Introducing Our Summer Collection and the brilliant illustrator behind it, Cynthia Kittler

We are delighted to announce the latest in our line of creative partnerships with the super talented contemporary artist Cynthia Kittler. The result of the collaboration is our brand new, bold and colorful Summer Collection 19 that combines our love of everything skateboarding and Cynthia’s signature style.

We went to meet the illustrator to have a good chat about what inspired her to create the line and why she decided to work with us on this exciting project. Read on to find out more!

Tell us a little bit about your background! Where are you from? What have you studied?

I grew up in the countryside, near Stuttgart. I studied Graphic Design and Illustration at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz and later on, I went on to teach drawing and illustration at Würzburg University of Applied Sciences and Mainz University of Applied Sciences. Currently, I’m based in Offenbach and Frankfurt am Main.

How did you decide to become an illustrator?

I’ve always been drawing, so becoming an illustrator felt like the most natural thing to do. The problem was that I didn’t know anything about the profession itself. So, while I studied graphic design, I started exploring other disciplines of visual communication and that was the time when I specialized in illustration. My interest in it grew bigger and bigger, as I realized how much freedom drawing gives me. No matter what the task or the project is, it almost never gets boring.

Your style is very unique. Can you walk us through how it developed?

I experimented a lot in the beginning. When looking back at my old work, I see so many different approaches — from abstract collages to paintings, which also means that, hopefully, my style will always change and evolve over time.

Did the digital age change the way you work?

Yes, I think it definitely has a huge impact not only on me but on every contemporary artist simply because it changes the way we communicate, it defines our working tools, etc.

Why did you decide to work with us?

I think that Skateistan is a great and very important organization. I also like the approach of empowering children through fun and sports.

Have you ever tried skateboarding?

No, growing up I was playing handball but I’ve gotten pretty lazy lately.

I know you’ve probably answered this a million times, but tell us about your creative process. For instance, the illustrations for our new products — how did you decide what to draw, what colors to choose, etc.?

I wanted to come up with something that hopefully a lot of children can identify with, which is why I didn’t draw real faces for instance. Although I tried a lot of color options, I like how we came down to the ones we actually used and that are inspired by Skateistan’s brand identity. My last goal was to create something that spreads joy and communicates friendship.

The first children’s book that you illustrated, Planet Fashion, was just published. Congrats on that! What were the challenges you had to encounter to complete it?

Thank you! Working on it for quite some time (almost a year and a half!) while taking other commissions was definitely a challenge. I also had to be very precise, as I was drawing complex scenes with an average of 25 characters in them that all needed to be dressed accurately (fingers crossed) and represent a certain time in history at a certain place of the world. Which is why I had to do a lot of research too.

You’ve ticked off the illustrator bucket-list dream, working for clients like The New Yorker, Google, Pentagram, etc. Besides hard work and your huge talent, what other traits has led to your success in your opinion?

What I’ve learned is that the whole business side of illustration is a huge part of it all. Talking to other illustrators about those topics help a lot.

What’s next for you?

I’m doing a collaboration with a photographer. We’re experimenting a bit in our free time.

Skateistan’s Summer Collection 19 includes two styles featuring caps, t-shirts and bags that are already available to order in our online shop. As always, all products are manufactured solely using renewable wind and solar power and all proceeds support our programs directly.