The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Artist Feature ... Shiva Asemi

Find out about Shiva Asemi ...
Hello balloonists!

Here at the D.B. we like to think we offer opportunities for creative folk to share the fruits of their talent with a wider audience; this is certainly happening with the poetry on our site with so many wonderful poets to read.

There is also an opportunity to showcase the work of artists and illustrators. We are beginning a special set of features highlighting the artistic excellence we’ve seen on our travels in the balloon.

Our first artist/illustrator feature is on the wonderful Shiva Asemi who we were lucky enough to have illustrate Sarah Ziman’s Granny and Grandad poem and Piu DasGupta’s What are Little Girls Made Of?
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021


Shiva is an Iranian Graphic Designer & Illustrator based in Munich, Germany. After years of working in graphic design, she has now decided to follow her dream and pursue a career in illustration.

We asked Shiva a number of questions, which she kindly answered along with providing examples of her wonderful artwork. So, without further ado, the Dirigible Balloon is incredibly proud to present …


The Artwork of Shiva Asemi
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021

How did you get into illustrating?
I recall myself as a kid drawing on the margin of all my school books. History, or Science, they were filled with relevant drawings of the topics, sometimes topped with imaginary surrealistic stories. Drawing was something I always did as a kid. Then, in the time for high school, I realized this could actually be a profession! So, without a second thought, I decided to join the Art school and kept going on. Eventually, I got a bachelor of arts degree in Visual Design.

Circumstances of the market, pushed my career more towards Graphic Design for brands and companies for many years. Not being fulfilled with that kind of work & its inseparable daily rituals of commercial customer grooming, I'm now back on the track of my passion trying to restart my career & illustrate for children.
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021


Do you have a favourite artist?
Being naturally amazed by details, my favorite painters of all time are Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. With Bosch works, I find myself staring at inch by inch of his works noticing interesting details after details, and then zooming out only to discover a new story from the whole frame. With Bruegel, every frame of his works is a story that could come alive any moment while you're watching! Details are fun! That's maybe why I tend to go on with so many details in some of my own works.

When it comes to kidlit illustration, I love the works of Jean-Jacques Sempé & Quentin Blake. Since I was a kid, I was enchanted with the magic of the simplicity in their works. I always wondered what is their magic that turns a few simple sometimes colorless lines into a characterful image that soaks the reader deep into the story.

I'm also amazed with Shaun Tan's work. The pieces he illustrates from surreal fantasy dream-like atmospheres, they just shoot me into other worlds.
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021


What are your illustrating ambitions?
I'd love to collect all the scattered stories that go on in my head as a cohesive project, illustrate & publish them. Ultimately, I'd love to see myself doing what I love as a full-time career. That is, to see the glow of curiosity and interest in a child's eyes when looking at the pictures I've handmade for them; dot by dot, line by line.
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021


What advice would you give young artists?
As a nobody! I'd tell a young illustrator that it's not worth rushing to be somebody by doing what you don't love. There's no race out there. Try doing what you love to do, take it slow, with persistence and pleasure.

Technically, while I'd advise a young illustrator to learn as many fundamental techniques as possible, I'd encourage them to let go of all the rules and whatever they have learned to gradually develop their own style. That is to express their mental image without technicality, rather with pure "personality" & freedom from what is acceptable & what is not.

This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
What I find myself struggling with is to acquire the street skills to navigate the market as an illustrator whose primary skill set is something completely different. So, just as I'm trying to, find yourself someone to help you through this as it's, at least for me, the hardest part of this as a career.

Don't be afraid or shy to express that you don't know something. Whatever age, situation or self-image you're seeing yourself in, just ask away, make mistakes and learn.

Thank you, Shiva.
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Shiva Asemi 2021

All illustrations by the wonderful Shiva Asemi more of which can be found on her instagram site here ... instagram.com/shiva_asemi
Article written and organised by JH.

About the Writer


Jonathan Humble

Jonathan lives in Cumbria. His work has been published online and in print in a number of magazines and anthologies. His first collection of poetry (My Camel's Name Is Brian) is available through TMB Books and Maytree Press published a further collection (Fledge) in 2020. His poems for children have been shortlisted and highly commended in the Caterpillar and Yorkmix poetry competitions. He is the editor of The Dirigible Balloon.