the children’s book illustrator it’s not always easy to find the right balance between commissioned work and own work. Also, valuing the quality of one’s own work in times when orders are few and far between was something the artist had to get used to. Despite this she advises young artists not to undersell themselves and devalue their work so that they are able to make a living from it in the long run.
Last but not least
As far as children’s motifs are concerned, our illustrator proves that there’s no need for it to be Disney all the time! Instead of uniform faces with big large eyes, in Judith’s selection of images one finds human and animal characters, but also mythical creatures, which, when hanging on the kids’ bedroom wall, send the little ones dreaming. With paintings by Judith Loske you are gaining artworks for your home that are made by a genuine children’s book illustrator.
For her art represents a great chance to give meaning to the insatiable imagination of your inner child – and this imagination simply is contagious!
We would like to thank Judith Loske for sharing her inspiring story with us and hope to be seeing more of her versatile and colourful paintings, which you can discover in our shop, soon. Until then we shall accompany Thumbelina on her adventures, help the tiny fairy with her gardening and attentively listen to the silent breathing of the sleeping fox.
Discover more motifs by Judith Loske
A Home without a Cat is just a House