Illustrator Spotlight: Gila von Meissner

© Gila von Meissner

 June 1, 2021

It's the beginning of the month so we have a new Kidlit411 banner and Illustrator Spotlight on Gila von MeissnerCheck out the winners of our banner contest for 2021.Welcome! 

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

I have been freelancing for more than ten years, mainly working on logos, branding, and packaging. I have always worked on cute clients, so integrating more and more storytelling in my work was a natural process. I finally did a children’s book course some 4-5 years ago and have been hooked ever since. 

© Gila von Meissner

Congrats on your website banner design for Kidlit411. How did you approach this project?

Knowing your current branding, I wanted to stick to the bird theme... an easy choice, as I love illustrating birds! I just added my own style and characters and had some fun with it.

© Gila von Meissner

You are a children's illustrator as well as a graphic designer. Do the two fields influence each other in your work?

Definitely. My graphic design work is getting more illustrative, and almost all my vectors start with a hand-drawn (Procreate) sketch these days. I even handletter more and more logos. Design layout rules and graphic experience influence my illustration work... and if all goes well, I should have a more iconic/ graphic body of work by the end of the year - working on a second portfolio and style right now. 

© Gila von Meissner

What projects are you working on now?

I am currently finishing a picture book that was shelved four years ago, for a German publisher. As soon as that is done, I am working on a book pitch for a local zoo that we want to realize this year. Four manuscripts of my own are being finalized right now, and I hope my beloved critique group signs off on the dummies. I am currently querying agents, had some interest already, and cannot wait to show off my own manuscripts and see what they think. 

And because a girl’s gotta eat (and feed her pets) - I am redoing some eco packaging for a client, will launch a new baby brand for them next, have some MG covers to finish, and develop a range of illustrated bakery boxes next. 

© Gila von Meissner

What is your preferred illustration medium/process?

Procreate and Adobe Illustrator. I wish I could say pencil and paper or gouache or something cool... but I always end up double-tapping my notebooks to undo. I am an iPad girl through and through. 

What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

Children’s books are fun to do, but they might not pay the bills when you are just starting out. Remember that illustrations are needed on all sorts of things, and most pay better than publishing. Napkins, notebooks, greeting cards, fabrics, nursery products, packaging and mascots, just to name a few. And if you can master vector, you broaden your appeal in the commercial market. 

© Gila von Meissner

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

I am 46 and I don’t have a driver’s license. That isn’t always helpful, as I live far away from any shops... but I make it work, and the thought to drive now petrifies me! :)

© Gila von Meissner

Where can people find you online?

46, single, she/her. German, have lived in the States and the Netherlands, and currently residing in a tiny house in the boondocks in North Germany. With two dogs, an Israeli cat and a lot of ducks that stomp on my roof if I don’t feed them.

I used to work in marketing, made bags for a living for a while, and eventually switched to design and now illustration. Life isn’t linear, and things always work out.


  1. Congrats, Gila. Love seeing your work featured here on KidLit411!

  2. Adorable illustrations! Love the new banner! And the moose book! (Is that a book?) Love it. Best wishes!

    1. Ha, i wish. It is a portfolio cover, with a half-written story… one day… :)

  3. Such cute illustrations. Growing a moose looks like fun! Great suggestions for places to sell your art and designs other than picture books.


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