Illustrator Interview – Claudia Fehr-Levin

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As some of you will know, I have recently been involved in a uTales collaboration project that included over 30 authors and illustrators from 15 nations. Claudia is one of the many delightful artists I have come to know through this project.

Ten for Starters

Thank you Joanna! Chuffed to have this opportunity!

What’s your nationality and where do you live?

I was born in South Africa and now live in Israel with my hubby and my 4 very energetic kids…oh & my father was Swiss, and my grandmother a gypsy J

How do these cultures influence your art?

Everything helps build the colorful tapestry of life! I love colors, patterns & textures and both these countries provide a rich ethnic treasure kist!

Illustrator or author/illustrator?

In my head I write all day, but when it comes to putting it on paper, well lets say I illustrate!…

Tell us a little of your beginnings as an artist.

I have always loved to draw and paint! I remember as a kid I used to teach my 4 year old neighbor art and together we used to hold exhibitions in my back garden. Both my parents always believed in me and always encouraged & supported me!

What is your favorite medium for your artwork?

I love the radiant colors of inks (I still have some of my Dr. Martin watercolor inks from college days-which I treasure!)Then I have my cherished CARAN d’ACHE pastels & pencils (a gift from my lovely cousin in Switzerland), good old gouache and of course my camera & Photoshop for my textures & patterns.

I know you are not only a children’s book illustrator. What other forms does your art take?

Yes!I I do have my own line of clothing & accessories for “the young at heart” called Cloudscape Designs where I hand paint each & every garment & canvas, …you are welcome to view at :

I also worked many years designing greeting cards for Palphot & socks for Yodfat.

What books (or authors and illustrators) influenced your childhood?

I must confess I read fairytales ’til high school…Winnie the Pooh …and The Faraway Tree

I am still a sucker for buying children’s books …

What with living in Israel & the books being in Hebrew I go a little nuts in a bookshop overseas!

When my 4th child was born I was saved by the tower of amazing & wonderful kiddies books next to my bed! In moments of chaos we would (all 4 of my kids & I) pile onto my bed & discover the wonderful power of reading & story telling & enjoy the wonderful illustrations!

Are you involved at all in eBook or App illustration?

Yes! I was fortunate enough to work together with over 30 illustrators & authors of uTales on an ABC book: a wonderful experience! Together with the wonderful author Sandra Hershenson we did “A”.

I am also about to finish illustrating one with the lovely and renowned author Enid Richemont .It’s called “More” and it’s filled with my love for pattern & colour…and food!

Along with a couple more in the pipeline with uTales:

What does your work space look like? (photo if you like??)

I am very blessed in having a studio upstairs in our house(in South Africa I had my dinning room table-which was also fun!), overlooking the beautiful Israeli hilly, rocky terrain… ,but right now due to an incredible amount of deadlines it’s a real mess!

Making Backgrounds on my Floor in my Studio

Can you share a piece or two with us, and the process of producing them?

I would love to!

1-Here is a picture from “More”

Indian Tale

We see the Maharajah looking at all the food with delight

I spent week’s just researching (one of my favorite things to do!) Indian clothes, patterns, people…photographing material, food & spices. Then I did thumbnails ,larger sketches & finally the drawing on good paper. I painted most of the picture with gouache. On Photoshop I added all my photography(the curtains from my house),textures & patterns…and because it’s a eBook I got to add effects & sounds(great fun!)

2-Here is a picture from a series of paintings that I’ve done called: “Animal Healing”

Inner Self

This particular one is called “Inner- Self” I researched all the animals that have some sort of magic powers; each animal represents some sort of healing power and self awareness. It is painted with my inks & shaded with my pencils & pastels and finally text added in on Illustrator.

3-and finally my “Relaxing Mom”

This I painted for a competition for “They Draw & Cook” a fantastic site.  the subject was “Pretty Eating”-so I decided to go for the “beauty from within” concept!

Using my love for collage I had great fun making this, and even was one of the 5 runner- ups! all very exciting! 


Five Fun ones to Finish?

Is there anywhere in the world you would like to live for a season?

Wales! anytime!

What word best sums you up?

Libran?  Hyperactive?

Cats or dogs?

We have 2 cats that think they’re dogs (raised by our “terrier” Sparky), and Sparky, bless him, being the same size & color as our chickens (12of them!) Is not sure what he is!?

What do you do for non-art related relaxation?

Coffee (or beer) with girl friends, cooking and yes I’m a self proclaimed second hand shop junkie!

If you could spend a day with one children’s book character, with whom would that be?

Without a doubt Lola from” Lola & Charlie”

I so enjoyed having you on the blog. I am ready to buy a plane ticket to Israel to hang with you, hubby, four kids, 12 chickens, 2 cats and Sparky. You sound like such a fun, creative, energetic family!  

 I love the detail you manage to accomplish in your work without it ever feeling crowded. I noticed this already on your “A” page with Sandi. I hope I shall get to work with you one day. To your Success!

Do Check out Claudia’s work:                                                                                



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29 Responses to Illustrator Interview – Claudia Fehr-Levin

  1. Your Wednesday interviews open a door into another world for me, Joanna. This was such fun, as Claudia’s enthusiasm for life and art just dances off the screen.

  2. Hannah says:

    Beautiful art work Claudia. Thanks for this interview Joanna!

  3. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Hannah!

  4. What a fantastic interview! Thank you Claudia for mentioning me in your responses, I feel honored to be working with you! You are extremely talented! Joanna, I am glad that you interviewed Claudia, it certainly helped me to learn a lot more about her. I am also ready to jump on a plane to Israel. . . you both also have a guaranteed place to stay in Los Angeles (although I only have 4 kids, a husband, a dog, and 3 fish. . . no chickens!)

    • Joanna says:

      Sandi, I am so glad Claudia mentioned your ‘A’ collaboration, which was wonderful. Wow, you both have four kids, a husband and a ménagerie, how cool is that! I warn you, I am a globetrotter and highly likely to take you up on your proposition! 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comment.

    • Claudia says:

      only a pleasure Sandi!Cant wait to finish our next book together !
      Fish are good!
      Yay!might just take you up on the offer!

  5. I really enjoy your Illustrator Interviews, Joanna. I’m always in awe of such talent. Claudia’s illustrations are simply beautiful and make me smile. They are light, colorful, expressive and full of detail. I enjoyed hearing about her process for each illustration. Thank you for introducing us to her work. Oh, to have such a talent!

  6. Joanna says:

    I also love, Pat, how Claudia’s gift was nurtured by her parents and she is passing on the confidence in one’s gifts to her children.

  7. Clar says:

    What a terrific interview! I was so taken by Claudia’s energy. It came across the interview! Thanks for sharing such a talented person. I love hearing about the process and loved seeing the photos and other art work. 🙂

  8. Claudia says:

    Wow ! I’m so touched and overwelmed by all your wonderful comments! Thank you!!! You have all made my day!
    I think Joanna’s wonderful to give space to us illustrators to be seen and heard, what a great idea!! And uTales has definitely brought some very special people into my life!

  9. Sharon Shaer says:

    Claudia,what a fantastic intervew,really sums you up
    you so well deserved this recognition ,fianally…kol hakavod

  10. Joanna says:

    Thanks for commenting, Sharon. You are right – such talent needs recognition. 🙂

  11. Interesting interview and delightful art – so bright and engaging! Thanks of sharing 🙂

  12. I love these interviews Joanna. As a non-artist, I’m fascinated by the talent and the process of producing illustrations. I LOVE Claudia’s work!

    • Joanna says:

      Thanks, Julie. I am starting to look at illustrators and illustrations in a whole new light. I am also finding peoples’ art often sparks a picture book idea.

  13. Loved your interview Joanna, Claudia is sooooo talented. If only I could draw like that…*sigh* I especially love those soft colours. Thankyou Claudia for sharing so much of your talent with us.

  14. kerry says:

    Aaah Claudia. Oh I love her work. I love her process of finding pattern and detail from the life around her to add into her illustrations (in fact I think one of her babies appeared in a wash basin collage in one of my books!). In fact, I’m currently working on a picture storybook around song lyrics and despite the geographical distance (and revolting Rand-Dollar exchange rate!) am prepared to work long-distance with Claudia.
    Thanks Julie. (Perhaps a post on the uTales experience??)

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