Tag Archives: Joelle Gebhardt

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Book Contract with Simply Read Books!

I’ve got some very exciting news to announce in today’s blog post. After much planning, dreaming, learning, promoting and waiting I have signed a book contract with Canadian publisher Simply Read Books for the first-ever Mr.Buttonman children’s picture book!

I first met the publisher of Simply Read Books last year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where I introduced my book idea to him. He was very open and interested in my character and embroidered illustrations and we immediately exchanged contact information. Now almost a year later, the agreement is official!

The story has been written by me and will be filled with 32 hand-embroidered illustrations. There is much work ahead before publication next Spring 2017, but I am so excited to get to working on it!

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Comic Illustrations and Wedding Invitations

Happy Friday!

This month has been full of exciting new projects. I had to put aside the embroidery for a couple weeks, to work on a rather complex comic project for the German company Bosch in collaboration with Knusperdesign. The illustrations were drawn in a traditional, black and white inked format, which was a bit scary for me at first, as it’s been a while since I’ve dipped my brushes in black ink.  But everything turned out well and the comic is in it’s final stages of production as we speak.

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In addition to this project, I’ve been working on a number of wedding invitation commissions this month. Did you know I design wedding invitations and thank you cards? You can find examples of on my Etsy or Dawanda shop. All the invitations include a custom portrait or other illustration which I base on photos I receive from the couples. The portraits are drawn by hand in ink and coloured digitally. I haven’t attempted to do any embroidered wedding portraits yet, but it’s in the back of my head for this coming year. So if you know anyone getting married in the next year, send em’ over! Here are a few examples below:

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All in all, 2016 has started off well! We’ll be flying to the homeland of Canada in a few weeks for a visit and I have a few illustration meetings lined up while I’m down there.  Hopefully, I’ll have some exciting news to announce on here when we get back to Germany in February!

I hope you’ve had a great start into the New Year, and thanks for reading!

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New Christmas Illustration

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As I was planning this new illustration I had to remember Christmas’s with our wiener dog, Karmen. Yes, I know, it’s not exactly the most manly of names, but he was named after my great-grandfather’s wiener dog. Karmen was a feisty little guy. We quickly learned that wiener dogs are much bigger in their heads and very capable of mass destruction. He always found something to rip to shreds, if we weren’t quick enough to give him a bone to chew on. The cuteness factor quickly wore off for our neighbours who had to endure his incessant barking. But I loved him in spite of all his mischief.

I think if I had been a bit smaller, I could have easily convinced Karmen to pull me in a box around the living room. Given the opportunity, he would be the most determined little reindeer on Santa’s sleigh.

I hope you have fun looking at this illustration because I had a lot of fun making it. Maybe it will bring you back to your childhood Christmas’s and all the imagination and “anticipation” that surrounded the season (though I still haven’t grown out of this!).

And on a totally different note. I finished that CD cover design I mentioned in my last blog post. Here is a photo of the printed CD’s taken by Projekt: Kirche.

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My inspiration for the cover design was a patchwork quilt. The CD contains music from 12 different artists, who have through this CD project been patched together. Most of the artists are based in Berlin. The CD can be purchased through Projekt: Kirche, and 50% of the cost goes directly to the artists. The other 50% covers production costs. I would highly recommend it, if you are looking to discover some up and coming musicians in Europe.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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New Projects with Mr.Buttonman

 

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I’m sure you’ve already met Mr.Buttonman if you’ve been following my website, blog or life in general. He has been an ongoing project for me, that has slowly grown bigger and bigger. It seems that every time I think I am “finished” with the character, something happens to pull me back to him. And the reason is not because I’m obsessed or in love with buttons. I do like buttons, and this character was definitely invented in a “button phase” of my life, but I think there is another reason.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve displayed, sold and exhibited Mr.Buttonman in various settings. In a way, it feels as if I’ve been gathering research based on the different feedback or reactions I’ve gotten. This year I’ve had the opportunity to display him in Berlin, to an international audience, and that has been really affirming. Even though, I haven’t yet had great “success” (as in Mr.Buttonman hasn’t paid any of my bills or become famous) I still feel in my gut that there could be great potential here. Maybe I’m wrong, and will eventually have to give up. But I don’t feel that I’ve pushed him to the limit yet. This is why: I’m writing a storybook!

There have always been little stories embedded in the Mr.Buttonman illustrations, but I’ve never sewn the images together into one plot. I’ve never actually defined: Who Mr.Buttonman is, where he lives, what he eats, who his friends are, and what happens to him on a daily basis.

I’m really excited about this next project and have gotten a lot of affirmation over the past few weeks as I’ve discussed my ideas with fellow artists and writers. If everything goes according to plan, I’m hoping to have my first draft of the book finished by April 2015.

In the meantime, I’m also planning  to release a series of Buttonman Christmas cards for this year in October. So stay tuned for those on my Etsy shop.

Here’s to not giving up on long-term projects, and thanks to all of you who have been an encourager of Mr.Buttonman. You’ve helped keep him alive!

 

 

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“Dear Life” Exhibit at the Vancouver Public Library.

Starting September 2nd my two newest artworks will be on display at The Mote Gallery in Vancouver Public Library Central Branch. I’m very excited to be participating in this exhibit, but sad that I won’t be there for it’s launching. This is a group exhibition of members from the Open Book Art Collective and is inspired by a book of short stories, Dear Life by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro.

I’ve been a member of this collective for over a year now, and this is our third exhibit and the second book we’ve selected as a group. Basically, we’re a group of artists who love literature and who made a book club that also functions as an art collective. If you’re a fellow book/art lover, and maybe an Alice Munro fan, we’d love to get some feedback from you on our latest exhibit at the VPL.

Here are images of the two works I’m contributing along with my artist statements.

**SPOILER ALERT! Don’t continue if you’re planning on seeing the work in person! (Art is always better in real life)**

“A New Reality”. Based on Corrie.

This drawing illustrates a key moment of realization in Corrie that alters the main character’s reality and shocks unsuspecting readers. My aim was to create a situation where the viewer might look twice, as I had to read this story twice.

 

A New Reality

“The Captain of the Pinafore”. Based on Amundsen.

Captain of the Pinafore

 […]and in burst Mary[…]she threw off her coat and displayed herself in a red-and-yellow costume. She […] began to prance around the table, singing at the same time in a plaintive but vigorous young voice[…] I’m the Captain of the Pinafore. And a good right captain too!

This artwork is inspired by the character of Mary, who was a bright star in ‘Amundsen’, though not the main protagonist. For me, she was innocence, joy and an unexpected beacon, in a village of Tuberculosis and depression. There is a risk of not taking characters like Mary seriously. Especially when they burst into closed rooms uninvited. But Mary truly was a Captain. In her display of colour and song, she offered a chance for escape from the inevitable.

 

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Photo Gallery of “Stitch and Line” Art Exhibit

Here are a few photos from the opening night of  “Stitch and Line” art exhibit in Speakeasy Sprachzeug language school in Berlin.  The exhibit showcases work from myself and Sarah Stein ( www.sarahstein.com).  Thanks to everyone who could make it out; it was a fantastic night. I really enjoyed the musical performance of Canadian musician Bruce Millar and meeting so many new faces!

For those of you who couldn’t come to opening night, you still have time to see the exhibit. It will be up until November 7th. 

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Berlin exhibit coming in August!

So I’ve officially failed at updating my sketch blog regularly. Perhaps it’s because I’m in full-time German  language school AND trying to have a life AND trying to make tons of new art, all at the same time? Probably. Wahrscheinlich. Oh yeah, throwing in the Deutsch. Did you see that?

Anyway for those of you who are curious, here’s what art-related things I’ve been up to lately:

I’ve been designing some logos, graphics, a beer label for a wedding and participated in a couple art markets. My art was featured in an exhibit in L.A. AND most exciting, I’m preparing for my first art exhibit in Berlin!

There is a background story to this. I’ve been attending “Speakeasy Sprachzeug” language school for the past 4 months ago (It’s a fantastic, smaller school in Friedrichshain, former East Berlin). Every 3 months they feature artists from a different country. The current show is an artist from Belgium and the last show were two artists from South Africa. There’s been some amazing work come through this place!

A couple months ago, I was in conversation with the school’s director, as they had found my art website. They’ve never had a student from the school do an exhibit, or a Canadian artist, so this seemed like a unique opportunity. I also thought it was a great idea, and so, voila!

It’s sooo great to be making new work. After the move to Berlin, I went through a couple months of transition and couldn’t make anything. I finally feel like my creativity is alive again. Here are some photos:

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My goal for the show is to have about 10-12 new pieces. The “common thread” (haha, get it?) in my work is that all of the pieces are a mixture of drawing with embroidery on paper and are based off of quotes from famous Canadian poets, songwriters and artists. To name a few: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Emily Carr, Alice Munroe, Yann Martel and Justin Bieber.

Just kidding. There’s going to be NO Justin Bieber in this show!

Not all of the drawings are finished, but they’re getting there. The school will ultimately decide which pieces to display so for now, I’m just making, making, making! (And praying it will all be finished in time!).

Thanks for reading!

-Joelle

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Blog Posts

In Front of the Camera

Usually, I hate having my picture taken. I would rather be the one behind the camera than in front of it. But, for a while now I have needed some decent photos of my artistic process and a good headshot for my website and art submissions/interviews.  So, this week I finally had some photos taken, and I’ve posted some of them below. (You may find these photos in the pages of a book  in the near future, but I’m not going to tell you about this yet…)

When I’m working I like to be surrounded by other artists’ work that I find interesting or inspiring and a few of my own favourite works. I also need to have good books, good coffee, window light, thread, fabric, buttons, pencils, paper and ink! We included these elements into the photos, and of course had to put “Mr.Buttonman” in at least one of the shots.

Thanks to Zach Bulick (again) for taking the photos and also to Kulturshöpfer  and Aunt Benny’s coffee shop for letting us use your space! (If you’re ever planning to move/work in Berlin, you should come check out Kulturshöpfer. It’s a great co-working space in Friedrichsain, that hosts many cultural and artistic events throughout the year. You will definitely be hearing more about them on this blog in the future!)

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Maker’s Market Photos

So, I’ve been a bit absent from this “sketchblog” for the past month and a half. I’m blaming it on my recent trans-atlantic move to Germany. This has been a huge adjustment, and very exciting to be settling into a new city, culture and language. The only downside is it has cost me some online presence, which we all know is very important in this fast-paced internet world. But now, I am back and have some photos for you!

This past weekend I participated in my first international Artist and Designers Market in Berlin. It’s called the Maker’s Market and happens on the first Sunday of every month from 12-6 pm. It’s located only 10 minutes away from the famous, Mauerpark Flohmarkt. If you’re ever travelling in Berlin, I would recommend you come visit. See some highlights below, and stay tuned because I’ve got a lot of exciting art-news coming up in the next few months!

P.S Big thanks to my fellow Canadian Creative Zach Bulick for help with set-up and taking photos!

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New Project: Joelle Labels Berlin

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GermanWordExamplesSo, this project is called “Joelle Labels Berlin”, as you can see from the photo. It’s a new social media project, involving Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr that will (hopefully) help me and others to learn the difficult language of German.

If you have been following any of my social media tracks, you should know that my husband and I have recently moved to Berlin, Germany. My husband is originally from Germany, so the goal of this year is to learn the language and experience a his home culture. I’m hoping it will also be a year of meeting new artists, attending exhibitions and making A LOT of art.

This is my newest project, that was birthed out a conversation with a fellow English-speaking friend yesterday (thanks Shannon!). We were talking about how difficult it is to learn German. Then, she shared with me that one of her friends labelled everything in her apartment to help learn the German words with their proper articles. I thought, “What a brilliant idea!”

You see, in German every noun has an article (die, das, or der). Some words are masculine, feminine, and neutral. For example, das Fenster (window), der Spiegel (the mirror) and der Wand (the wall) There is no reasoning behind this system, from what I can tell so far. The only way to learn these articles is to memorize them. So, what better way to memorize then to label everything with sticky notes?  But, why stop with household items? I mean, there are only so many things in your apartment. But I need to know everything. So, everything must be labelled!

WHY DO THIS, YOU ASK? Because German is really difficult, and I’m a visual learner so I need pictures to remember things. Also, I wanted to do something for the greater good. I’m sure there are other English speakers out there, struggling with me to learn this language.

AND HOW WILL IT WORK? I will label random things with sticky notes and take a photo with my phone. Then I will post the photo to Instagram, Twitter and my Tumblr feed using this formula in the caption:

TheGermanWord (e.g. #derspiegel) +  “German+EnglishWord” (#germanmirror) + Project Name (#joellelabelsberlin).

As I build up this photographic dictionary, anyone can find these words through searching for hashtags.

THIS SOUNDS GREAT JOELLE, HOW CAN I FOLLOW YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE?

Great question! You can follow me on Instagram @joellegebhardt, Twitter @joellegebhardt or my Tumblr feed (the link is on my website). The Tumblr feed will be exclusively for this project, but I will still be posting other things on Instagram and Twitter.

I THINK THIS IS A RIDICULOUS IDEA, YOU ARE CRAZY.

Thanks! It might be a stupid idea, but I’ve gotta learn German somehow!