After many years, I escaped from the corporate arena of design to pursue my love for children’s book illustration. I ventured out and started my own Illustration and Design business in 2003. Since then I have worked on many various illustration projects with my main focus being children’s illustration.

I have illustrated three picture books as well as the “Wright on Time” middle grade series.  My books have won a variety of awards including the Bronze Medal for the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, the 2010 Arizona Book Awards and the 2008 and 2010 Annual International Latino Book Awards.

tanja-drawing-1

I hold a degree in Animation. The ironic thing about this is that even though animation is all about making things move, I fell in love with background design and layout – a mostly static aspect of the field. Illustration is definitely the place that I feel most comfortable.

In addition to design and illustration projects varying from character studies, book illustrations, greeting cards and marketing collateral, I have also enjoyed working on numerous book jackets ranging from children’s titles to adult fiction and nonfiction. My love of storytelling drives me to continually refine my craft. Traditional mediums such as acrylics, acrylic gouache, water color as well as pen and ink are my favorite, but I also love the freedom that digital tools, such as Photoshop, offer.

cuckoo

My current focus is to develop my own stories. As story ideas come to me I realized that they find root in my childhood. My culturally diverse background makes me a rather shuffled deck. I was born in Germany, just outside of Munich, with a passion for art and drawing.

At age eleven my family moved to the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Not being able to speak English when we arrived, meant learning very quickly as I attended a regular English speaking school. To this day I speak with a jumbled German Australian accent which many find difficult to place. Growing up in Australia was wonderful. I worked at a German Restaurant where I had to wear traditional dirndls that made my Bavarian roots happy. I was passionately in love with horses and so spent most of my free time with my horse, Calypso.  The hours I spent riding by myself through the Australian bush are still some of my fondest childhood memories.  The Australian wildlife and environment hold a very special place in my heart and have found their way into several of the stories that I have written.

calypso

When I was twenty I moved to the United States. I now live near Phoenix, Arizona, with my husband, Kevin, my daughters, Isabelle and Zoe. Having always been an animal lover, I share my home with my menagerie of two Golden Retrievers, three cats, one foster horse, two alpacas, nine chickens and a tortoise. Life is good!

I have been a member of the SCBWI for many years and am always working on improving my craft in both writing and illustrating by attending workshops and conferences. I am also the Assistant Regional Advisor for the SCBWI Arizona region. My passion for what I do takes me to many schools where I aim to inspire kids to read, write and draw. Seeing the immense value in such visits lead me to create the Visiting Authors Committee at my children’s school. Since its formation I’ve been able to bring authors and illustrators to our school to wow the students. These have included Tony DiTerlizzi, Brandon Mull, Pseudonymous Bosch, Dav Pilkey and many more. Life is stupendous!

In my free time, I love to go kayaking, hiking and camping with my family. We are self-confessed National Park Junkies and so are always looking forward to our next adventure. Because drawing and reading are two of my main passions, there is always a sketchbook close by and a book at hand.

Could life get any better? I am so lucky because I simply love what I do!

Awards and Recognitions:

 Winner
2013 SCBWI-AZ “Welcome To Our House” Creativity Contest


“The Park Our Town Built” – Featured Read
“Tejas Star Reading List” for 2012-2013


“The Park Our Town Built”- Finalist
2012 Green Earth Book Award


 Second Place
2011 SCBWI-AZ “Welcome To Our House” Creativity Contest


“The Park Our Town Built” – Bronze Medal – Multicultural Picture Books
2011 Moon Beam Children’s Book Awards


“The Park Our Town Built” – Featured Read
Fall 2011 Seasonal Showcase of the Children’s Book Council


“There’s a Coqui in My Shoe!” – Winner – Latino Books Into Movies
2010 12th Annual International Latino Book Awards


“The Adventures of Salt & Soap at Grand Canyon” – Winner – Best Children’s Nonfiction
2009 Glyph Awards – Arizona Book Publishing Association


“There’s a Coqui in My Shoe!” – Winner – Best Educational Children’s Book – English
2008 10th Annual International Latino Book Awards


“There’s a Coqui in My Shoe!” – Tied for Second – Best Children’s Book
2008 10th Annual International Latino Book Awards


“The Student from Zombie Island ” – Winner – Best Cover Design: Children/Young Adult
2008 Glyph Awards – Arizona Book Publishing Association