Community Action: Meet Illustrators Against Covid-19

Words By Katie Smith7 mins

We’ve been totally amazed at the innovative things the wider Linktree family is doing to rally spirits, help the community and take businesses digital in the last few weeks.

One fast-acting initiative that we find particularly touching is Illustrators Against Covid-19. They’re a collective of global illusrtators donating drawing templates to help keep kiddies at home creative and busy (and maybe let their parents do some work!).

We grabbed Lina Schubert, one of the illustrators behind the project, for a chat to find out more.

Tell me about Illustrators Against Covid-19 – what’s the idea and who is behind it?

“The project Illustrators Against Covid-19 provides free printable sheets to color in, from illustrators around the world. It aims to help with keeping kids happy and parents relaxed during self-isolation.

“In our hometown Vienna we have rapidly developed a lot of precautions to slow down the spreading of coronavirus. Staying and working from home was one of them. That also meant that schools and kindergartens were closed and parents all over Austria now have to work and care for their kids at the same time.

“I have a three year old girl at home, she is an only child who loves kindergarten and really misses her friends. So I had to think about ways to support her during these crazy times. I came up with the idea while doing the dishes and asked my former colleagues from my Graphic Design studies if they wanted to provide the first few sheets.

“My friend and colleague Lisa Vietze was immediately on board and is now operating the project with me. We’ve been collaborating since our studies and really complement each other with our skills. My partner Florentin Berger-Monit is also helping out a lot. And of course my biggest thanks go out to all the amazing illustrators providing their work for free! Thank you all!”

When did you launch?

“We actually launched just over two weeks ago, on Monday 16th. The idea came up just a few days before that and we really quickly developed the concept, the overall look and everything else within 2 days.”

How is it going so far?

“It’s going very well! We’ve quickly received tons of submissions and a lot of people offered to help. We’re still overwhelmed – in a very positive way that is!”

Are the illustrators from within your own network? Or are you reaching new illustrators wanting to get involved?

“Yes the first submissions were from people we personally asked and from there it went on really quickly to illustrators around the world.

“One of our biggest surprise was the submission of the grandmaster Disney cartoonist Giorgo Cavazzano from Italy. That was a childhood dream coming true!

“It is also a lovely way to discover new illustrators or connect with the ones we admire ourselves. It is amazing to see that they all want to contribute even though being in the creative industry isn’t easy at the moment. The people contributing are really generous.”

How is your audience discovering you?

“Reaching out to other parents and influencers really did the trick. And of course the creative community is really helpful in spreading the word!”

"It's amazing to see illustrators want to contribute even though being in the creative industry isn’t easy at the moment."

What’s the feedback been like from parents and kids who are using your resources?

“They love it. Many of us are really overwhelmed with the situation, doing it all, worrying about money and loved ones and providing. So having something that keeps the kids busy might seem like a small thing to give, but it also can help a lot.

“They are sharing their results and one little girl even sent us a picture of her showing her very first at-home-exhibition she made with our sheets. We love seeing what the community creates with them!”

Is the creative/illustrator industry hard impacted by the Covid-19 crisis?

“Yes. Like a lot of other industries, people in music, theatre, cultural events and other areas are struggling. Many artists find themselves in precarious situations, even here in Austria where we have a good health and social system.

“It’s really scary for many people at the moment. Nobody knows what the consequences for the creative industry will be in the long run. So we try to encourage our followers to support their local artists and we regularly introduce all contributors and their online shops or Patreons so people find a way to support them in these very unsure times.”

How do you plan to grow the initiative?

“Since it’s only been two weeks, we don’t really know what’s next. But of course we’re aiming to grow the network and bring more people together!”

"It’s really scary for many people at the moment. Nobody knows what the consequences for the creative industry will be in the long run."

Do you have any needs that our community can help you with?

“Spread the word! We are happy about every single child and adult having a little more fun and most importantly a creative outlet during this time of self-isolation.”

Your story is spreading – have you had much press attention and coverage?

“We’ve had a ton of shares on various bigger social media accounts already, there is currently a feature planned in an Austrian lifestyle magazine, a podcast talk with a renowned public relation company in the making, Design Austria is featuring us in their upcoming newsletter … And our talk with you of course ☺”

Since launching, have you heard of other great initiatives that should get a shoutout?

“We really like the initiative by Nunu Kaller who is gathering webpages from small businesses in Austria who ship their goods to people’s doorsteps! We think it is a beautiful thing to support small businesses and especially now, it is vital support you local businesses as much as possible.

“We love Patreon for supporting artists through these difficult times as well and there is Caritas, an Austrian social aid organisation that really helps out those in need! And as far as kids entertainment goes, really check out your local businesses. Many of them are offering online services, like dance lessons for kids via the internet.”

Outside of this project, what are you working on?

“Lisa is a graphic designer and illustrator with her own studio. Her style is quirky, fun and really emotional and I always feel understood looking at her illustrations.

“After I had my daughter my priorities changed and I am shifting away from traditional graphic design and entering the field of set design and 3D illustration. I just felt like doing things with my hands again instead of sitting in front of the computer all day. I work more in an abstract and kind of moody and weird way using sculptures, lightning and photography as tools.

“Lisa and I also really love to work together on set and prop designs, so we will see what will happen next 😉

“In my spare time I work on a minimal photography project with my partner Florentin called @noworriesjustsad, where we explore architecture in a more abstract, graphic way. And of course being a young mom is a whole project as well, so a lot of the creative things need to happen at night and in baby steps!”

Get coloring templates here

From Illustrators Against Covid-19’s Linktree you can find handy links to Google Drives stuffed with illustration templates for kids of all ages, as well as the creative briefing and blank template for illustrators wanting to contribute to the project. It’s a great call to action and community resource in one.

The project is using one of the super-cartoon-y, custom themes that comes with Linktree PRO – very on brand! Keep up the good work Lina, Lisa and co!


Words By Katie Smith

7 mins

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our office stands, The Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Linktree Pty Ltd, 223 Liverpool St, Gadigal (Darlinghurst) NSW 2010