July Banner Designer Sandra Dieckmann

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Hi Sandra we are honoured to have you design July’s banner, how come we got so lucky?
As the Elvis song goes “You were always on my mind, you were always on my mind…”.
It seems quite a long time ago that we were introduced to each other last summer. I think the wonderful guys of Sky Larkin had a part in that. Then it was all about my book ‘The Bumble Bear and the Grizzly Bee’ and we kinda stayed in touch since. Now through the power of twitter we are reunited! Yeah! I count myself lucky to be featured on The Culture Vulture. You do a beautiful job here! See! You reward good work and so do I.

Tell us more about the work you do
I like working in many ways, it always depends what comes my way and what suits the purpose.
It might be drawn, collaged, mixed with photographic elements. Often I draw animals sometimes humans but more often animals with human faces. I like working unrestrained and I like to think of myself as a story teller. Just someone that has countless images and ideas floating in and out of my head and that can’t help but let them out.
I like making people laugh and cry. I’m a dreamer and a drama queen and also a German perfectionist. I don’t know how that all works together? Sometimes I worry that it makes my work less recognisable and less appealing to a client but I can’t sacrifize the way I naturally work for just being liked. I look at so much illustration work every day and often people seem to be stuck working to a formula. That’s just not me!
For now I’m super busy working on two magazine features, an exciting collaboration and my new illustration games ‘HAUS STORIES’ and ‘IF I WAS YOU’ amongst many other things. I’m also moving house and working for the RSPCA (hence the animal love). I’m a busy bee!
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We love The Bumble Bear and Grizzly Bee, tell us more about how it came about…
Well to be honest my boyfriend and me like playing around with words and making up weird creatures in our minds. We then talk and laugh about them. Animals and monsters are a daily talking point in my life! The bumble bear just came up one night in bed  via wordplay, probably terribly tired because that’s when the brain works best on such things. The grizzly bee was a reactionary character that emerged when I introduced the idea of the bumble bear to a group of shool children in London. That was during the research period of the book. Believe it or not ideas and text were floating around for about six months before anything actually started happening with the book.

Who or what is currently inspiring you creatively?
Hang on, this is one of those incredibly difficult questions that I don’t think I can ever do justice!
Everything around me. The green trees, the flowers that are out now ,the streets, peoples faces, the sky and London life. Rubbish on the floor and stains on the asphalt, things that noone else has time to look at any more. I don’t think those have hyperlinks! Then there is my love Nick and my cat Little Crumb and my creative friends that I’m connected to. Join me on Twitter and see for yourself! They have hyperlinks! Anything by David Attenborough. Nature books and google images searches for animals! Music by Big Star and Daniel Johnston. I think that is only the beginning! I feel sick leaving it like this…these questions are not fair!


If you were invisible for a day what would you get up to?
Be naked! Then take a plane to Sweden without having to pay and probably never come back.
I would live in a little red wooden house next to a beautiful fjord that house would be mine because the invisible me had written my name on the documents for the house.
There would be dark green hills in the distance and I have a little pier with a rowing boat, a well outside the house and the sun would be shining through the trees. I’d probably have two or more dogs. A pony, a donky, some cats and Nick will be there as well playing his guitar on the porch. I might have children and enough money to invite my friends from all over the world to my house whenever they have time and want to come. I’ll be making my living as an illustrator and occasionaly flying places for meetings. Yes, that would be nice!

Anything you want to plug shamelessly?
Milky Onions! Those guys are fantastic! They don’t even know how wonderful they are.
It’s a collective of people I know that write and play music! They are not online properly but I try and push them to be.
I’ve included a page for them on my blog (http://sandradieckmann.blogspot.com/p/milky-onions.html.)
It’s all unpolished stuff but they deserve a brake. Great lyrics! Fun music! Witty humour! A bit weird!
You can email milkyonions@gmail.com to contact them!

Also my project IF I WAS YOU …of course!!!

Sorry that I talk too much and
THANK YOU for having me!!!

Win a copy of Sandra’s fab book by saying what hybrid creature you would like to see walk the earth in the comments below.  What’s more Sandra has kindly offered to create an illustration of our favourite for the winner, how cool is that? There’s even talk of a book of all the creatures you dream up! We will choose our favourite at the end of July


  1. oops forgot to add how much I loved this post, love the banner and would like to come to visit the invisible Sandra in beloved Sweden

  2. You are always welcome!
    That is if you bring the pizzard.
    There must be a way to make it real, please no weird breeding and genetical experiments though!

  3. Definitely a Chimpanoat! A Chimpanzee’s body and a Goat’s legs! It’d be awesome… Oh and it’d have little goat horns on his head as well… And a bad smoking habit!

  4. Two of my favorite animals should be combined into one, the ocelot and pangolin….which I suppose would be called ‘The Pangolot’ or mayhaps a ‘Ocelin’…..
    Either way, it would be an armoured kitty, how cool is that?! 😀

  5. Aw, I need to read this book, it reminded me of my own relationship, I’m the bee, he’s the bear. In my head the combination of the two looks delightful.

    K, animals!

    ‘Pygmy Fowl’ – Fox and an a little owl


    ‘Bodger’ Badger and Otter 🙂

  6. Something sleek, furry and amphibious – maybe a Dolphynx. Playful and intelligent like a dolphin, with a fabulous sonar purr and the little tufty ears of the lynx. I think it would have a sort of blue grey dappling for camouflage and just imagine the speed and agility.

  7. Couldn’t resist a couple more – I always loved those books where you turned the sections to make mixed up animals. Project for you, Sandra?

    Koal ‘r us
    Sweet little koala face and powerful walrus body and tail. Koala arms too, I think.

    I love the idea of a majestic creature with cockscomb and tail grazing the treetops, and I can just imagine the fluffy, feathered youngsters at its feet.


  8. Bhaijiragon

    This is a mixture of the Bhaiji, (recently extinct Yangtze river dolphin), and a small dragon. Both creatures only exist in our imagination now, which is a great shame. To bring both of them to life as one animal would be amazing!

    The Bhaijiragon would be an intelligent creature about the size of a large dog, rather like a dragon, but with flippers where the wings usually are. It would be a perfect pastel pink, would eat fish instead of maidens, and would make cute squeaky noises instead of going ‘Raaaarrrgghhh!’ all the time.

    I’d have one as a pet any day! :O)

  9. I forgot one final detail…. My Bhaijiragon would blow huge floaty bubbles instead of fire. :O)

  10. Thank you everyone for commenting and for having such an amazing imagination!
    I am planning on stealing your ideas and am playing with the idea of creating a picture book of everybody’s hybrid creatures which will then be available later this year!

    To honor the best suggestion I will be giving away an illustration of that persons creature as a prize at the end of my months stay here at the Culture Vulture!
    The original drawing of course with personal message and signature.
    Ho Ho Ho 😉

    All my love x Sandra x

  11. Beargle — half bear, half eagle. Because I love bears, and I want to see a flying one. I’ve already done a Beartank, which was (duhn duhn duhn) part bear, part tank.

  12. Octoturk. It’s like …a Turkish man combined with an octopus and has tentacles and a moustache. Alternatively, it can survive on land and is pretty nifty with a kebab skewer.

    Having said that, I’d love to see the love child of the Honey Monster and Tony The Tiger.


  13. One more for you – Mum’s fault this time because I couldn’t resist the name she gave it.

    Imagine a cheetah with Cupid’s face and hide patterned with hearts, known of course as: Cheating Heart

    Then of course there’s Lola, part lobster and part lamb, snapping claws and woolly coat.

    Are you seeing a theme emerging here? (or a theme tune perhaps)

  14. An excellent interview Emma and Sandra. And what a top prize!

    I imagine seeing Iggy-sett Hounds in front of fire places in local pubs with a nice ale.

    A cross between an Iguana and a Bassett Hound. We have an excellent Iguana, made out of recycled metal, on our window sill and I saw Smoky and the Bandit the other day with the loveable Fred, a cheese burger munching Bassett Hound. It would have mismatched feet and the floppy ears of the Bassett Hound and the Iguana face, complete with a mix of fur and scales.



  15. It’s obvious really…

    It’d have to be a Chimeleon. A chimp that could blend into it’s background (chameleon style!)


    A mousilla – the tiniest gorilla known to man, with huge mouse ears to help it hear potential predators and hide!

  16. a tapanda…or a panapir!

    a tapir and a panda!

    kinda similar markings and i’d like to see a huge cuddly panda on all fours with a long nose! and hooves!

  17. How about a HippopotoToad? Suprrisingly cute, a little bit warty, fond of water and found in the most surprising of places – Armley’s Hippo Trail and Hull’s Larkin with Toads, for example!

  18. pandodo – loved almost to extinction
    caog – man and womans best friend
    pandephant – never forgets where it’s bamboo is
    blue whelk – an ultra massive shellfish

    back to work!

  19. I have been thinking for a while that field mice with butterfly wings would be fantastic … in fact any animal with wings would be pretty ace … flying giraffe anyone?

  20. Absolutely beautiful illustrations Sandra – love them, and really enjoyed your online illustration games too.

    I’d love to see a parrot/tiger combination or how about a peacock/octopus (peacoctopus?!)

  21. Hi Sandra,

    Like the look of the double-page spread you’re holding up, I’m intrigued to know how you produced that – a mixture of collage and print? Lithography perhaps – does anyone do this anymore?

    Anyway, my hybrid animal would be “Guinea-fisher”, a cross between a guinea pig and a kingfisher which combines a very tame and cute flat haired guinea pig with the turquoise iridescent colours of a kingfisher. It would have wings too to flit from one patch of grass to another.

    I have an Australian childrens flip-type book on hybrid animals; must dig it out…

  22. It’s me again!

    Thank you thank you everyone!
    The list of wonderful mind creations is growing and I’m slowly forming a picture in my mind of how the hybrid creatures book will be looking one day.

    I will post a list of all your wonderful ideas on my blog today:

    Cathrine // The double page spread was created by mixing different media. Some of it is hand-drawn, some painted and some collaged and all is edited digitally afterwards.
    You must also dig out the Australian childrens flip-type book on hybrid animals! I really want to see it ;D

    Kathrine//Thank you for the kind words and I’m really glad you are enjoying the other projects as well.
    For everyone that hasn’t seen them yet. They are HAUS STORIES http://www.hausstories.com/ and IF I WAS YOU http://www.ifiwasyouproject.com/ ;D

    My personal favourite would be a panda – pony which I would call a Pandy….not very good is it…hahaha I just LOVE pandas!
    And of course I’m not going to enter myself in the competition ;D

    Have an amazing Tuesday!
    Love Sandra

  23. How about a large, furry, horned beast dwelling in British rivers & coastal waters… a Rhin-otter-us perhaps?

  24. I’d love to see a giant grizzy bear mixed with the traits of a furry little hamster with their tiny little arms and teeth 🙂

    great giveaway sandra 😀

  25. This competition is now closed and the The winner of the has been chosen via random number picker.
    It is lucky @grthink !!! Congratulations!
    A Beargle — half bear, half eagle is coming your way and my book!

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