Nationwide x Talenthouse

What does mutual respect mean to you? A short while ago I fancied doing an advertising challenge and create something for this field, so the Talenthouse brief for Nationwide came along and I illustrated and handlettered the artwork above. This was selected to be featured on Nationwide’s social channel! Here’s what mutual respect means to me: illustration above and in words:

Mutual respect is essential in all environments and relationships in order for these to be positive and to flourish. Every individual needs to be valued equally, regardless of their background, profession or skills, even when disagreement arises.

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Frank Water / Skylark media

Watch this beautiful animation created by Skylark media for Frank Water Charity, using my illustrations! This clip shows people how Frank water helps people and the planet to thrive. I love seeing my artwork coming alive, especially in campaigns like these, I hope it does help spread awareness about water distribution and how to help. Here are some more stills:

Illustration Workshops in School

Last term I visited my local primary school and held illustration workshops in 3 different year groups! Reception read my book Alphabet Pet Parade (written by Judith E Torres) and coloured in some fun sheets I had prepared. I saw some awesome colour choices! Year 1 also read this book with me, and we created some simple picture book spreads/pages, with one sentence and an illustration! The kids were very creative! Year 2 got to read Movement + Migration (published by OUP) with me and we talked about the different types of migration, push and pull factors, moving to a new place, and created some suitcase artwork together. (What would you take with you?) This was a very interesting session, the children shared their thoughts, and I really enjoyed it, as I could share not only my experiences as an illustrator but also as a student migrant who came here over 2 decades ago to study illustration! This was part of Artist Day in school and I made a pre-recorded video that was shown in assembly.

It’s always super lovely to get to see my books and work in action! Thanks to Kingsdown+Ringwould primary for inviting me!

Frank Water – Map of India

Recently, the amazing Frank Water charity asked me to illustrate a map of India and Nepal, highlighting some of the water pump / water access projects across those countries, using real picture reference. This was fun! I’m glad I could help with my artwork to promote this FrankWater Event coming up end of this month! Also, you can read all about me and the start of my career as an illustrator and my work now in this Q+A hosted by Frank Water.

Brush! Brush! Brush! is out now

The 3rd book in this cute board book series by Douglas Florian, Little Bee Books and me is available now! It’s already received some lovely reviews by Kirkus and Booklist – yay!

“From the writer and illustrator of Play! Play! Play! (2018) and Bath! Bath! Bath! (2018), this colorful board book introduces the process of toothbrushing to young children….A cheerful, multicultural cast of kids take turns stepping up to deliver rhyming lines…the vibrant illustrations make the toothbrushing process look like fun. An encouraging book for children who are learning to clean their teeth.” —Booklist

I also created some printable resources – toothbrush fun! Click on the download buttons to get them.

Author/Illustrator School Visit

Wow – this was so fun! I visited year 3 and 4 of a local primary school and then went back for some more live drawing another day! We drew amazing pictures of Amazon rainforest creatures – pink dolphins, piranhas, jaguars and giant otters! I will be taking bookings for the new school year soon.

School Visit Preparation

I’m preparing school visits, and have created this activity sheet all about the water cycle which is a very popular topic to learn about in early KS2. It’s from my book WATER with author Catherine Barr and publisher Otter Barry Books. You can download it here.

I’ve also created some creative writing activities: these are postcards to print out and write / draw on! Based on my book ABC The World&Me – choose one of the locations featured and write a postcard home!

I went to Hay Festival!

Wow – I had a fantastic time in Hay-on-Wye and at the festival! I finally met the amazing author Catherine Barr in person after around 2 years of zoom calls whilst working together on our first non-fiction picture book WATER! This book is published by Otter Barry Books and endorsed by Frank Water Charity.

photo credit: Frank Water / description: C Barr and I watching a film by Frank Water on screen on stage.

So I joined Catherine on our event at the festival, introduced myself to the audience as the illustrator and showed a video clip of me in my studio chatting about the making of the artwork of WATER. The kids created super drawings of pink dolphins on their clip boards, following along to my How To Draw A Pink Dolphin video tutorial, and had fun joining in with other exciting freshwater activities.

photo credit: Janetta Otter Barry / description: kids on stage with CB and CE holding stick-on raindrops with freshwater infos

We signed lots of copies of WATER at the festival bookstore afterwards and I’m pleased to say that our book made it onto the Kids’ Books bestselling list of Day10 and also features in Hay’s wrap-up newsletter – alongside other amazing books like Cressida Cowell’s Wizards of Once! (who was there but I missed her as I was there for a short time only – all the way from the Kent coast)

Hay is super lovely and I hope I’ll be back!

If you’ve missed our event at Hay Festival – don’t worry! You can still join in with some of activities at home:

Video draw-alongs / rainforest colouring page / teaching resources

Happy Book Birthday – ABC The World & Me

Yay – my 6th book of the series ABC For Me with Quarto Kids / Walter Foster Jr is out now! Scroll down to find and download the resources I created – colouring in pages of a few interior pages plus a World map! What I love most about this book is that there are popular but also not so well-known places to discover all around the world! It was a lot of fun to research these locations and write the text – this time without rhyme. And remember, if you aren’t planning to travel far anytime soon – it’s just as important and fun to discover places nearby where you live. Or you could do it like me when I researched the places in this book – discover and learn about them virtually, with books (like this one!) or safe online resources. Hope you enjoy ABC Te World & Me!

Interview

I get a lot of questions on how I started my career and how I work as an illustrator, so I’m copying the start of my interview on childrensillustrators, and you can read the whole interview here.

Christiane Engel

Children’s Illustrator

Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?

In Germany I went to art school and studied Visual Communication, then I specialised in Animation. I filmed my own animated stories and experimental clips in a variety of techniques, like paint on glass, clay stop motion, scratch on film, and hand drawn cell animation. When I moved to England for further studying, I discovered a huge range of interesting picture books in exciting styles and decided to write and illustrate some, too. more