My name is Olga Reiff, I am from Austria, from the beautiful town of Innsbruck, and I live in Luxembourg since 1995. I used to work as a translator for Russian and French (no, I am not a Russian myself) before I started to write my own texts and to illustrate them, about 4 years ago. My illustrations and my texts are about children and nature, the everyday life in my little town, and special moments that I want to promote, like a concert, a visit, a school event, or our urban gardening project (Visit my urban sketcher blog and follow me on Facebook!).
I’d say, my style is more a colored drawing than a painting. I like line art, and I often use a nib pen, black ink from the tiny bottle, or a fineliner in several sizes. Before I do the black line, I try around with graphite pencil, until I am satisfied with the gesture and the proportions. I seldom use photos, but very often I do it by heart, or I draw on location.
Then, when I like the drawing, I color it with a rather restrained palette of Maimeri Watercolor, using several sable or synthetic brushes, mostly from Da Vinci. I paint on Arches cold pressed paper, 300g, or on Canson bristol white paper, or in one of my sketchbooks. I use every kind of size, and paper quality. I found out that the most expensive sketchbook does not automatically give me the best results.
My inspirations come from everyday moments, and my life with my four children, the youngest being 4 years old. It is this little girl of mine, Marie, that inspired me in 2014 to do a picture book about a forest kindergarten and a little boy who is attending it. It is written in Luxembourgish language (called “Lëtzebuergesch”).
This kindergarten really exists, and I love it. Every single day, children spend 3 hours minimum in the forest, where they have their fireplace, a tent, even a bread oven! They play with the things they find in the forest and they develop their creativity and other skills very easily. Last year, I started another blog called OLGAS KLEINE WESEN to show some of these kids characters.
I also do illustrations for clients like the farming animal zoo in my town (postcards, tags, story illustrations). Artists that I admire most of all for their line work, their drawings and humor are F.K. Waechter and Quentin Blake, but I also like contemporary artists like H. Craig Hanna, whose paintings I discovered lately in an exhibition here in Luxembourg.
My so-called “Alphabet of fears“consisted of 24 black and white illustrations, and were exhibited last year in Luxembourg and Austria.
I think that I’m a very lucky person. I can do what I love most: writing and drawing and playing around with color and ink, and yeah, creating picture books! Really, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Thank you Charlie, for this great occasion to share my work and thoughts!