Lisbeth Zwerger

Affiliate links may be included in this post. Thank you for supporting Craftwhack!

Do you know about Lisbeth Zwerger? She’s the kind of illustrator who makes me regret not studying illustration at school instead of, um, ceramics.

Lisbeth Zwerger poppies

The Wizard of Oz, 1996


Her style is old fashioned, quirky and nostalgic. Her illustrations are the sort that kids get lost in, staring at the pages, absorbing the expressions of the characters, the colors, the lines. They will remember them into adulthood.

alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland, 1999


Look at these two versions of The Nutcracker that she illustrated in 1982 and then 2004. The first one shows how influenced by early 20th c. illustration she was. Then you look at the more recent book and recognize her style as it evolved over the years. So much more of her personality in the second one.

Lisbeth Zwerger nutcracker1

The Nutcracker, 1982


Lisbeth Zwerger nutcracker2

The Nutcracker, 2004

This would be great to point out to kids – that artists spend a long time practicing art-making and usually their styles evolve over the years. Ask which cover they prefer.

Some interesting tidbits about Lisbeth is that she studied art in Vienna, yet never earned a degree. Her teachers discouraged her from pursuing illustration, which she obviously (thankfully) ignored.

Something I found interesting also is that she works at her own pace- slowly. She doesn’t try to churn out a bunch of work quickly. I think it’s important for older kids who are interested in studying art to learn these bits about contemporary artists, because in art, more than many other careers, it’s so important to find their own style, pace, and methods and stick with what works for them.

Many times they’ll have to do this on their own, through a lot of work and experimentation, and Zwerger is a great art role model in this respect.

Find more about her here and here.



The Art of Lisbeth Zwerger



  1. 08/20/2012 / 10:02 am

    Love her art. Very interesting to see how her style has evolved. She must have amazing patience to have re-illustrated The Nutcracker!

  2. 09/02/2012 / 11:13 pm

    I always enjoy her work. Thanks for this post!

  3. Beth
    08/28/2016 / 10:02 am

    Jim LaMarche listed Zwerger along with Carl Larrson as his major influences, can’t get much higher praise than that.

    • 08/31/2016 / 12:49 pm

      Awesome! I bet those two have majorly influenced a lot of illustrators. They’re just amazing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *