Christmas impressions...

I know I should post more art but the last days week was loaded with preparations for Christmas and driving around a lot since neither my in-laws nor my parents happen to live in Berlin.

 Morning at the border to Poland. Seriously I can't remember having seen such a wonderful dawn on Christmas morning. It was pretty amazing.

Preparations for the dinner are in my parents' household always... kinda nightmarish. If you ever had the chance (or bad luck) to grate fresh horseradish -and I mean garden fresh- you know how bad I want to avoid having horseradish duty. These stinkers are literally deadly. The smell and essence clog your lungs, sting in your eyes and make breathing so hard you just want to throw it out the window.
 The culprit.... I hate the horseradish a lot but dang, freshly prepared it tastes thousand times better than anything from the supermarket.

 Nature at it's best. Quail's eggs- nearly too beautiful to eat.We did it anyway... ._.

Oh it sparkles! My dad didn't like my glitter decoration that much but hey, if you leave tree decoration to a girl you have to prepare for glitter. At least this year no pink... :D
And here comes something we got this morning...
 A little package from the Czech Republic. :3 A big thanks to Danilo for the cookies and the little figurine. :D The figurine got tucked away into the side board and spooks all the Kulla figurines I got over the years.

We also got a cute christmas card from Marina. I feel bad I didn't manage to get my card printed but next year.... hopefully... meh! I should start earlier- the last minute jobs always kill the time frame for getting things done on time.

 And last but not least... a culinary adventure. I started preparing vanilla essence.

 After 24 hours it's so dark I had no idea how to get a proper shot. It will darken even more over the next days and hopefully in two weeks I have 1.3 litres vanilla essence which... might even last a year. 
If you wonder how it's done:
The recipe is in German- if you still want to try it and the automatic translation confuses you let me know. The preparation is really simple.:D

I already wish you a Happy New Year and hope you'll have an amazing 2014.


Oh December...

... and I still haven't managed to get all presents for Christmas. I guess we'll do last minute packing with awfulsome help of the cats who tend to be more or less pretty unhelpful.

I had some strange weeks. A lot of stuff's going on at work and though I thought the end of the year would be totally relaxing... it's not. Dang. I always wonder why this year was/is so strange.

But... things to look forward: January will be a month I like. I already know... since the Nürnberg board game fair is coming up and I busted my booty for it and I hope people will love the games. Ha!

Winter does something strange to me: I turn into a soup monster. I think I cooked 7 different soups in the last 7 days and I'm still not fed up with... soup. Gods, I love these. So many options. Having somebody at home who mostly eats everything (except the really wonky tests- Azuki beans... we both hate you) helps a lot.

Don't think I can post something without the cats. Today's weird cat picture....
Why do cats like freshly used sport clothes so much? Tretel's love for sweaty clothes is simply disgusting but since Hantje turns into a purring jellyblob when she finds a stinkin' shirt I can't point fingers at him. It's weird. Seriously. Our dog loved to roll around in cow patties and the cats crawl into the sports bag stinking like rotten eggs (thermal water- it smells strongly like sulfur). Sometimes I have no idea if I should be offended or laughing.

 Aaaand a new mug motive with Kulla. Didn't forget my little bunny girl. Especially since she'll turn 10 next year. Already. Oh noes.
You can find the illustration here on Deviantart if you want to have a closer look. I'm a bit depressed I still haven't done the fourth book but at least one children's book will be out next year... even if it's not for Tokyopop. And not even in Germany. Well, not really depressed about that part but I promise more bunny illustrations next year.


Just 1 1/2 pages left....

I'm tired and happy.... just one and a half illustrations left of the huge mountain I did in the last couple of weeks (over 85 illustrations alltogether in the last months...). What you see is a little details of one page. Signature clouds. No book without curly fluff on the heaven. :D It looks better when you have the complete page though...
I'm so looking forward to finish the last bunch and cross the last batch from my to-do list. The last X is always the most satisfying one.

I still have two interesting projects in December but one is more or less huge fun (Wendy... if you read this... yes, it's your stuff)  and the rest of the free time will spend with the things I love most: my hubby, family, lotsa reading, cooking galore for friends and sports (which I actually miss like hell... ). Oh December, I so am looking forward to seeing you on the calendar. :D


How do you know it's getting cold?

Hantje's favourite place in winter: The heater. It means less warmth for us but I think she pretty much couldn't care less if the fellows are freezing or not. I still have the usual problem with the room: In summer too hot, in winter too cold. Meaing I'm sitting with one of my hubby's cardigans, wool socks, a scarf and tea and still freezing fingers here while typing. Whereas Hantje is toasted on the heater. Sometimes I wish I could curl up on the heater as well. Duh.
 And that's how I know where Hantje is.... the omnious blob. She uses the curtain as a hammock. Clever girl. I'd be really happy if she also understood the room has two doors and you don't have to mew on the closed one and scratch for hours if the other one is open. Cat's logic, I guess.
Tretel is occupying the cat's bed next to my screens- still a pretty boy and still bat shit lazy. I took away his Slim Ball and he started pouting instantly. I love his love for the ball but seriously... if he kicks it constantly against my computer as if that'd make Dreamies apaer inside out of nowhere it's annoying. He doesn't understand the problem.
If you have a cat who tends to inhale food: Try the ball.
I only use the SlimCat for Tretel's Dreamies since he has a pretty unhealthy obsession with these but if your cat's crazy about kibbles and won't stop eating till it comes backwards: Try the ball. Really! It costs less than having to deal with the medical problems of a totally overweight cat and is easy to clean.
I tried different systems and boards but the ball's still the best and he's entertained for around 30 minutes and keeps moving around if I set the ball to the hardest level (lot of rolling around).



While cursing over stones and sandy landscapes and finally getting pretty sick of orange tones I'd like to show you these:

It's leggins with "Cloudy"- an old illustration of mine but still.... beautiful on legs. I hope I get mine in December and it's not too cold to wear these. :D

You can find all current products I offer on ArtOfWhere here: Click Me!
Let me know if you miss anything. I'll take care of it as soon as I can.

I will add some snuggly scarf designs in December when I have some more time. Currently I'm still working on one children's book (deadline next week... orz) and a manual for a board game we finished yesterday (deadline 29th.... double orz).


31 since Monday....

Monday the 31 thingie happened aka me celebrating my birthday.
And since pics (even the bad ones) say more than words.... some pictures as well.
I admit I dressed like a slob (still or again or.. like always). Thanks god we have no decent dress code in the studio otherwise I'd mourn the loss of oversized knit granny cardigans and comfy sweaters. So basically dressing up was "oh look... another... sweater... again!" and at least defuzzing my head. So that's 31-years-old me... but let's move on to more important things like... food.

One of the regular birthday duties: Feeding hungry fellows aka colleagues in the Studio (and mostly everybody else as well) with Pumpkin Crumble Chia cake. Yummy. I love pumpkin season.

Working.... a lot of people told me they take a day off on their bday. Since I'm up to my neck in deadlines it would have ment sitting alone at home, playing entertainment slave for Hantje and Tretel and still working my booty off. So I went to work. And I worked. And it was okay.
Before you ask: Yes, it's Agnes' "It's so fluffy!" unicorn which I got from Irene. Normally it's humping my tea box.

 After work my hubby and me went to a nice cozy restaurant ("Kid Creole"- which I can highly recommend) and met with two of my girls. Sadly the girls are camera shy... and my hubby as well. =.= Anyway, we had Jambalaya, Gumbo and basically it was so good I was sad I when my tummy screamed "stop, we're done!"
 Maike (who's my buddy in crime for Schmidt Spiele) gave me a small but wonderful collection of yummy things meant to produce even more yummy meals. My fingers itch to test the things.
And the evening ended with happy rolling around on the couch feeling like a stranded wale on a beach- tired but happy. I can't remember the last time I ate that much. Worth every bite and if you ever get the opportunity to visit the Kid Creole: do it.

So that's it. No family party this year since I'm still trying to meet every deadline and the week-end will be workloaded up to the max. It's a bit sad but I don't regret the decision (my mum was miffed though... ouch).


Hello Essen....

 My hubby and I... went to Essen and fangirled (I did at least) at the SPIEL. And though it was exhausting it was heaps of fun. I wish I could write a bit more about it but honestly it has to wait till the end of November when three four deadlines are over.
I should be inking for the junior scouts (deadline tomorrow) right now but at least some words:
My eyes are still bleeding from the game art work. Some were beyong awesome and I have such a huuuuggeeeeee WANT-list it's scary.

I had to post this one because the game title is simply awesome and I wonder if any other kind of lol speak will ever make it into a game title. I guess I could vote for "I can has your Karte?" for the next card game but I doubt my editor would love the idea as much as I do. Sadly.

We had free evening and watched "cloudy with occasional meatballs 2" (I loved it) and "Ender's game" (still unsure if I like the books more but it was effect galore nevertheless). When I have some time and we manage to test some of the board game we bought I'll post some more pics.
We met Dheny and his folks which was a pleasure as always.

Till next year, I guess? :)


no con for me...

This week-end the MMC rocked Berlin and I couldn't be there :< Honeymoon, wedding and the car accident my parents had took away too much time and I'm still trying to catch up. Meaning I spent my week with wombats, weird orange birds, several mugs of black tea and coffee and Ane Brun. Her interpretation of Jóga (Björk) rocks but if you have never heard of Ane Brun, click here and enjoy.

Thanks god at least somebody thought of me *yes, totally lamenting* and Marina aka the really nice Yumkeks spent some evening hours with me. I think I babbled about ten million boring things whereas I really wanted to know how the con was. Arg! I'm getting old.


Yes, we did!

Almost 7 years and still rollin'! My hubby and me tied the knot 2 weeks ago with a garden wedding and awesome late summer weather.

Photocredit goes to Meike Kenn who's awesome and you should 100%ly pay her a visit. Or book her... or both.


My Favourite Photoshop Pencil Brush

One of the brushes I use most for concepts and sketches is the Pencil Brush made by Koifishsushi on Deviantart. You can find and download the little awesome sucker HERE.

Above is the sketch and final painting I did for Schmidt for "Fühlzwerge". And even right now I use it for new sketches almost on a daily base. I like the smooth but traditional feeling of the brush a lot and the sketch tends to look more alive.
The only other -but real- pencil that gives me the same feeling is the Blackwing but being a leftie I tend to smudge it horribly and that's one of the reasons I use it only when I really think it's worth the hassle.
Nevertheless if you are into traditional sketches you might want to check out the Blackwing anyway. I have all three versions and can highly recommend these. If anybody is interested in sample pics let me know. :)
AND if you buy these anyway because they really *are* that awesome: Get yourself a long point pencil sharper as well. You will regret not having one at hand if you need one.


KAJAK merch @ Plötzlich am Meer

Jakob and Kaja prepare for the "Plötzlich am Meer" festival and we finally picked up the shirts and totes from the print company.
You can check out all different shirt and tote options on their facebook page:

and have a look at the awesome Phat Cat video:

Shirts and totes will be available at the festival. If you're not attending but want some goodies anyway poke them on facebook.


Something personal...

Since I already posted it on my Deviantart page... here we go. The occasion is nothing too "new" -at least not for us since we started to plan in December already. After nearly 7 years living happily "in sin" we'll tie the knot.

The card was printed by Laser-Line on 280 gr Mythos. If you ever consider getting something printed properly without much space for error make sure to check those things beforehand:
- have you chosen the right company for YOUR product
- do they offer a good support if you have any questions
- is the price reasonable
- what file format is required
- do they offer any job-options for the PDF-writer
- have you converted your image into the correct CMYK profile the company uses
- have you double checked the things above
- have a triple check on spelling and grammar... trust me, you'll regret it if you oversee something
- did you do a testprint and checked if everything fits
- what kind of paper do they offer and did you check the samples (I have a Black Box from Laser Line which came in REALLY handy)

I could add some more things and the final list is pretty long. Since a lot of stuff is happening at the moment I won't be able to post a lot in the next months but at least one of the reasons is a happy one. 



Usually I like to get asked if anyobdy wants to use my stuff for... anything... but since the music is so freaking wonderful...

Sorrow- 1988


Fühlzwerge -board game

"Fühlzwerge" will be released in September. It's a tactile game where you have to feel for the shapes of the different items.
The actual card illustrations were done by another illustrator- but are pretty cute nevertheless ;) It was fun to draw the characters... and a tooth gap.
The game costs around 15 Euro and can be purchased in stores, on Amazon and the online Schmidt Spiele shop.


Too hot!

It's so unbelievable hot right now in Berlin...Living in an old 19something building is normally wonderful but in summer you might experience the downside of awful temperatures. It's barely cooler than outside in the sun and we don't live at the highest floor (which normally means you get grilled thoroughly).

I wish I was at my parents being able to jump into one of the nearby lakes. Which is what we gonna do next week after checking their gardens and digging up the first potatoes this year. Yummy! After finding potatoes imported from Egypt in the supermarket -which is mind-boggling for me to be honest- I am again grateful for the "will dig for food" option we have.

 Personal weapon: having a lot of (warm) tea and ice at hand. I'm a big fan of Ben&Jerry's but the heavy ingredients are mostly sick day and "whoopee I swam 2 hours, ready for a yummy treat"-food. In summer I usually swap together frozen fruits, yoghurt or buttermilk, vanilla, if needed natural sweetener (I prefer NuNaturals stevia or... old school sugar) and seeds. Cheap, you know what's inside and it takes only some minutes.

 Even the cats are quite affected by the heat. Hantje just gets very calm and for her it's rare to not crave constant attention with a lot of mewing. She ends up napping at the weirdest places... be it in/on our towels or under the sofa.
Tretel just flops down everywhere while walking... sometimes we have to shove him aside with the foot because he ends up ... everywhere and most likely near a door.
 The (mostly) only good thing about summer: All the fruits O_O! Enjoy the huge summer selection of seasonal fruits while it lasts. We have the last local strawberries and blueberry season started which I was looking forward a lot. I admit I'm a foodie by heart.

I hope it gets cooler over the next couple of weeks. I can't skate over 27 degrees because 16 km skating in burning heat is simply insane :/ Even the marathon skaters I usually see on my route have been absent and that's kinda creepy. Being inside the appartment all the time is quite unnerving.

Let's pray for weather where you won't end up sticking permanently to your desk, paper or tablet.


Happy Cupcakes!

One of my motives made it into the Könitz Porzellan catalogue. You can get the big mug HERE and probably in stores selling Könitz. I think the big description is a bit weird but if it sells... oh well. >_<


A chair for (mostly) girls only!

First some nerd-news: I actually set up my old nano cube some weeks ago because my ramshorn snail (you can see that one blurred in the background) had some problems and because I had her since she was a tiny blob I decided to give her a single appartment without fishies and added two Brotia Pagodula. These horned beauties are a tad more critical to feed and keep but after one week we were suprised with 8 little babies... and a week later the other snail gave birth to 10 more. I was stunned since these are no hermaphrodites and I managed to get two pregnant girls. O____O
The babies are really tiny and I'm always scared to kill one when I clean the cube or the aquarium (6 moved over already because the cube is simply too small for 21 snails). I wonder how many will survive and grow up. At the moment they measure between 2-3 millimeters but. They only eat alga and fluid chlorella (that's the tricky part with these) and I'm still fiddling around with finding the right balance. Duh! Did I mention I love my water snails? Weird hobby I know but these critters are fun to watch when they eat and hover around.
 And something interesting for the girls: The saddle swopper. My old chair is still okay but I sat hours and hours on it, unmoving (except my arm), hunching over the table and with crossed legs. Really healthy *cough* The problem was: It's pretty unhealthy for the back and neck and legs and mostly everything. Since my hubby has a normal Swopper I knew this one would solve 99% of my problems. And so I bought one after mulling over it for quite a while. Honestly, that chair costs over 550 bucks so it's something you HAVE to decide slowly and probably check if you really need one.
 The design of the saddle swopper is ... like a saddle. That's why my hubby eg can't really sit on that thing. It's probably like sitting on a huge lady saddle for bikes for hours. He hurt and said it's probably not wise for a man to sit on that thing if you still want babies in your future. As a female it's nice to sit on that thing. One thing you have to keep in mind:
 Never crossing your legs again. At least not on that thing. Sorry for the awkward perspective... anyways, on the swopper you have to sit with open legs (so no short skirts in the office on that thing either).
Your pelvis gets moved forward and you end up sitting straight and use your back muscles.
In the beginning this might hurt like hell after some minutes (I actually got sea sick) but add some minutes sitting on it per day and get used to it. The good thing is that it has this awesome 3D spring. While typing I'm actually moving left, right, back, forth and don't sit still.

If you want to check out the details about the chair, click HERE. It's definitely a good investment and if you have a cheap chair you can switch to if you back gets too tired the better.
Otherwise ask me anything if you have any questions.

Random cutie pic: Tretel still trying to sit in his bed after it fell down from the side table. I'd say "success" since he still managed to look not that stupid.


So Fluffy!

I can't get over Hantje's paws... these are so effin fluffy I want to poke them all the time! It looks like instant slippers. She hates getting cold feed and won't go outside in winter (seriously!).


short vacation- heading north

 Guess where I spend the week-end? Crowds, lotsa fried food, pretty bad (and sometimes good) music and a lot of wind and salty air? Oh yes, we were in Hamburg. I needed a break pretty bad. We headed north on Friday and since the Hamburg habour is honoured yearly with a big party we spend some hours mingling with too many people and enjoying the quirks of slightly chaotic traffic.
 Left is Sonja, one of the best friends you can wish for (aka willing to let us mooch time and a couch to sleep on), right me. Excuse the look... free time= instant slob mode- the all black thing was an accident as well. Behind us: Hamburg habour near the Landungsbrücken before the hauler ballet started.
 Oh yes! Before heading to Hamburg we went to Warnemünde (if you ever visit Germany in summer... GO THERE! At least for a day.... really!). It was so nice to dip my feet into the baltic sea. Some brave girls were already swimming.
Pretty amazing view: zero people, muchas sunny skyline. Oh I love the sea in May. My greedy Gollum self loved the humanfree view we had.

I came back with lots of ideas, a fresh amount of motivation and tons of fruits and asparagus. We usually don't leave Hamburg withouth visiting the weekly fish market (every Sunday, 5:00-9:30 am) and I shopped myself to death on... fruits and asparagus. I love asparagus... it's a never ending love-story.


What a month + random cutie Han

 Fluffy Han still sports a lot of fluff. I wonder if the fuzzle attack ever stops. Unfortunately she loves to hog the bed, couch, me, Timon, clothes... everything cozy. Well duh- I guess the perks of having cats.
These arrived some weeks (months?) ago and getting these from the customs was pretty epic since it was a hugggeeee package and only these small figurines inside which nobody understood. I think Renee did an awesome job. The small pumpkin hat is removeable. I love it so much.

Otherwise I was sick as a dog and try to make up the lost weeks. It's a lot of work and I spend some hours at the lawyer clarifying some stuff I actually didn't want to deal with. I think a lot of people underestimate the need for a good lawyer.
When you start to freelance make sure you have a good contact you can reach fast and who does a good job. It's annoying but important and if a shit storm starts you better make sure to use everything you have to fight back.

But whopee... next to that I'm pretty fine and will post more work-related pics soon. Today I just want to enjoy the great weather. I hope you have some rays of sunshine as well. I craved these a lot. Thanks god the good weather is back.


Huuugggee WTF

A fellow deviantartist linked me the information and image this morning. The anti stress ball is sold in the 123Mart in New Zealand. Seriously?! It looks like a chinese production and is a rip-off. IF you happen to see it: do NOT buy it- it's illegal and I already contact the laywer. Cross your finger for me the thing gets solved.
I am kinda tired of this stuff happening. It's not so complicated to send me a mail with a license request. Gah!
I am thanksful for everybody who keeps me informed and sends me those information... even if they happen to not make my day more shiny and happy. Networking will someday- me being optimistic- show those fuckers that artists actually care pretty much about being respected for what they do. In these moments I feel just like a doormat. Duh.


Spreading Love...

.... or winter fuzzles. It's this time of the year again when I put on clean clothes and after 2 minutes with the cats they look like this:
It doesn't look that bad but having a third cat (amount of hair) spread all over my clothes is sometimes really annoying- my back is the worst part and I wonder how the hairs got *there*. The third unwanted cat is everywhere. Hantje tends to nap in my freshly washed pile of shirts and I end up frantically removing the third cat every morning. I love my kittens but the third cat in spring is the worst part. Probably.
Since Tretel still loves to sit on the balcony freezing his booty off he has a decent amount of third cat he loves to share. Same goes for Hantje.