I had a Flickr mail from Katrin, a Berlin urban sketcher, professional illustrator, and artist. We arranged to meet in a coffee shop called Fleury to sketch together. She brought two colleagues along: Marion, a graphic designer, and Anna, an illustrator by profession. Katrin and Anna are original Berliners by birth, Anna was born in East Berlin and remembers the fall of the Wall as a pre-teen. She grew up in Singapore, because her parents worked for the UN, and only returned to Berlin in 2005.
It was good to get “real” Berliners’ takes on a few things, from annoyance with people riding bikes on the sidewalk (a common practice here that appeared to me to be well tolerated) to observations about being an illustrator in Germany. All three of these women are established and have institutional clients with recurring work, but they all feel that illustrators are not as respected in Germany as they are in the U.S. I can only say that they are not respected in Canada either, and I don’t think it’s that different in the U.S. There are only a few stars, and many highly talented people who are getting by. Maybe the grass is always greener?
After sketching for a few hours (see Katrin’s two sketches here and here), Katrin, Anna and I moved to a cozy bar/restaurant called “Kapelle” around the corner where we had “Flammkuchen” (an Alsatian dish which is very much like a thin pizza). Katrin whipped up another sketch in an amazingly short time (she is definitely a professional illustrator!). But I had an extremely tired day on Wednesday and was not able to do any more sketching.