Illustrator Spotlight: Limor Schnurmacher

© Limor Schnurmacher

June 19, 2015

This week we welcome the talented illustrator Limor Schnurmacher from Israel.

Tell us about your background and how you came to illustrate for children.

Hi, its great being here. Thanks!

From a very young age I was told that I drew well – by my pre-school teachers, at school, and also by my family.

As a child I was not very eager to take on the role of art representative, so I tried out many other things: music, science, biology, even physics, but eventually I returned to drawing.

As an adult, I searched for a way to turn my hobby into a career and I joined a four-year program in visual communications at a design academy. It was only in my third year that a wonderful instructor introduced me to illustration.

© Limor Schnurmacher

Even after I graduated, however, illustration did not become a major part of my working life.

For 12 years I was employed by several companies as a graphic designer and art director. I produced illustrations for newspapers, websites, company branding, and educational textbooks, but something was missing. I felt that I was working with my head and not with my heart. At the same time, I joined the Illustrators' Society and I began to notice my attraction to children's projects. I like the idea of telling an entire story in illustrations and my personal style was suitable for this form of work.

After working for a time as both an employee and a freelance illustrator, I decided to focus on illustration and I am now a full-time self-employed illustrator.

You have such a striking and distinctive style. How did this come about?

Thank you so much! I can't really explain it. During my studies at the academy I tried out many materials and I was exposed to the work of many illustrators. I was strongly attracted to artwork of a materialistic and rough type and I liked working with acrylics. I like the fact that the paint dries quickly and that it is possible to work in layers with the paint from the bottom layer not mixing with the layer above. 

© Limor Schnurmacher

In one of my drawing classes the instructor told me that I was not paying enough attention to the background. For some reason this critique became strongly etched in my memory and since then I have made an effort to create dynamic and intriguing compositions, as much as I can.

What is your illustration process? 

After doing some research and searching for references, I begin with pencil sketches. I scan them, edit them with Photoshop (size and arrange) the composition, and print, usually 1:1.

© Limor Schnurmacher

In a separate layer I create a simulation of the color palette (I've discovered that this saves lots of time and materials) and then resume my work on paper. 
© Limor Schnurmacher

Most of the illustrations are accomplished on special watercolor paper. I never work directly on white paper, rather I use a transparent background color. Even if the illustration requires white – I begin by applying a white base layer to provide texture.

© Limor Schnuramacher

Then I copy the sketch to the paper (on top of the paint layer) and start working with the acrylics.

© Limor Schurmacher

I use pencils to emphasize shading and other details and I finish by using Photoshop editing as necessary.

What projects are you working on now?

At the moment I am working on an illustrated story to be presented in September at the Tel Aviv Illustration Week. Illustration displays will be exhibited for one week throughout the city of Tel Aviv – Jaffa, featuring top domestic illustrators.

Together with four other illustrators I will be showing an exhibit called "Eat with your mouth closed," on meals and food-related behavior. I have also started work on a joint independent project with three other illustrators, in which we are translating Russian fairytales to form a children's book and exhibition.

You live and work in Israel. Are your clients internationally or locally based? What are some issues you've faced working internationally?

As an art director I worked mainly with international clients. The Israeli market is very small and today it is easy to work with anyone anywhere – mainly through e-mail communication.

© Limor Schnurmacher

Visual language is a universal language but before every project I make sure to do research and ask preparatory questions – to coordinate expectations and clarify cultural details that I do not understand. These are usually the most basic things – dress code, use of colors, preference for a certain type of character. Some places are more open to illustration styles and to a wide range of topic and content related feelings, while others are more conservative.

It is only in the past year that I started working solely as a self-employed illustrator. At the moment, my clients are local and I am searching for agents to represent me in America and Europe.

What are the one or two pieces of advice you would give aspiring illustrators?

First of all, believe in yourself. Create and produce a lot (and show your work on social networks and by direct mail to professionals). 

© Limor Schnurmacher

Initiate personal projects and be persistent (it's certainly not easy).

Never stop learning and searching for sources of inspiration, but in order to find your personal essence, style, and approach – look within yourself.

Who or what inspires you?

Many things: music, songs, personal stories, unique plants, and unusual facial features of people I meet along the way. I love visiting photography exhibits and seeing the work of other illustrators – from all over the world. As a rule – meeting other artists and brainstorming together always gives me a new and fresh point of view.

© Limor Schnurmacher

A blog I highly recommend is Picture Book Makers

What is something most people don't know about you?

That I am ambidextrous. I write with my left hand but use both hands to illustrate.

Wow. That is impressive. Where can we find you online?

Since graduating from the Academy of Design, Limor has worked for various companies in different fields: high tech, education, media, book publishers, newspapers, and magazines.

Limor has created an abundance of artwork for a wide range of target audiences in Israel, Europe, South America, Nigeria, Thailand, South Korea, and China.

She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She is currently developing illustration workshops through children's literature that aim to expose participants to the world of illustration and to give them tools for further expression of visual language.

Limor lives near the Haifa Bay with her three daughters, her husband, and their older dog.


  1. There is a lovely flow of energy in Limor's compositions! Thanks for the interview and sharing your process, Limor!

  2. "In one of my drawing classes the instructor told me that I was not paying enough attention to the background." - That is an issue I definitely have, so I'm going to pay close attention to Limor's art to see how she overcame her problem. :)

    While I don't understand some of the terminology of digital art, I enjoyed reading about how she proceeds with her work.

    Thanks for yet another terrific interview!

    1. Thank you.
      Regarding the background - you 'just' need to mention it :)

  3. Lively work!! Thank you for sharing!


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