Monday, 9 October 2017

Meet Jutta Berend — Challenge Member

Jutta Berend

Where do you live? Tell us about your family:

I live in Hamburg, Germany, with my husband and two small daughters (3 1/2 years, 11 months.) We live in a flat and dream about one day being able to buy a small house.


Have you formally trained as an artist or illustrator? Describe your art background/journey:

Although I wanted to, I have not been formally trained as an artist.

I have always created. Since my earliest childhood, I have looked for ways to express myself. I sewed stuffed animals, drew, painted, sculpted and even modelled little figures out of candle wax when nothing else was available. My family valued my talent and encouraged me in everything. Yet I felt that I was never good enough.

After school, I wanted to study art but was rejected by the universities I applied to. I tried for two years and then decided to let it go and get a job instead. I stopped drawing almost entirely for years! The job that I learned is also quite creative—building models of food, packages and plants for advertisement—but it is just not as fulfilling as I had hoped.

Our parents raised us believing that work should not only be to earn money and survive. You need to find your purpose in life—something that defines you and makes you happy—and, if possible, make a living of it. Of course, it didn't always work out for them, being parents of three children, but they are both published authors. Daddy is very busy, holding public readings almost every week, and Mum is her own boss, running two businesses of her own.

With such awesome role models, my purpose in life is clear: creating for a living. Becoming a mother put everything into perspective. Not having any free time of my own anymore, I cannot imagine going back to doing work I don't really like and wasting my time being unhappy. Luckily, my husband earns enough for now, and supports me on my way to becoming me again!


Are you a full-time artist or do you have to juggle your creative projects with other responsibilities?

Right now, I am a full time mother and housewife, which leaves little time for creating. When my little one starts day-care early next year, I hope to be able to get work as a freelance illustrator. I'm only getting started with that and don't know how it will go.

Meanwhile, I am also a freelance dummy-builder*, working on-and-off with marketing-related companies or at film sets for commercials. That part is really fun! But my heart lies with drawing, and if one day I am in a position to choose, I would go with illustration.

*Dummies are mock-ups of real products, packages or groceries. The ice-cream or chocolates you see in commercials are rarely the real thing; rather, they are made of plastic and carefully designed to look just right in the picture.

Dummy example

Where is your favourite place to create and illustrate? Describe your routine:

Right now, the only time I can really sit down and draw is when the kids are asleep. That amounts to one to three hours an evening. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, the little lady takes a nap during the day, but she is really not very fond of sleeping.

So once they are tucked in and quiet, I drop everything and settle down on the couch (sometimes my desk, but mostly the couch) with my precious Wacom tablet and escape the busy mum-life.

I dream of one day having my own studio or, at least, a study or something—there is no room in our flat for that. And, of course, more time during the day to really get some art done; I'm not much of a late night worker.

Having space and time for watercolour painting would be nice, too.

Jutta's workspace

How would you describe your style? Do you have a favourite medium or subject matter?

The most important thing for me is that my paintings have to be done quickly. For one thing, I don't have a lot of time to create, but I am also really impatient and probably pretty lazy! So digital painting is THE thing for me. (I work on a Cintiq Companion 2 with Sketchbook Pro.) If I had to make space on some table, get out my art supplies, clean brushes and clean up afterwards etc., every time I want to paint, I would never even start with anything. I also lose interest pretty quickly. If I have an idea, I want to get it done as fast as I can while it is still ‘alive’. If I overwork my stuff, it loses its liveliness and becomes boring—to me, at least.

Family life is a huge source of inspiration for me. Kids never run out of ways to amaze and surprise me. Also, the love for them is the strongest feeling I have ever experienced.

In my drawings and paintings, I try to transport feelings and create atmospheres, capturing things that have actually happened or that I dream about. It really is the same as when I was a kid and dreamed myself into the stories I read. Only now I try to create a passage for other people to join me on that journey.

Princess from work in progress

How did you hear about the Challenge and when did you join?

I stumbled across this wonderful Challenge at the end of 2016, and I actively started to participate in January 2017. It was really only luck, and I am really thankful that I found you.

Week 24 2017: Multiculturalism

What do you love about the Challenge? What have you learned?

Joining the Challenge was everything, really! I had been drawing and painting before, occasionally posting something on Facebook, but no one ever really bothered with it.

The best part about the Challenge is the love and support everyone gives each other. Being part of such a lively and supporting community feels like coming home. This place of art and creativity, inspiration and love, actually, has given me a real boost—both personally and with my art. The constant challenge to create, along with the feedback we receive, help us all grow, I think.

I really feel I have made some friends here, and I hope to meet some of you guys in person one day.

Week 21 2017: Red

What is the favourite illustration you have done for the Challenge so far?

That would be the GARDEN theme. For me, my illustration that week was really important because it kind of defined my style. It turned out almost exactly like I imagined, which is really rare. I worked several days on that piece and it always felt right. The feedback I got from all of you was just amazing! Things fell into place; It felt right to me and judging by the positive feedback, it felt right to others as well. I had found a way of transporting feelings that people understood and actually liked!

Week 6 2017: Garden

Do you have illustrators or artists who give you inspiration?

I get inspired by a lot of people and adore their work, even if I could not do something like that, ever. I have always liked the watercolours of Horst Jansen and Janosch, and the art of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Pascal Campion is one of my favourite digital illustrators.

What are your creative goals?

I really, really want to illustrate children's books and create memories that hopefully last a lifetime. Books I read and looked at as a child still come back to me as an adult, and I take inspiration from them for my own art. I want to make people feel the magic of a story the way I felt when I was a child.

My big life goal is quite selfish: being able to create all day long, and never lose the love for what I do.


Tell us something that we don’t know about you:

I am a twin.

I love the crunch of crisp autumn leaves under my feet, and I have been known to step out of my way if I spot a really crunchy one.

I cannot whistle.

I am addicted to chocolate and black tea.

I LOVE breakfast! It is my favourite meal and I couldn't go without it. (I'm talking about eating breakfast, not the cutting, mashing, feeding, wiping and picking up involved when eating with small children.)

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