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Täheke, 12/2006, cover, acrylicEstonian language textbook for 3rd grade II. L. Carroll Alice In Wonderland, 2008, acrylicDarja Gerassimova. Winter Fairytale/Magic Winter, Labirint, 2011, acrylicAino Pervik. The Wandering Cat, Tammerraamat, 2012, acrylicIko Maran. But So Many Cats, TEA, 2012, acrylicHilli Rand. Snowy White and Pitch Black, Päike ja Pilv, 2014, acrylic, mixed mediaAino Pervik. Bluephant Goes to Kindergarten, Tammerraamat, 2014, acrylic, mixed mediaMargery Williams. The Velveteen Rabbit, Koolibri, 2015, acrylic, mixed mediaLeelo Tungal. Joseph the Bunny Looks for a Friend, Tammerraamat, 2015, acrylic, mixed mediaHow the Animals Got their Tails, Tammerraamat, 2017, acrylic, mixed mediaHow the Animals Got their Tails, Tammerraamat, 2017, acrylic, mixed mediaIlmar Tomusk. Wolf’s Friends, Tammerraamat, 2018, acrylic, mixed mediaIlmar Tomusk. Wolf’s Friends, Tammerraamat, 2018, acrylic, mixed mediaEllen Niit. The Little Bunny Who Didn’t Want to Go to Sleep, Tammerraamat, 2018, acrylic, mixed mediaLiis Sein. Saskia Looks for Colours, Tammerraamat, 2019, acrylic, mixed media

The Gingerbread Story

Piret Veigel

Postimees Kirjastus
2019, 32 pp
ISBN: 9789949669585
fiction, picturebook

Not a Peep

Olivia Saar

2017, 30 pp
ISBN: 9789949620494
fiction, storybook

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams

Translator: Piret Carson
2015, 31 pp
ISBN: 9789985036396
fiction, storybook, picturebook

But A Lot Of Cats

Iko Maran

TEA Kirjastus
2012, 32 pp
ISBN: 9789949241187
fiction, storybook

Wiff-Waff Warbler

Jaan Rannap

TEA Kirjastus
2008, 72 pp
ISBN: 9789985717271
fiction, storybook

Miisu's Birthday

Uno Leies

TEA Kirjastus
2007, 56 pp
ISBN: 9789985716298
fiction, poetry
Her work has been in many group shows in Estonia, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the USA and Yugoslavia.

Tallinn IllustrationsTriennial TIT 2020, Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Russia
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB 2021), Slovakia
TIT 2020 & "Leafing Through Estonian Children's Books", Mytishchi, Russia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Fox Spirit. Fox Charm", Estonian Children's Literature Centre, Tallinn; Central Library of Lääne County, Haapsalu
Children's Books' Illustrations from Estonian artists, Kehra, Estonia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "From the Mountains to the Sea", Central Library of Lääne County, Haapsalu
Exhibition of Estonian artists "Christmas Tale", Syktyvkar, Komi Republic
"Leafing Through Estonian Children's Books V", Pskov, Russia

Tallinn Illustration Triennial (TIT), Estonia
International illustrations exhibition "It's Always Tea-Time", Vyborg, St. Petersburg, Russia; Kondas Centre, Viljandi
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Once Upon a Time..." (Grimm's fairy tales), Tapa Public Library, Estonia; Gallery Deák17, Budapest, Hungary
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “From the Mountains to the Sea”, Central Library of Saare County, Kuressaare, Estonia
Joint exhibition of Edgar Valter Illustration Award nominees, Estonian Children's Literature Centre, Central Library of Saare County, Kuressaare, Estonia

Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “From the Mountains to the Sea”, Kraków, Rabka-Zdrój, Elbląg, Poland
International illustrations exhibition "It's Always Tea-Time", Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Russia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Once Upon a Time..." (Grimm's fairy tales), Opole, Gdansk, Poland; Tapa, Estonia


Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Running with Wolves”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators „Masters of Estonian children’s books“/“Power of Pictures“ in Russia: Krasnoarmeysk, Moscow


Catherine Zarip's and Anne Linnamägi's jubilee exhibiton "The Century", Tapa City Library
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “A Window into the Fairy Tale World”, Haapsalu Cultural Centre, Haapsalu Children's Library


Catherine Zarip's and Anne Linnamägi's jubilee exhibiton "The Century", Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Fairy Tales Come to Visit”, New York Estonian House, USA
Exhibiton of Estonian illustrators “Neighbours Who Love to Read”, Pskov City Library, Russia

International illustration exhibition, “It’s Always Tea-Time”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Riga, Latvia; Uusikaupunki, Finland; Gdansk, Wrocław, Toruń, Elbląg, Poland; Berlin, Germany; Szczecin, Płock, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Oxford, the United Kingdom; Moscow, Vyborg, St. Petesburg, Russia

Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, “Once Upon a Time...” (Grimm’s Fairy Tales), Aosta, Anagni, Lagonegro, Bernalda-Metaponto, Corato, Matera, Roma, Lacco Ameno, Irsina, Siracusa, Sassari, Roma, Bologna, Italy; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Minsk, Belarus; Kraków, Łomża, Białystok, Szczecin, Płock, Warszaw, Elbląg, Gdańsk, Opole, Poland


European Professional Doll Art Festival, Riga, Latvia

Travelling exhibition “Tallinn Illustration Triennial 2013. Estonian Illustrators”, Estonia, Poland


Il Posto delle Favole, an international group exhibition, province of Rieti, Italy
Solo exhibition, Estonian State Puppet Theatre, Tallinn
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Travelling exhibition of Estonian illustration, “Etelästä tuulee – Lõunatuul puhub” (The South Wind Blows), Finland

Exhibition by Estonian and Hungarian Illustrators, “Crisscross Stories”, Estonia, Hungary, the United Kingdom

Group exhibition, “The Visions of Mother Goose. Tribute to Charles Perrault”, Tallinn, Estonia

Exhibition by Estonian illustrators, “Old Fairy Tales” (Brothers Grimm), Estonia, Russia


Solo exhibition, Ilon’s Wonderland, Haapsalu, Estonia

Exhibition of artists from the Baltic Sea countries, “Sea Fairy Tales”, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Estonia

Travelling Exhibition of Estonian Book Illustration, Russia, Finland

2nd “Blue Book Group”, an international illustration exhibition, Iran, Japan, Spain, Argentina


Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia

Illustration exhibition “Once Upon a Time…”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn, Estonia


Exhibition of Estonia’s leading book illustrators, “Suur valmiraamat” (Big Book of Fables), Haus Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia


Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia


Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia

Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
One of Estonia’s most renowned book illustrators had two dreams as a child: to become a cosmonaut or an illustrator. Two completely different desires: one that physically takes you to such distances, and another that can so much as be seen and touched! Catherine Zarip enrolled in the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) to study something very tactile – ceramics. She graduated in the field in 1995, but was given the chance to illustrate a workbook already during her last semester at the university, and indeed switched from ceramics to book design. In reality, there was nothing surprising about this. According to Zarip, she learned to read at a very young age and discovered the world of illustration at the same time, also. Libraries and bookshops soon became her favourite places. Even her first allowance was spent precisely on books, so that she could design her very own little library! Immediately after graduating from EKA, Zarip took a job as a book designer with the publisher Avita, where she worked until 2014 as the head artist for the majority of the time. Outside of her publishing work, Catherine Zarip arrived at illustrating children’s books more than a decade ago. In addition, she has frequently done work for the children’s magazine Täheke and been featured at exhibitions. It certainly is not the same as conquering the cosmos, but it allows her to roam through her fantasies ideally.

Catherine Zarip’s works are most correctly viewed through the prism of paradox. A book designer’s job is not easy. Given today’s publishing conditions, a head artist has to act quickly – contract deadlines are constantly breathing down his or her neck, there are perpetually cover designs to be done, illustrators have to be found, and – when necessary – the artist has to illustrate the books themselves, too. And so, Catherine Zarip has done the designs and cover art for several textbooks published by Avita, and has contributed a voluminous number of illustrations. However, there also has to remain time for one’s own original works alongside quick reaction-time. Zarip’s illustrations are very well-considered and the outcome of deep concentration. The artist finds that illustration must speak to the reader and not only depict the text in a visual manner, but enrich it as well. Illustration should help the reader peek behind the text for a moment, too.

Catherine Zarip’s illustrations always leave a fresh and elegant impression. Yet, what hides behind these abstract descriptive categories? In terms of composition, she frequently nudges the centre of gravity towards the fringes, which is in no way derived from the need to position text in a certain place. This state of “offset” results in a film-like feeling at times – you never know what else might surface somewhere! Zarip often implements completely unexpected perspectives when observing an object. Her pictures contain a great deal of air; of unoccupied surface. In spite of the absence of figurative filler, the space is not empty or simply left blank to achieve greater contrast. Instead, it is lightly filled with a tone or pattern, and is made into an inseparable part of the illustration.

In regards to illustration techniques, the artist often uses acrylic paints. This gives her the opportunity to make backgrounds glow as they do with watercolours, and allows her to apply colours more freely, resulting in fascinating factures and layering. Zarip’s colour solutions are manifold, ranging from pastels (although very colourful shades) through works done almost in the grisaille technique, where only a few lone brighter splotches of colour have settled. When using pastel tones, there is often the danger of the picture becoming too sweet; however, in Zarip’s works, some kind of balance is always found for every “sweeter” colour combination. Even when using milder tones, her works never turn foggy or diffused. The picture’s surfaces can indeed be processed to a very detailed point in places, but Zarip is able to avoid general dullness. Her figures possess clear boundaries for the most part, but are not drawn emphatically. Zarip’s signature can be recognised precisely by way of her animal characters, which are always very endearing and expressive. There is nothing insistently childish about them, nor are they excessively stylised or cute. Rather, one can sense human characteristics behind their expressions – outright personalities. At the same time, they are all characterised by a certain sort of contemplativeness.

Returning to the aforementioned paradox, one may say that this is exactly where the elegancy of Catherine Zarip’s works lies – her illustrations are simultaneously living and restrained; both detailed and generalising.

Catherine Zarip has written the following about her work: “Creating a drawn world is incredible work. You must come up with something new every time, and enhance your knowledge about the world and things. That probably is the kind of job every person should have – doing what you like and being able to create joy for others as well.”

It seems that Catherine Zarip’s childhood dream was fulfilled regardless. You do not need to be a cosmonaut to view the world from a certain distance and always in a new way – being a book illustrator suffices.

Text by Eva Laantee Reintamm