Maya and Cat

It’s very clear from listening to children’s writer and illustrator Caroline Magerl that she is in love with her art. And how lucky was I to arrive in Buderim to the Art Nuvo gallery with an amazing travelling exhibition of the artist’ latest works. There’s something special about a woman, born in Germany with a father who built yachts and played music, a mother who worked in fashion and the childhood she experienced, who can remember the adventures of her thrilling life.

Imagine waking up on a boat looking out of the portholes to the wide horizon. The haphazard lifestyle of a a seven year old meant 9 different schools and this was tricky, if not a bit nomadic. Caroline spent many hours to herself writing and drawing.

She is now internationally known for her wonderful picture books, Hasel and Rose and recently Maya and Cat. In her words, it’s a 2 legged sack race –  write and draw.


Author/ illustrator Caroline Magerl



as Fritz and Irma, beaming and calling, threw their arms into the air


During her interview with Jo Chandler, Caroline mentioned her time scrubbing pots, continuing to sail, do freelance illustrations and even work as a cartoonist for the Bulletin. She was very excited when she won the Crichton Award CBC in 2001 with Grandma’s Shoes illustrated by Libby Hathorn.. Her inspiration for her art stems from her German background, Russian/ East German styles, UK illustrator John Birmingham and Quentin Blake is also another artist she admires.

Writing is hard and one of her ideas simmered for 10 years. Her picture books deal with friendship and resilience as in Maya and Cat and searching, lost things, windows, boats and animals appear in evocative poignant illustrations. Her favourite double page spread in Maya and Cat is the one showing the rooftops.  (a Mary Poppins type idea) where the reader sees the cat and Maya and the distance between them.


her favourite page


Margaret Gibbs with Caroline Magerl

Caroline firmly believes that every single book will take its own route. She quotes Einstein to “hold on to your tiny ideas.” From something small, an idea can grow and grow. She wants her readers to be engaged and connected; to FEEL the emotion in a story. And for this reason, Caroline wants to make the effort to care about her words, to ask herself questions about the characters.

It’s absolutely fantastic that her original watercolours are off to London to be sold with Chris Beetles. I would love to gaze up at her skies, giggle at the upside down cats on the inside covers, mesmerised by the blustery seas and captivated by the sweet Maya who rides her bike across the park.

The idea of belonging is an interesting one. With so many different schools and making new friends, a sense of belonging seeps into Magerl’s work.

This affectionate books starts off,

“On a roof, as wet as a seal, as grey as a puddle, Cat was rumbling, a rumbly purr.” 

There’s a messy looseness about her ink sketches that breathes life into the reader’s imagination.

Her process is to design a place with perspective, characters and setting. Following from this are the black and white drawings. Have focal points to look at. Then colour. Practise being spontaneous. Finally a water colour wash plus ink.


Have you lost a cat?


drafts and dabbling

Be sure to buy your copy from Books of Buderim. Fiona will be happy to support

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Judy M
August 3, 2018 at 8:34 am

Lovely, Marg. Always exciting to meet and spend time with children’s authors/illustrators. What a treat. xx

August 3, 2018 at 11:08 am

Thank you Marg, for your insights on this stunning new book from Caroline.

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    August 3, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    As an illustrator Emma, you would appreciate her delicate, playful scenes with a touch of humour.

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    August 3, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks Judy. Caroline heads over to London later in the year where her paintings will be viewed by more keen children’s lit fans.

M.J. Gibbs
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