Artist Spotlight: Kathrin Legg

Interview with Card Isle contributing artist, Kathrin Legg of Dear Elise.

Kathrin Legg: artist and designer behind Dear Elise, photo from Kathrin Legg

Currently, we are hard at work finding fresh designs for kids so that, come birthdays, family and friends do not need to trot out the tired teddy bears, clowns, and balloon cards from the drug store. Card Isle also thinks there is more to children’s cards than birthdays! What about when you want to encourage a child, congratulate them on an achievement, or just share a smile? We’re glad we found Kathrin Legg to help us help you send a special message to youngster in your life.

Kathrin Legg is a freelance illustrator and pattern designer who believes art is instrumental in inspiring, teaching, and just generally enriching kids’ lives. As Card Isle’s first international artist, she also has a fascinating cross-cultural perspective. To learn more about Kathrin, her creative upbringing, and her thoughts on children’s art read on!

Ombre One Love, Dear Elise card available through Card Isle

Born in Germany before her family moved to the east coast of Australia, where she still lives today, Kathrin grew up in a family of teachers and creative minded people. Art was always encouraged. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at the University of Newcastle and then naturally became an art teacher.

What was it like growing up in a creative family?
I always look up to my dad who has amazing talents in architectural design, stone masonry and sculpture. I was so fortunate that I was encouraged to find the medium that I enjoyed the most. I remember waking up on weekends with yet another idea of something new I wanted to try, whether it was charcoal drawing, embroidery, wood carving, using oil paints for marbling or pottery. My ideas were always met with enthusiasm from both my parents.

Who do you love creating art for and why?
I love creating art for anyone who is young at heart, my illustrations are full of colour and quirky. Some of them will make you smile, others can be heart warming and maybe bring back a childhood memory. I like to draw characters who are emotive and playful.

Celebrate! Dear Elise card available through Card Isle

Your designs are youthful and yet appeal to all ages. What do you think adults can find in children’s art?
I think adults can relate to the light hearted mood and simplicity of children’s art, it brings back carefree childhood memories and that makes people feel happy. I know I like to buy fun, simple and humorous cards and art prints for myself.

Be Happy, Dear Elise card available through Card Isle

Tell me about your approach and thought process for creating art kids can enjoy.
Children have a great sense of humour, the characters that appeal to them are the ones that aren’t too serious. They love connecting with the illustration so I tend to draw someone kids would love to befriend. They love the crazy giraffe riding a bike, the pilot doing what he loves best and flying in his aeroplane or the bear eating some birthday cake. They like to imagine the story around the characters and how they came to be they way they are. Kids also like art with something familiar like numbers or letters which I sometimes incorporate into the illustration for example, my Under the Sea design.

Smile, Dear Elise card available through Card Isle

Happy Birthday High Flyer, Dear Elise available through Card Isle

Happy Birthday, Dear Elise card available through Card Isle

Happy Birthday High Flyer, Dear Elise available through Card Isle

How do you see the role art plays in the teaching and learning process?

When I was teaching in primary schools, I integrated art into the children’s maths and literacy lessons. Both maths and art are about patterns, symmetry, sequencing, problem solving and spatial awareness. I used art in literacy through simple activities such as drawing a story we had read together, which develops children’s reading comprehension and memory skills. Drawing and writing have always been two distinct communication systems, both of which are important.

Art is a fabulous learning tool because it encourages exploration. If you can make learning fun and engaging, you will build a child’s self esteem, self expression and foster a desire in children to learn more.  

Does your family have any traditions that have to do with art?
When I was growing up, each year in the July school holidays, my mum would cover the kitchen table in coloured paper, glitter, glue, stickers and coloured foil and we would make a calendar for the next year for both sets of grandparents back in Germany.

Welcome to the world little one, Dear Elise card available through Card Isle

To see more of Kathrin’s designs check our her website and Facebook page: