«With the app, I’m exploring the possibilities of digitalization in the field of children’s books»
Hi Alice, can you briefly introduce yourself?
From 2008 to 2013, I studied visual communication, illustration, and art teaching in Lucerne and Strasbourg. Since graduating, I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator and designer. I do illustrations for magazines, I design posters, and work with publishers; in addition, I regularly pursue my own projects.
What does your normal work day look like?
I usually start around 9am. I answer emails and afterwards, I plan the rest of what needs to be done. Then I get to work!
For some time now, you’ve been working in a very nice new studio in Berne, your hometown. How does it feel to be «back home»?
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on two projects: one is an app for my children’s story «grau blau miau,» which I will present at the «Bestform» exhibition by the Berne Design Foundation. The other is a publication for the Swiss Youth Literature Foundation (Schweizerisches Jugendschriftenwerk SJW).
Can we talk about your design process? When a new assignment reaches your mailbox, what happens next?
Each new job or project begins with research. Before drawing anything, I read a lot about the topic and I look for the areas that I’m interested in. I put down my ideas in my notebook, very pragmatically – unfortunately, I don’t have a pretty, illustrated sketchbook, at least not for my daily work.
By approaching the thematic content in this way, I get ideas for the formal realization. In a first step, I narrow these ideas down, then I choose a specific image or design idea. So, I look for a kind of solution for the project, and if people understand the solution, I’m very satisfied.
Do you have a favorite technique?
As far as production goes, there are many. Silk-screen printing offers options for production that are hard to compare with any other printing technique, and the range of materials you can print on is huge. I also like the haptical aspect and the handy application. Although I have been printing since I was teenager, I don’t see myself getting bored with it anytime soon.
What inspires and drives you?
During my studies, I mainly wanted to publish illustrations in magazines or design print products such as flyers and posters. But after the first few jobs, I realized how quickly flyers and newspapers land in the trash. That’s why I started working on projects with a longer lifespan.
With my story «grau blau miau» I discovered the book. Designing a book posed a lot of new questions with regard to content, materials, options in production.
In 2016, you were nominated for the Swiss Design Award, which gave you the first opportunity to exhibit the book «grau blau miau» at the Messe Basel. The rhymes were written by renowned Swiss author Raphael Urweider. How did this collaboration come about?
For the Swiss Design Awards, I wanted to present an overview of my commissioned works, such as the brochures and posters for Schauspielhaus Zurich, as well as some independent works – the story was part of the independent works. There was still a lot to do before June, but the exhibition gave me a deadline for a project that I’d been carrying around with me for some time.
I initially contacted Raphael Urweider for a traditional copy-editing job, but when he showed me his first lines, it was clear that I wanted him to do the writing. I’m very happy that he collaborated with me on this story. The rhythm of the rhymes works really well with the visual language, and they leave a lot of room for imagination.
Now you’re working on a digital sequel. How did the app for this book come about?
Two years ago, I designed a digital guided tour for an exhibition, with virtual reality. The guide app and all the other digital tools I got to know through the project gave me a lot of ideas for my own works. Thanks to the funding I’ve received, I can realize one of them now.
Can you describe and explain this project to us?
The children’s book is about leaving home, arriving in a new and unknown place, and about the search for a sense of belonging.
With the app, I’m exploring the possibilities of digitalization in the field of children’s books. It makes the story of «grau blau miau» interactive, with a game that allows you to create your own version. The children can assemble their own world with elements from the story, bringing their own ideas to it. The images created in this way are uploaded to the platform www.graublaumiau.ch.
And you’re going to introduce this app at the «Bestform» exhibition?
Yes, exactly, as part of the exhibition showing the works funded by the Berne Design Foundation, from 24 March to 30 April 2017 at the Kornhausforum in Berne.
Digitalization offers interesting new possibilities. It’s great that you initiated your own app for exploring them, even though you’re very much rooted in the print and analog world. How important is it in your case that the children know the printed book before using the app?
To me, a book has a value that simply cannot be replaced by an app. Touching a publication, turning the pages, and maybe smelling the printing ink is a much more immediate experience than using an app. And you can’t compare the color depth of a 4-color Pantone print with a flat digital display. When it comes to reading a story in a family, I still think the book comes first – an iPad creates too much distance.
On the other hand, the sounds, animations, and fine motor activity of an app stimulate other senses, and kids can explore stories and learning content more independently. I imagine that the independent work with an iPad initiates a learning process with kids, and I find it interesting to work with this interface.
The question is how to create this basis when developing an app. In my app, for instance, there are interactive elements and a building game, where kids can use their own ideas. Maybe that’s a possibility.
What would your dream assignment be?
I get excited about lots of things. I especially enjoy jobs that go beyond realizing a visual idea. At the moment, I’m interested in multimedia, but if a project offered the opportunity to create a large sculpture or design a space – why not!
What’s next for you?
Who knows, maybe a large sculpture?
© Anna Haas
© Anna Haas
© Anna Haas
© Alice Kolb
© Anna Haas
© Alice Kolb
© Anna Haas
© Alice Kolb
Illustrated poster of "Solaris," a science fition novel by Stanislaw Lem.
Ratio, 60 x 85 cm
Produced following an invitation to the BDfil Comicfestival in Lausanne, the publication collects an selection of previous separatly publisched comic short stories by Philip Schaufelberger.
This novel is a perfect addition to short stays in a reception room!
Graphic Novel, 70 pages, in english.
In this book, 15 female illustrators share their dreams. These dreams were listened to by groups of children from Spain and Switzerland, who were the first illustrators of the dreams. The final illustrations are a collaboration between the dreamers (professional illustrators) and the kids (professional dreamers).
Printed in 2 Pantone colours, open stitch binding w/ glue
Translated to English and Spanish - handwritten dreams in illustrators native language
Art Direction by Roger Omar (E) & Rina Jost (CH)
Published by Ginnungagap & elmonstruodecoloresnotieneboca, 2018
Pigment Prints on Hahnemühle paper.
Pigment Prints on Hahnemühle paper, framed, 91x121cm.
The Galerie Idea Fixa presents the 2013 work collection of Michael Meister which is on display for the first time.
The tableaux are digital paintings: Meister first draws by hand with Indian ink and paints thereafter using an interactive monitor.
The “Interiors” of Michael Meister tries to invoke the moment where the hierarchies between humans, space and nature are suspended. Thereby the detail serves as a membrane.
The internal space defines the outside. By reducing the content of the pictures the artist creates a floating state between reality and fantasy, between the possible and the impossible. The depictions are nested in space and suggest a balance between closeness and distance. Frequently they focus on functional elements which carry no meaning in themselves. But the simple aesthetics places them into a suggestive context such as a door handle in front of the wide open sky. If the viewer takes one step back the paintings gain a narrative quality and tell a story – if he approaches the pictures impart feelings of forlornness and sobriety. The light incidence is of major importance and the coloring seeks to evoke different emotions – mostly melancholia.
The floor painting is an installation specially designed for the gallery: the visitor steps into the the episode und becomes part of the art work.
The work of Michael Meister relates polarities or contrasts such as color and light, poignancy and vagueness, surfaces and lines as well as covering and glazing surface.
Anina Michel, August 2013
Posters for some of my favourite fantasy classics
Patches, originally designed for Fizzen
26 fully animated stickers for iMessage.
«The Meaning of Life» includes twelve stories, and every comic tells about an other meaning of life.
„So sieht’s aus bei der Frau“ means translated "that's what it looks like with the women". It is an illustrated booklet about the female genitals. It was created in collaboration with sexual education worker, gynaecologists a scientific illustrator.
Here you find more information:
Bowls, dishes and plates printed, dishwasher-safe. Prices on request. www.gabikopp.ch
The persian cookbook includes 80 recipes, stories and portraits about the cooks and many colourfull pictures. Gabi Kopp travelled in Iran and cooked with the people in their private homes. Besides there are typically restaurants, manufacturers or a wedding portraied.
Istanbul is a melting pot where the most diverse culinary traditions meet and mingle – so it’s small wonder that the Turkish cuisine should count among the best in the world. Gabi Kopp interviewed Istanbul housewives and street traders, restaurant cooks and authors of cookery books and jotted down their best recipes.
Turkish cuisine owes its diversity to the many cultures that were once represented in the Ottoman Empire. And Istanbul, this year’s vibrant culture capital of Europe, is a place where these traditions are kept very much alive.
During her rambles through the Turkish metropolis Gabi Kopp watched the cooks in the kitchens, drawing them, and noting their recipes the while: there’s the Armenian woman compiling a cookery book and who obviously has to try everything for herself, a Kurd who cooks for his wife, a ninety-year-old Greek who visits his favourite restaurant, the "Meyhane", every day. Not forgetting a Laz woman, a Michelin-starred chef, a sephardic Jew, Turkish women from the shores of the Black Sea, from Anatolia or the Marmara region – Muslims, Jews and Christians.
To round things off, there’s a detailed index and a Turkish glossary.
A picturebook, a reading book and a cookbook
hoi ceramic is a collaboration of potter Robi Wehrle and the Illustration duo It’s Raining Elephants (Evelyne Laube & Nina Wehrle). Traditional craftsmanship meets young design, playful ideas finds clear form language. The pottery of hoi enchants through narrative wit and formal cleverness. We produce series in small numbers. Every individual hand thrown and painted pottery is unique.
Have you ever wondered if your friend's dog, chasing his own tail, your neighbour's fat cat, eating all day, and the apparently pervert mating behaviour of your girlfriend's turtle are normal? What's happening to our pets? This book presents deranged pets and gives advice from the complex field of pet psychology.
Postcards are available in my webshop
Lilo and Balz are the Best friends, going through thick and thin together.
28 one-page-stories about theire adventures.
ISBN 978-3-033-03541-6, Hardcover, 64 pages. Self edition.
Since 2017 also as SJW-booklet available.
Marine Life Posters
Des lignes fortes, des formes et douces et une folle imagination.
L’illustratrice germano-suisse Anja Denz crée des portraits de femmes élégantes et sûres d’elles, avec en toile de fond une luxuriante forêt tropicale. Après l’Université d’Art de Berlin, où elle a été diplômée d’un master en communication visuelle, Anja a commencé en tant que graphiste avant de revenir à son premier amour : le dessin. Toutes ses œuvres sont dessinées à la main, puis quelques touches sont ajoutées par Photoshop. Son travail a été exposé à travers toute la Suisse, et elle a récemment été nommée parmi les 200 meilleurs illustrateurs du monde par Luerzer’s Archive. Au vu de sa passion pour les plantes, son client de rêve serait un jardin botanique.
An illustrated book of fairytales about the obsession with beauty and anorexia.
A fairy tale about a serious problem: When the wish for happiness and perfection ends with the one question, to eat or not to eat.
Natalie Springhart: text
Stefanie Beyeler: illustrations and layout
with a preface by Dr. med. Bettina Isenschmid
Hardcover, 112 pages, illustrations in color
My new art book costs $ 39 (plus $ 15 shipping).
88 mostly colored pages. Hardcover.
Michael Kaluta gave me a beautiful work of his art and has writen the introduction:
“Who is this Dead Guy?” I asked myself. He had to be dead: One: every gifted nuance of the portrait attested to it having originated during one of the long-gone Golden Ages of Representational Art. Hence, the artist had to have passed on, died, decades, if not centuries, ago joining the pantheon of brilliant artists in the Salon of the Skies. Two: if he wasn’t dead, if he was a living, breathing, still-producing Art Master, then I would track him down and murder him. So: a dead guy one way or another."
Ramen is a knitted sweater by Tobias Gutmann limited to an edition of 25, manufactured in Germany using 100% extra fine merino wool.
Initially inspired by the undulation of water, the pattern evidently became one of a long and tedious ramen noodle. A metaphor on how well, we humans, are able to adjust to the hazards of life, zigzagging between this wavy path and the predominant importance of food in social interactions – or how we identify and adjust to it over time. With this sweater Tobias creates a wearable art piece and starts a discrete yet recognizable community around his artistic production. Each sweater is at the beginning of a social collection while – at the same time – the collector-wearer creates his own.
A3 Riso Prints
Ceramics have always really fascinated me. It is a bit like a mix between alchemy and baking cakes. I create simple decorative and narrative tiles, occasionally bowls and vessels. I apply colour through hand-cut stencils (or screen-printing) directly onto the porcelain. The botanical designs and narratives happen quite accidentally, each ‘plant’ consists of a separate shape. Foreground and backgrounds are very important; the layering of different coloured designs allow me to to achieve depth.