Philip Waechter
A Picture Every Day

Philip Waechter, son of the famous illustrator and cartoonist Friedrich Karl Waechter, is one of the best-known contemporary writers and illustrators of children’s books.

The writer and illustrator Philip Waechter; Photo: © Moni Port The writer and illustrator Philip Waechter | Photo: © Moni Port To admire your father for what he does. And to think: “That’s how I want to live!” More ideal conditions for starting a career can hardly be imagined. Philip Waechter, son of the famous illustrator and cartoonist Friedrich Karl (F.K.) Waechter, had the good luck to become acquainted with and to learn to love his future profession from an early age. As his father, head of layout for the magazine Pardon and founding member of the satirical magazine Titanic, was rising to become one of the greats of German illustration in the 1970s and 80s, the desire was already maturing in Philip, born in 1968, to work someday an illustrator himself.

From a purely stylistic point of view, however, the son took a completely different path than the father. In his first published work in the mid-1990s – Philip Waechter was then still studying communication design at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz – the attempt is apparent to detach himself from the subtle drawing technique of F.K. Waechter, with its detailed, elaborate shading and hatching. The son’s line gives the overall impression of being clearer; the use of colour is more extensive.

Philip Waechter: „Findetti knackt die Nuss“ (1995) Jeden Tag ein Bild – Philip Waechter Philip Waechter: „Findetti knackt die Nuss“ (1995) | © Heinrich-Ellermann-Verlag

Simply drawn individual characters

Over the years Waechter has perfected a style of drawing that tends to the comic-like and simple. Often only a few nuances of line suffice to give a figure a very individual character.

Waechter sees himself as inspired by artists such as Wolf Erlbruch and Henning Wagenbreth. But sometimes the creation of characters, their gestures and facial expressions, and the composition of the pictures are strongly reminiscent of the French graphic artist Jean-Jacques Sempé, known in Germany particularly for his illustration of the Little Nicholas children’s books.

In addition to commissioned work for authors such as Kirsten Boie, Christine Nöstlinger and Peter Härtling, Waechter began early to develop his own stories. Stories that often come directly from the artist’s life. For the past thirteen years, Waechter has daily drawn a small picture in which he reflects on everyday life in a kind of visual diary.

Philip Waechter is a member of a studio collective in Frankfurt. For the past four years, in collaboration with his colleagues there, he has been creating illustrated books for children.