Eccentric, mesmerising work by Berlin illustrator Josephin Ritschel

Berlin-based artist Josephin Ritschel, specialises in print design, editorial illustration and comic book creation.

Josephin’s incredibly intricate pencil drawing have won her commissions from an impressive list of clients which has grown to include Nobrow, Wrap Magazine, The New york Times, Nyclatope and Tiny Pencil.

Particularly noteworthy is Josephin’s choice of – or choice not to use – colour. It is rare to find an illustrator whose artworks are equally mesmerising in black and white as they are in colour.

A selection of Josephin’s extensive catalogue of comic books are stocked all around the world and her Solitude graphic novel, published by Canicola, is now in it’s second edition. A mere glance at Solitudes cover – which features a woman holding pig-like creature with the face and moustache of a man – sheds light on Josephin’s love of all things odd.

Inside the comic’s cover, hilarity and insanity unfold as a giant worm reeks havoc around town leaving car-swallowing craters in it’s wake.

Greg McIndoe

Solitude displays Josephins unique skill set which goes way beyond intricate drawing; amongst the madness, Josephin manages to conjure up an air of calm and comfort. in almost any other illustrative style a story like this would appear almost psychedelic yet Josephin transforms it into a rather charming and fantastical tale filled with beauty.

Josephin proves that raging monsters, whilst always fun, are not always necessary to tell an stimulating and unusual tale – people are weird enough.

Greg McIndoe

Looking through her portfolio, the madness is not always a obvious as in Solitude but a dose of eccentricity is always present. Those familiar with her work are sure to search out the oddities and will be delighted when, on closer inspection, they find that there is an orgy going on inside that sleek, clean house and a naked man passed out amongst its well kept garden.

Josephin is at her very best when illustrating an eccentric theme, so when contributing to Illustration Next – a collaborative project which resulted in a book published by Thames and Hudson – and given the theme of “excess” a stand out piece for her portfolio was almost guaranteed. Paired with award-winning illustrator Whitney Sherman, she created two illustration – one for each of their interpretations of the theme. And, as expected, her piece which looks at excessive collecting and features a man sitting calmly amongst a room packed with stuffed animals in dramatic positions is one of our all time favourites (above).

Asked about the experience of collaborating, Josephin enthused that she had learnt from the project and would “do it again immediately”. This is no surprise, as a large part of her success has been based on collaborations of sorts traveling round the world with her work to participate numerous group shows over the last few years.

Individually, the components which go into Josephin’s artworks – ultra-modern houses, monstrous insects, the occasionally taxidermy-filled room and plenty of peculiar people – may sound like an unsettling combination but her ability to transform this oddness into charm is an enviable and un-replicable quality which continues to keep an international audience coming back for more.


Posted on Aug 27th, 15 by

Greg McIndoe - also known as Headless Greg - is an illustrator and design writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He regularly writes for design magazines and online platforms, interviewing fellow illustrators and leading creatives.

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