7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #291: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Jördis Brier

h1 August 5th, 2012 by jules

“She left the house, sad and disappointed,
to go on a quest in order to find her brothers.”

(Click to enlarge)

It’s gonna get dark and heavy and raw around here this morning, y’all.

However, if you look at 7-Imp’s home page right now, you’ll see some cute, fluffy dogs; some endearing cats; a screamingly adorable baby bear; a dancing egg; and even more happy happy joy joy (the wonderfully creepy bats from The Brothers Hilts being the one exception). So, I say it’s high time we got ominous and grim (and Grimm) around here, don’t you think? Hey, it’s only fair, and it’s my turn, says The Sinister, given last week was a heartwarming story about books.

That’s to say: If you’re still sipping your coffee and aren’t in the mood to read about bones and blood and angry ravens tearing at someone and straight-up murder as only fairy tales (or, in this case, fairy tale adaptations) can tell ’em, consider yourself warned now.

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means we get to look at the work of a student or brand-new illustrator, and today I’ve got a German student of illustration, named Jördis Brier, who was actually once a student of American illustrator Shadra Strickland. One of Jördis’s classroom projects (not yet published) is the subject of today’s post, and I’m going to let her tell you more about it.

* * *

(Click to enlarge)

My name is Jördis Brier. I’m a 22-year-old Illustration student from Hamburg, Germany (cold, rainy Hamburg). I’m in my seventh semester. The second part of my third year I spent at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore.

My style is usually pretty dark and sinister, but I also like cute, bright, and colorful illustrations, like the ones Jan Brett or Graeme Base do. They are gorgeous.

But with my style, for sure, one of my favorites is Shaun Tan, Chris Van Allsburg, or Einar Turkowski (a German illustrator).

(Click to enlarge)

“The ravens of the forest heard her crying and screaming for her brothers, so they gathered and flew to find the poor girl, grabbed her…”
(Click to enlarge)

“She was sure the ravens brought her to her brothers, so she sat down and waited for the boys to come. The day turned into dusk and 7 huge ravens appeared on the horizon. The girl noticed the movement in the sky and stood up expectantly.”
(Click to enlarge)

My favorite medium at the moment is scratchboard. Usually, I work with pencil and, in the rare case of color, usually Polychromos.

I loved living and studying in Baltimore. During my time there, I lived with the greatest roommates ever. Most of them were artists, too, so I also got help from them — when I got stuck on a sketch or an idea.

The four months at MICA inspired me a lot and helped me to develop my style — especially my illustration teacher, Shadra Strickland, who is not just a great teacher, but also an awesome illustrator. She helped me to be conscious and consistent with my project, ‘The 7 Ravens.’

“When the ravens reached the girl and realized that it was their sister, they pounced on her in furious anger and picked her flesh and cracked her bones
till the blood sloshed out of her body, her eyes and her mouth
and continued till she lie motionless and dead on the ground.”

(Click to enlarge)

The book is about a little girl who is searching for her brothers, who left the family long ago. The parents neglected them because of the newborn sister, so they turned into ravens and flew away. When the sister becomes old enough, she tries to find them, but as she gets to the nest and the brothers realize it’s her, they kill her, still filled with jealousy. And, eventually, they turn into boys again.

“In the moment the murder was done, the curse was broken
and the ravens turned into boys again.”

(Click to enlarge)

My guideline was the story from the Brothers Grimm. The original is a very sweet story with a happy ending, which bored me a little bit, so I worked on the text till the words fit to the pictures in my head.

I just had an exhibiton with my illustrations, printed on aluminum plates [pictured below].

(Click to enlarge)

* * *

Thanks to Jördis for sharing. Pictured below are some sketches. You may click each one to enlarge and see up close.

All images are © Jördis Brier and produced with her permission.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) The NPR critic, Marc Hirsh, is BRILLIANT. To what he wrote here at NPR this week, I say: Ditto.

I have been a super devoted fan of Sam, pictured right, for 25 years now (GASP!), so naturally I think Hirsh has impeccable taste. I love what he penned there, a lovely tribute to her music and what it means to us fans (even if we stumble over our words to describe it).

2) I enjoyed what K. T. Horning wrote here about Sendak, librarians, and censorship. To top it all off, it includes an illustration from the one and only Sergio Ruzzier.

3) Speaking of dark tales, as we are this week, on a whim I grabbed Neil Gaiman’s Newbery-winning The Graveyard Book off my bookshelf and am reading it to my girls. It’s really wonderful, I’m finding, to read his prose aloud, especially as a break in reading series’ books (which we’re also doing).

4) School starts this week for my girls. I’ll miss them, but then I’ll have quiet days once again for working, since I work from home, as well as time again for daily, mind-clearing walks. (This is definitely a mixed blessing, as they say: I love spending time with them, but I won’t miss, say, the high-pitched kitty voice the eight-year-old takes on when pretending to make Pumpkinfacehead speak. So help me, I love the eight-year-old, but that voice makes it so that I have to read each sentence, when working, repeatedly. It also makes me wonder if I’m very slowly going INSANE.)

5) What’s that? You need a moment of transcendent beauty and want to hear Rufus sing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20, since his stupendous voice is like warm butter wrapped up in melted chocolate with a dollop of honey and maybe even sliding down hot toast? I can help with that.

6) Started watching Louie on Netflix (or Netflips, if you’re my six-year-old)—I think it was Adrienne Furness who recommended it somewhere, and if she recommends it, it’s very likely I will also like it—and I very much enjoy the show.

7) I love to see the work of student illustrators, the illustrators of the future (future! future! ….)*

* [That’s my echo] …

What are YOUR kicks this week?

19 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #291: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Jördis Brier”

  1. I got my best kick last night around 9p when someone bought our sofa within an hour of listing it on Craigslist, AND they brought 4 people to move it. Woot. One less thing to worry about on the moving front. My future kick will be seeing you tomorrow morning! 🙂

  2. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Jordis! So proud of her.

    My kicks are:
    1. Watching my studio wall grow with art from my latest project.
    2. Having my great friend and fellow illustrator, Taeeun visit my studio for a working weekend.
    3. Esperanza Spalding radio on Pandora to keep the creative juices flowing.
    4. Chicken and waffles at Miss Shirley’s Cafe in B-more.
    5. Early morning runs in the park without dying of heat stroke.
    6. Bringing home Isabelle Arsenault’s “Virginia Woolf” and Amy Martin’s “Symphony City” from The Children’s Bookstore here in Baltimore!
    7. Waking up to a WONDERFUL feature of one of my student’s work on 7-Imp!!!!! Woot! Woot!

  3. Dark is good like wine or chocolate or coffee.
    Nicely done, Jordis.
    The cover is my favorite, lovely hand type.

    Jules- Yay for librarians! Back to school is a mixed blessing indeed. I don’t want summer to be over but I want to be back in the studio (cue “Tomorrow” to beging playing).

    Tracy- The magic of Craigslist and strong people. Good luck with the move.

    Shadra- So many great kicks especially #7


    1. Bittersweet Hello-Goodbye to friends and their new baby before they headed back to Texas.

    2. Breakfast with my big sister (I have three).

    3. Another full art studio day this week.

    4. Wine with a friend while we shared filo wrapped brie glazed in lavender honey. Yum.

    5. I don’t much like air conditioning except in the car which my husband fixed after I went the whole July without it. He is the best.

    6. I found out my brother and sister-in-law are coming for a visit.

    7. Mini 20 year art school reunion with a few dear friends.

    Happy August!

  4. Grimm’s tales have a way of turning not quite as expected so my favorite picture is her waiting on the tree branch; hopeful but with no idea of what is to come. I do love scratchboard and admire all the work involved.
    Jules: Gaiman’s graveyard book is brilliant; I cry every single time.
    Tracy: The same thing happened to me this summer. One of my friends needed a second frig, came and got my old one the same day my new one arrived; a win-win.
    Shadra: Exercise without the heat and humidity is a miracle this summer.
    Moira: Enjoy your reunion.

    My kicks:
    1. Great conversations with my PLN on Twitter.
    2. Loving Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan, laughing out loud like a loon at the humor.
    3. Discovering a pop-out book by Mo Willems at my local bookstore and finally reading it.
    4. Picking tomatoes from the vine in my garden and popping them into my mouth.
    5. The smell of sunshine on my dog’s fur.
    6. A red sun yesterday morning before the evening storm.
    7. I’m alive to live another day.

  5. Ooh Grim or Grimm ..either way, Jordis has a hit with her illistrustrations are deliciously dark. I hope to see her work in a book soon.
    Jules, I love you are reading The Graveyard to your girls. I am still amazed that some librarians refuse to put it in the library because of the first scene. Ack.

  6. Oops…IPad error
    Shadra, Esperanza Spalding is a Portland town gal.
    Moira, family and friend visits are the best.
    Margie, tomatoes, yum.
    My kicks:
    1. Grandgirls up from Medford to visit
    2. Bought a Barbie princess pool for said Grandgirls. It was 100 yesterday (our first in awhile).
    3. Hanging out with family.
    4. First tomatoes from garden.
    5. Getting the Haiku Society of America newsletter and being inspired.
    6. Participating in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Write Fifteen Minutes a Day.
    7. Sunshine. Lot of it.

  7. ‘Morning, all!

    I love those illustrations by Jördis Brier. (As an aside, I love the name “Jördis,” too.) Imagine her visual style hooked up with a story by Margo Lanagan… And how appropriate to see this Grimm story featured here today, on what the weekend newspaper claims is Sister Day. The world is a funny old place.

    (Hope she won’t mind if I mention that I seem to have, er, stumbld upon her Tumblr site, with lots more samples of her work — not all black-and-white. Check out this Scandinavian-sweater-donning bear, in the company of a scarfed pigeon, a mouse, and a fox. I really, really like one detail about this, especially: the way the fox’s tail hangs outside the frame of the rest of the scene, seeming to imply that he’s just now arrived there from somewhere behind and to the right of the viewer. This would only work with a fox, I think!)

    Thanks so much for introducing us to her, Jules!

    That was a great commentary by Marc Hirsh. Thanks to you, Jules (and Jill — and where the heck has SHE been?!?), of course I finally picked up on Sam Phillips a few years ago. But like Hirsh, I would find it impossible to write about her music… Unlike him, I have the luxury of not needing to. 🙂

    Louie is great! Edgy-raw, and soooo funny. In a way, it reminds me of a more heartfelt Curb Your Enthusiasm. Good on Adrienne for recommending it to you!

    Love everyone’s kicks today. But want to say specifically that Margie’s “the smell of sunshine on my dog’s fur” really hit me. Three senses packed into one phrase (because “fur” always carries an implicit reference to touch): oooooh, nicey nice.

    From here:

    1. The someecards.com empire of snark has an offshoot site called “Happy Place,” which includes an ongoing series, “Unintentionally Inappropriate Test Responses from Children.” (I gather teachers + parents scan or photograph the entries and send them in.) This one made me laugh out loud, which is one reason I’m glad I haven’t taught school in 30+ years: inability to maintain dignity in the face of wit.
    2. Re-reading some Annie Dillard recently. Yum, and le sigh.
    3. Also reading a book about “possible Earths” called What If the Moon Didn’t Exist?, written by an astronomer. Amazing all the side-effects I’d never have considered… because that it exists at all is the result of a collision between the early Earth and a “Mars-sized planet.” Take away that collision and we’d end up with something like an 8-hour day, for instance, which would mean enormous wind speeds, which would mean no tall plants, which would mean [etc., etc., etc.].
    4. Started a new story this week. Still at the intriguing I wonder where this is going? phase, which precedes all the ugly How am I possibly going to fix THIS?!? questions.
    5. Demetri Martin cracks, me, UP.
    6. Finally had a chance to play with a birthday present which has been sitting in its box until the other day: a gizmo you plug into the car cigarette lighter socket, which then connects to your cell phone and broadcasts to your car radio. Everybody says, “Oh, like for hands-free phone calls?” Yes, that. But the REAL reason I wanted it was so I can play Pandora, Spotify, Amazon MP3, etc. through a real stereo.
    7. A long time ago I blogged about “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Got a comment on that post yesterday, from a guy who for a while sang with (one incarnation of) The Platters. Cool!

    Have a great week, everybody!

  8. Tracy: Can’t wait to see you!

    Shadra: LOVE Virginia Wolf so much. And kick #4 makes me think of Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle. Good luck with your latest project, and thanks again for telling us all about Jördis.

    Moira: Do your kiddos start this week, too? I thought you Northeasterners started way later. … Brie + honey. I just drooled a little. No, really. … You have had such a family-filled summer. This is GREAT. Have fun with your brother.

    Margie: Which kinds of tomatoes did you grow? (Plum? Regular?) I agree with John about the loveliness of kick #5. And #7 stopped me in my tracks. That’s an assumed kick for me every week, but I should say it outloud more often. (And does “PLN” mean …. er, public library network??)

    Jone: If I knew that about the book being censored, then I conveniently forgot it. Ergh. The world is scary. Kids know this. Literature helps with that. Period. End of story. I’m going to tattoo this on my body, I think. …. You all reached 100 degrees? Wow. Hope you had a grand time with the grandgirls. Here’s hoping you continue to get sunshine. As I type this now, there is thunder. This is good, given that it’s been very dry here all summer long.

    JOHN SIMPSON, I am telling you that you missed a calling in children’s lit or art history or maybe both. Great point about Ms. Brier and Margo Lanagan. Also, that illustration you found (and I’m SO GLAD you found—and linked to—her Tumblr site, ’cause a web search brought me nothing) is one she had sent me for this feature! She had sent a few like that, but I figured for different reasons that it’d be neat to have a sort of Grimm theme and focus mainly on this one project. (BUT, I told myself, perhaps closer to the holidays/winter I can post those other ones.) … Oh, and Jill is just fine, but she got totally slammed with work for a long time there, and plus … well, I don’t want people to feel obligated to leave kicks every week anyway. (Remember how I’d email the “regulars” if they didn’t show up, ’cause Mama Jules in me would worry about them? I finally stopped that, too, knowing that there are so many sites in the world and not enough time to read them. Shoot, even I can’t keep up with my favorite blogs/sites.) Anyway, she’s fine! … Oh my goodness, that photo you shared in kick #1 made me laugh, and the astronomer’s book sounds great (AND makes me think of my current fiction read, the one I mentioned last week). …. Also, your kick #6? I got that for my birthday. I’m not sure if they’re the same thing. For mine, it plugs into the cigarette lighter, and you have to tune to the radio station it tells you to tune to … and then voila! I can hear an NPR podcast or my own songs on my iPhone. I wonder if we have the same thing? …. YOUR LAST KICK? WOW!

  9. Jules: Kick #6 (mine!).

  10. Whoa, that’s totally different from what I have. (I don’t know where to even show you mine, ’cause it was a gift, but I’ll find out.)

  11. My kids don’t go back until after Labor Day. I am milking the last weeks of Summer for all they are worth. I just got back from swimming to get ready for a family cookout. Cheers!

  12. Jules:
    I planted several kinds this year but right now I’m grabbing the cherry tomatoes before the deer get them. PLN–when I use it I mean professional learning network—school librarian for 34 years 🙂
    Have a wonderful week one and all.

  13. So… I’m on vacation this week which is Kick #1-7 🙂

    I do have to just say though that I can’t believe your girls go back this week- we don’t go back until the Thursday after Labor Day! Crazy how our schedules are so different!!

  14. Hi Everyone – what great kicks! I love summer.

    I like the art, but am not so good with the scarey or horror stuff. And the sister waiting for the ravens not knowing her fate – to tragic for me. Sorry – I’m a wimp and too tenderhearted. But, as I said, amazing art. Will have to check out the Tumblr site.

    My Kicks:
    1. Inviting 20 of my favorite moms from my neighborhood and my Little’s former preschool to tea at a fancy tea house in Pasadena Ca (The Scarlett Tea Room in case anyone is interested). We had so much fun and everything was tasty except the Mademoiselle Grey tea – too bland.

    2. Realizing that I don’t get out enough after the tea party yestereday, I said this to my hubby, who nodded enthusiastically when I suggested to him that I should get out more.

    3. A bike ride through late afternoon buttery sunlight to Culver City CA (very charming town surrounded by Los Angeles) to eat ice cream with my Little, Husband, Little’s Friend and his Dad. I had banana with salted almonds mixed in.

    4. Final meeting with social worker tomorrow to work out details of foster-to-adopt as we are now certified. We hope to have a tiny one in our home by late September.

    5. Received a large box of my neice’s very cute girl clothes from my sister-in-law in anticipation of above mentioned tiny one being a girl.

    6. It is my birthday tomorrow – I might have mentioned this. My Little told me tonight “You won’t find the envelope we hid for tomorrow.” I heard groans and sighs from the living room as my husband despaired and then tried not to laugh.

    7. Listening to my Little make up a game while playing with my husband with such complicated rules that are impossible to keep track of. I remember when one of my nephews started doing this. Hilarious.

    Have a wonderful week!

  15. Flyby kicks! Hi Jules and Imps! Reading everyone’s kicks always makes me smile.

    Love the detail in this week’s art, definitely dark dark dark – what mean brothers! But, sometimes people are mean.

    Summer, heat, sunshine, tea, Sam Phillips, craigslist goodness, morning runs, wine with friends, sunshine on a dog’s fur, wine and cheese with friends, family visits, awesome new toys, new family members – sounds like everyone’s having a great summer!

    Happy birthday Allison!

    My quick kicks:
    1) Sun
    2) Scoring a floor model patio table!
    3) Fresh flowers on the table
    4) Cheese and berries shared with a friend
    5) Soccer
    6) Gratitude
    7) Abundance

    Have a wonderful week!

  16. wow the cover piece really blows me away! what great composition and lighting on these pieces. I’m also glad to see anyone doing scratchboard… sometimes it seems like a bit of a lost art, you so rarely see it.

    Jules, love the RW video.. also enjoyed your piece about Victoria Jamieson. I met her at a conference here right before her first book came out so its enjoyable keeping up with her.

    my kicks:
    1) school started for us too… 1st grade and a new preschool classroom to get used to
    2) getting caught up on projects
    3) had a great idea for a cartoon about the whole chip-fil-a saga. So far no one’s flamed me on my blog;)
    4) going to the wave pool as a mommy and me day with the six year old prior to school starting. we went down the slides about 500 times
    5) watching the olympics, drinking wine, and sketching with hubby
    6) having special time with the three year old this weekend while big brother was at grandparents
    7) sleeping in on sunday BECAUSE big brother was at grandparents. (the younger sib keeps the same hours her mama and daddy do)

    have a great rest of the week everyone!

  17. Moira: Enjoy every moment.

    Margie: 34! WOOT!

    Hi, Stacey! Enjoy that vacation.

    Allison: Happy birthday! Hope the meeting with the social worker went well. How exciting!

    Rachel, congrats on the table. And I bought fresh flowers today and thought of your kick (even if I’m late in responding).

    Mary: Went to your blog post. Saw. Liked! When’d you go to the wave pool? We were there on Saturday. For real. SLEEPING IN: Sweet! Good luck with the start of school.

  18. […] how we got a bit dark and grim/Grimm a couple weeks ago? I’m gonna do that again today, because I just can’t pass up the opportunity to post […]

  19. […] illustrator Jördis Brier (August 5, 2012), whose artwork from a student project is featured […]

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