Dienstag, 24. Dezember 2013

The big Christmas wrap up

... a wonderful Hoiday season to all of you!

Christmas and me started a race this year...I guess I made it.

Happily wrapping the presents in. Deck the halls!

Love and peace!


Sonntag, 1. Dezember 2013

100 ways to paint a bird...

Happy, proud and thrilled about my portrait of the golden eagle Arras of the falconry Rudolph Pauels being published in Felix Scheinberger's latest book "Illustration - 100 Wege einen Vogel zu malen" ("Illustration - 100 ways to paint a bird")

The 328 pages containing book gives an encompassing survey of the field of illustration covering strategies for inspiration, different techniques as well as themes as selfmarketing, selfesteem, portfolio, pricing and negotiation strategies.

It is lushly illustrated, featuring illustrator's like Klaus Ensikat, Wolf Erlbruch, Tomi Ungerer, Moebius and Gary Baseman, broadcasting the diversity of different illustration styles through the connecting theme of birds.

I'm deeply impressed by the outstanding quality  of the book, published by Herrman Schmidt, Mainz 
and am convinced that this book will become the state of the art reference book for illustration in Germany.
(To be reviewed soon ;-D)

Thanks again, Felix! Chapeau!

Dienstag, 15. Oktober 2013

"We went on an adventure!!"

there and back again - holiday adventures of a bunch of hobbits.

We've been to the Odenwald in Hesse and stayed on a medieval castle, Burg Breuberg, next to Höchst. An excellent point to start out expeditions for the bones of Fafnir the dragon, stonetrolls in the felsenmeer of Reichenbach and other questes.

Here are some of the sketchbookpages:

I'm not a real Hobbit: I still need my boots....

Burg Breuberg with it's 12th century Bergfried

view from our room

view from the castle's original kitchen, today a study room

the "blockfield" or "Felsenmeer" in Reichenbach

the bear was very close at the animal's enclosure in Weilburg...he made a run after i layed in the first washes >Alas!< The signature in the lower right is by wildlife cameraman Andreas Kieling,  who I bumped into one week later at the bookfair in Frankfurt

Capricorn in Weilburg

finally extensive drawing at the Senckenbergmuseum in Frankfurt; Triceratops

asian Elephant (left) and northamerican Mastodon (right)




I love the ancient elephants...

and one guy shouldn't miss...although....it's a cast

Donnerstag, 26. September 2013

Interview with Les Edwards

I feel honoured that legendary Fantasy and Science Fiction Illustrator Les Edwards  put his brushes aside for a moment to answer some of my curious questions.
Here they come:

When and why did you make the decision to become a professional illustrator in the field of Fantasy and Science Fiction?
I don't think I ever made a positive decision to become an illustrator. It was a chance that came along and I thought I'd give it a shot. It was believed at my Art School that it was impossible to make a living as an illustrator and so I didn't expect it to last. Then, suddenly, it was twenty years later and people began to talk about my "Career in Illustration"

Les Edwards, "Lovecraft in Britain"

Which themes (e.G. sword and sorcery, weird fiction, Science Fiction etc.) do you enjoy most working on?
What is it that attracts you about them?

Generally I feel most at home working in Horror but the specific genre is not terribly important so long as there is a high level of weirdness. I've always been attracted to the strange and grotesque and I suppose you could say that I've never grown up.

  "Black Charade", Cover for the second book in the Dr. Caspian series by John Burke. Published by Coronet. Les' interpretation of Dr. Caspian inspired German Fantasy author Wolfgang Hohlbein to create victorian researcher "Robert Carter - the warlock of Salem", published with the same cover by Bastei Lübbe, Germany.

When you look back on 40 years of experience in Fantasy-illustration:
what would you say has changed in the meantime within the Genre?
What were the most important twists in the industry from your point of view?

Of course, the introduction of digital technology had a huge effect but the real change is in the success of the genre itself. When I began illustrating there was no "Fantasy Industry" as there is now. You could not describe yourself as a "Fantasy Artist" because no one would understand what you meant. Comics were for kids, Science Fiction was for weirdoes and very few people in the UK had heard of Conan the Barbarian. Michael Moorcock was writing his books about Elric and Dorian Hawkmoon but that was about it. Now Fantasy is everywhere, TV, movies, games and of course endless books about teenage vampires. It's hard to remember that at one time this kind of material was rare. I expect there will eventually be a backlash and Fantasy will fall out of favour. After all, does the world really need another Superhero movie?

There's a huge discussion going on whether young artists should offer traditional painting techniques as well or whether to use right away digital tools to produce their artwork. What's your opinion towards that issue?

You can't escape the digital world and I would expect any young person coming into the field to use digital media. I think it's a shame because my love is painting and, whatever anyone says, there is really no comparison between working with real paint and using a computer. That's just my opinion though, because I have spent a lifetime learning to paint. The reality is that the world is now digital and there is no going back.

"Caverns of the snow witch", Commissioned by Puffin for one of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series

To research your material, do you use models, maquettes or photographs as visual back up?
I read that you did some of your pieces completely from imagination.
How do you train your visual vocabulary, your imaginative muscles, to do so?

I use a lot of photographic reference. It's very important, if you are painting something that does not exist in reality, to give it a sense of conviction, so photography can be important for lighting, anatomy and real-world details. What I never do is photograph something and just copy the photo. What's the point in that? The most important thing is to draw, and keep on drawing; that's true even for digital artists.

"Heroquest", Copyright © MB Games, 1988. Heroquest was a fantasy role-playing game aimed at kids.

What is your most important advice for aspiring artists and students who want to break into the field? 

Don't expect to get rich.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions!

"Triple Zombie", Les Edwards

All picture material in this blog post is courtesy of Les Edwards.

Official website of Les Edwards

Mittwoch, 24. Juli 2013

15 years "Chronicles of the Immortals"

LYX Egmont has published a small video about the Wolfgang-Hohlbein get together at the Leipzig bookfair, where I drew a quick Water colour sketch of Dieter Winkler and Wolfgang Hohlbein.
In the video you can see me doing the drawing.
I wasn't quick enough to escape the camera team, so you can see a bit of an interview they did with me in the end.

These are the sketches I did on the event (as posted before):

I have to admit that I feel much more comfortable behind my drawing board than in front of a camera...which I think one can pretty much hear in the vid. ;-P

Previously on "Alles Zeichnen":

Everything Lovecraft 

Direct Link to the video by LYX Egmont on youtube:

Mittwoch, 5. Juni 2013


I had a great day with the team of the strategy-agency diffferent.  I used a small break to sketch the beautiful view. From their rooftop you can see the tracks of line U1 leading over schlesische Straße.

Sonntag, 2. Juni 2013

Momo, Michael Ende and the money-go-round

This year the 40th anniversary of Michael Ende's children book classic "Momo" is being celebrated.

Michael Ende dealt for a long time with philosophical questions about the monetary system especially with  Rudolf Steiner' s and Silvio Gesell's thought system of social threefolding which is based on ideas by Wilhelm von Humboldt, summarized in his 1792 essay "über die Grenzen der Wirksamkeit des Staates" ("the Sphere and Duties of Government (the limits of State Action)").

Ende discussed those ideas already at the beginning of the 1980's in interviews with e.G. the artist Joseph Beuys ("Kunst und Politik") and politician Erhard Eppler ("Phantasie, Kultur, Politik").

In an elaborate documentation of Sat1.Bayern the contemporary relevance of "Momo" is now highlighted, among others with proof of a letter conversation between macro economist Werner Onken and Ende.

Onken wrote an essay interpreting "Momo" in an economical context. He sent his essay to Michael Ende asking wether he was right with his analysis and received the following answer:

"Dear Mr Onken,

Thank you very much for your letter and for sending me your essay! I am very lucky that you understood my book so well, especially concerning it's esoterical and economical background.

By the way, you are the first one to realize that the idea of aging money dwells in the background of my book MOMO. During the last years I had been deeply involved with precisely these thoughts of Steiner and Gesell since I have come to the conviction, that the whole of our cultural question cannot be solved without solving the money problem at the same time or even before.

May I call your attention at this opportunity to the book „Geld und Magie*“ by professor Binswanger, published by Edition Weitbrecht. I believe it could be of great interest to you.
Once again my cordially thanks.

With kind regards

Michael Ende"

As Ende's longtime friend and publisher Roman Hocke states in the documentary: If Michael Ende would hear about the actual discussion and understanding of Momo today he would presumably say:

You can find the whole German langauge essay of Werner Onken here

Link to the German language documentary by Sat1.Bayern.

The drawn animations in the film were done by Berlin based illustration/animation artist Danae Diasz

"Geld und Magie" ("money and magic") by Hans Chr. Binswanger: an economical interpretation of Goethe's "Faust"


Donnerstag, 30. Mai 2013

Adolph Menzel on Franz von Lenbach

Adolph Menzel's judgement on art was harsh; the bar he'd raised for himself and his fellow artists was incredibly high.
Some of his hard judgement on the work of his contemporairies is passed on.
According to Joachim von Küremberg his judgement on Franz von Lenbach was as follows:

"Among many irrelevant things there are some rare cliffs that are standing out of the floods! - The main mishap with Lenbach is that he cannot draw, one only has to look at his laces, decoration and uniforms. They are painted completely nonchalant and really lousy! (...) This bavarian Franzl is painting on every tuesday- and friday afternoon a picture of Bismarck after an enlarged photography which he is tracing, then he is painting in the eyes, at the most he's merely sketching in the face and mumbles the rest altogether in a brown sauce; for doing so this barbarian receives thirtythousand marks."

(quoted from Gisold Lammel, "Anekdoten über die kleine Exzellenz", Berlin 1989)

Franz von Lenbach, Bismarck with hat, 1880

In this context I find it plausible and worth mentioning that Menzel is the only painter for whom David Hockney could surely proove in his book "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters" that he didn't use photographies or the help of projectors for his drawings.

Wikipedia article on Adolph Menzel

Wikipedia article on Franz von Lenbach

David Hockney's "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters" on Amazon

Dienstag, 28. Mai 2013

official partners

I'm thrilled to anounce that I am the official partner of Heel publishing, the German publisher of John Howe's Fantasy Art workshop to give art instruction lessons based on his books.

More infos to follow soon on


Montag, 27. Mai 2013


Sisyphus by Titian, 1548/49

"When Sisyphus comes to understand that it's the process that matters more than the result, he's not doomed anymore."

Michael Ende, "the archaeology of darkness - interviews on art and the work of the painter Edgar Ende", pg 29

"Wenn Sisyphus begreift, daß die Tätigkeit wichtiger ist als das Ergebnis, dann ist er nicht mehr verdammt."

Michael Ende, "Die Archäologie der Dunkelheit - Gespräche über Kunst und das Werk des Malers Edgar Ende", S. 29

Freitag, 19. April 2013


Raimar Heber, head of the dpa-infografik graphic design department organises a monthly get together of Graphic Designers, Illustrators and other visually communicating folks in Berlin, choosing from a broad range of topics that mainly focus on different approaches of visual communication.

Yesterday we were introduced to Tatjana Thierbach, who is one of the few professional practitioners of the Benesh Movement Notation system in Germany.

Coming from the classical ballett movement notation is used in many diferent instances where the communication of complex movements with others or to pass choreographies on to later generations is used.
Younger than other notation systems the first known attempts to write down movements date back to the court of Louis XIV, le Roi Soleil.
 It is mainly used to help the choreographer in classical ballet. Other fields are as well in filmmaking and also as a helpful tool for physiotherapists, where the langauge developped it's very own complex forms.

 Tatjana studied at John Cranko's Ballet school in Stuttgart where she met Uwe Scholz, who was very much influenced by John Cranko.
Cranko relied very much on the Benesh Notation System, which inflamed Scholz to use it for his choreographies as well. Tatjana decided to study the system and became a close assistant to Scholz and after his untimely passing away an important preserver of his cultural heritage.

The Notation system itself equals the classical notation system with five staves and barlines.
You can find free introductory videos to the system online on dancewrite.com.

We gathered at the lovely Café Blume, close to Volkspark Hasenheide in Neukölln.
The Café is run by Tatjana and her partner, who is touring with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, based on the idea to fill a gap they faced with their kids and to develop a family friendly Café with a playing area for kids close to the park.

Lovely place, wonderful people and a great evening.

Thanks a lot, Tatjana and Raimar for arranging this truly enchanting event!

Dienstag, 9. April 2013

An interview with Rien Poortvliet

A couple of days ago my friend Christoph Heuer  sent me a link to this video featuring an interview with the famous dutch animal and landscape painter
Rien Poortvliet.

Most known for his scientific take on "Gnomes" his work encompasses as well books on the dutch history, hunt, horses and wildlife.

Most of his books have the characteristics of an explorers diary, with a sketchy loose approach.

There is an elaborate post on Poortvliet and his work featuring the video on Armand Carbrera's blog "Art and influence"

Montag, 8. April 2013

Warriors and Warlords

Today I received my copy of Angus McBride's "Warriors and Warlords"

Which completely blew me away.
It does not only feature McBride's outstanding illustrations for Osprey publishing but the foreword comes also with excerpts from elaborate interviews that Martin Windrow conducted with him.

There are a couple of great insights to his painting technique and his process (the main body of his work is done in gouache) as well as on the business side of the life of an illustrator.

I can warmly recommend to go for that book!

The interview closes with some words of wisdom for the aspiring artist, which I found very helpful for me:

"let's just say: there is no substitute for lifedrawing classes. They may be 'detrimental to the free flow of inspiration...' - but unless students are actually taught how to draw, God knows how the poor little devils ever expect to make a living. (...)
You have to learn thoroughly the basic mechanics of reproduction and publishing. You have to learn how to meet a deadline. And perhaps, most of all, you have to be a kind of frustrated teacher, always itching to pass things on, to share them and make them plainer - because in the long run, that's what illustration is for.
In the end I can't say much more than, find a subject that genuinely excites you, illustrate it as well as you can, and show your work to every agent and publisher you can track down. And, of course, you have to accept that the learning process is going to last for the rest of your life."

Angus McBride

Sonntag, 7. April 2013

cheapest way to get a glass palette

If you're working in oils you will want to have a decent palette.

I was thinking of how to build a glass palette (which is easy to clean, plus you can put a neutral gray background behind it; which is helpful to see the true colours without them being altered by the wooden colour or white of a handheld palette) for my taboret until I found this extremely helpfull website about the selfmade classical atelier at home by illustrator Björn Gschwendtner .

The solution is facepalmingly simple, logical and ingenious:
buy a simple frame for pictures, put a gray cardboard or whatever colour you work with to tone your panels or canvasses as a background and there you go:


Samstag, 6. April 2013


The first kickstarter campaign I ever supported was Paula Cole's album project "Raven".

Yesterday I downloaded the album and I love it through and through.
It was as well Paula Cole's birthday.
(Happy belated birthday!!)
The sound and the songs of the album are brilliant, she's weaving her songs and themes with wonderfully earthy colours.

Here's a watercolour that I did last year, wondering what a cover for the album could look like:

You can listen to some excerpts of the album on Paula Cole's Webside.

Donnerstag, 4. April 2013

Collecting colours

If you're riding on a train or don't have enough time to do an elaborate study of a scene, there's still a fun thing one can do: fetching the colours of your view in small patches.
Over the time you can thus gather a whole library of colour mixtures that you can later use in final works.

This collection of patches came from my view out of the train, while driving back to Berlin.

The scenery was pretty clear with a bit of dusk above the horizon, open fields were changing with small patches of forests.

I found that hint in Felix Scheinberger's "Wasserfarben für Gestalter" ("water colours for designers")

Mittwoch, 3. April 2013

sketchbook pages from Cologne

Back from my visit in Cologne, where I met with long not seen friends and family.
We had a great time.

Here are some of the sketchbookpages from our visit: