Interview with (and Flyaway art by) Anika Kls / Artventurin

Anika Kls (Artventurin) drew this glowing image for Flyaway as part of her work with the Charting the Australian Fantastic program at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf — she showed it to me when we met in Glasgow, and my print of it just arrived.

Hand holding a print of an illustration: a blonde girl in a red cloak holding up a hand to a Tasmanian tiger on a rock, with sunset in the background

You can see more of her work on her website (and commission her) here: and order prints from, and in the meantime, I asked her some questions…

  1. Why draw, and what do you love about it? 

Over the years, I found drawing to be a vital tool of self-expression. When I go through my collection of drawings, I can see  whether I was in a good or bad mood as it will affect my colour palette. However, I also just love the challenge of creating something; of finding inspiration in your surroundings and pursuing your own visions in it. Sometimes I get the weirdest ideas for an art piece when looking at something entirely different, so I try to translate it into my own version. 

2. How do you choose a scene to draw?

I am a very visual person. When I read a scene and the images just effortlessly flood into my head, it’s usually a go for me. There has to be something that speaks to me; it’s quite hard to explain. Whenever I have various options, I construct a mental image and ask myself some questions: what would the colour palette be like? How is the scene arranged? Where do I position everything? What are the expressions like? And most importantly, can I pull it off and do it justice?

3. Can you say a bit about how you ended up working with Charting the Australian Fantastic, and the illustrations you do for them?

I initially attended the Charting the Australian Fantastic course, which is lead by Bettina (Tina) Burger and Lucas Mattila. They offered creative tasks every now and then, which was just perfect. The two tasks I chose allowed me to illustrate one scene from Lion Hearn’s Across the Nightingale Floor and re-draw a Shaun Tan piece in my own style. After handing that in, Tina and Lucas, who were conveniently looking for an assistant, contacted me and asked me if I would like a job (needless to say that I did).

The illustrations I did range from simple character/background sketches, logo designs or fully rendered illustrations for books and short-stories. The wildest ones were probably for Alan Baxter’s The Roo. I am not an expert on kangaroo anatomy and I’m quite sure the FBI is keeping an eye on me now for the endless google searches of gore.

Sketches of people playing guitar, and sketching a lamppost in Glasgow
My sketch of Anika and Tina in Glasgow in July

4. Why did you choose to illustrate this scene for Flyaway?

As with every illustration I did for Charting the Australian Fantastic, it was a shared discussion process with Tina and Lucas. We all read the story and needed a very representative image, so we threw some ideas around. It was a trial and error process, but in the end, this scene was the one that had burnt itself into my brain and that worked out well when I did the sketches. 

5. What do you hope to do with your art in the future?

That’s a very tough question. Right now, I’m trying to do as much freelance work as possible next to my studies here in Glasgow since prices are skyrocketing. Fan art is always fun to do, but I recently got into DnD and specifically DnD character designs, so I would like to pursue that more in the future. 

Depending on what comes after my postgraduate, I might even try to focus solely on illustrations if an opportunity presents itself. The biggest goal is still to design a book cover or do in-book illustrations (Bon Orthwick’s illustrations for Empire of the Vampire blew me away, so there is that goal).

Anika Kls illustration of a pastry shop
“Hive of Glass”, from Anika’s portfolio

6. Any other questions you wish I’d asked?:D

Is it hard? Yes, especially when you’re a perfectionist like me and try to meet expectations. 

Do I know what I’m doing? No, but I’m still doing it (trust the process!).

Do you regularly forget to eat and drink while drawing because you’re so caught up in the process and then almost black out? How dare you call me out like that.

Anika Kls Illustration of burning building and figure reaching to giant crow
Anika Kls illustration for Catching Teller Crow (Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina) for Charting the Australian Fantastic

More about Anika

And Flyaway, by me