Caroline Magerl (born 1964) Caroline Magerl is an award-winning and internationally distinguished illustrator, cartoonist and painter, who is now recognised as a unique and arresting presence. Her work spans from dark, enigmatic oil paintings, through incisive cartoons, to lively children’s book illustrations. It has been exhibited in a variety of galleries and art fairs and celebrated in numerous publications.
Caroline Magerl was born on 29 July 1964, in a small town called Griesheim, near Frankfurt, Germany. Both her parents have worked within a creative field, exposing young Magerl to the arts from an early age. Her father was a yacht builder and musician, while her mother worked in retail, specialising in fashion.
Two years after her birth, the family migrated to Australia, and settled on the fringes of suburban Sydney. In 1971, they set sail aboard the Rosa M, a yacht that her father had built in their backyard. They cruised the east coast of Australia for seven years; then, to her dismay, her father sold their floating home and relocated the family to a caravan, first on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and then in Brisbane. During this time her primary and secondary education was completed at 10 different schools. Then, at the age of 16, she left home to join another yacht crossing the Tasman Sea and reaching New Zealand. Upon her return to Australia, she found work as a cook while refining her self-taught artistry as a painter on the side. In her twenties, her talents were being recognised as her cartoons and illustrations were published in international yachting magazines. Her drawings were informed by a darkly wry sense of humour, inspired from years of boating experience. She continued to work as a painter, illustrator and cartoonist, eventually gaining international success through her contributions to newspapers and magazines, in Australia, the United States and Europe, including among others, the Melbourne Sun Herald and Reader’s Digest.
In 1993, Magerl was accepted by the David Lewis Illustration Agency UK, which allowed her an opening into children’s literature. From this she pursued a long held desire to illustrate picture books, achieving an extensive and very impressive career in this field, while continuing her work as a fine artist exhibiting in several galleries and exhibitions worldwide, including the Eva Breuer Art Gallery in Australia and the Debut Contemporary in London. In 2001, she was awarded the Crichton Award, presented by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, in recognition of her talent in the field of children’s book illustration. She was also the recipient of a grant from the Australian Council for the Arts to write and illustrate a children’s book in 2012. She now resides in Queensland with her husband and daughter.
Magerl’s book illustrations are a compelling combination of a child’s innocence and experience placed within a richly imagined world. They are produced with unusual craftsmanship by the use of pen and ink line and crosshatching imposed over softly vibrant watercolour washes. From this, a distinct and pleasingly playful sense of surrealism has emerged.