Chico artist Phoebe Rothfeld wins award for book illustrations

Chico artist Phoebe Rothfeld wins award for book illustrations

CHICO — Award-winning Chico artist Phoebe Rothfeld has built up quite a collection of drawings and illustrations over the course of her career.

A native of Chico, Rothfeld grew up discovering joy in drawing and making crafts. She attended Chico High School and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in art and theater art from UC Santa Cruz and a Master in Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design.

She calls Savannah, Ga., a “super magical place.” She is currently freelancing and is working toward a career in publishing.

Rothfeld’s biggest inspiration is fantasy books and stories.

“I read them growing up,” she said. “It adds more wonder into the world and insights into things. It helps you face the unknown.”

Rothfeld’s favorite authors are Neil Gaiman, fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Sanderson and novelist Diana Wynne Jones, who wrote “Howl’s Moving Castle.”

“Her work is really, really good and always inspires me,” Rothfeld said about Jones.

Rothfeld said she is also inspired by nature, specifically flowers and botanicals.

Chico artist Phoebe Rothfeld gives a speech after accepting an award for her illustration in writer Sonny Zae’s book “Automated Everyman Migrant Theater” on Oct. 22, 2021 at Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, California. (Author Services, Inc./Contributed)

Rothfeld was honored at the L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards Event in Hollywood in October as a winner in the Illustrators of the Future Contest. Her art is published in the international bestselling anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 36.

The awards event was held at the Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles. It was a black-tie gala honoring all the winners of Volume 36 and Volume 37, as well as announcing the grand prize writer and illustrator winner from each volume.

Rothfeld won the contest in 2019 with three illustrations she had submitted. After winning, she was paired with writer Sonny Zae’s story to illustrate it. The award she received was for winning the contest initially, and completing the illustration for her assigned story, which was published in the Vol. 36 Anthology.

Rothfeld’s winning art, “Automated Everyman Migrant Theater,” an illustration created for Writers of the Future winner Zae’s story, is published in the anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 36, a bestseller.

“The event was a weeklong thing in L.A. They flew us in and we took a week of workshops. There were illustrator guests and an awards ceremony,” Rothfeld said. “It was super encouraging for fantasy authors and illustrators. I love illustrated books. We put together that anthology. It was good to be around artists and art events,”

Rothfeld said winning the award “was an awesome experience,” she said.

The winning story by Zae was about a troop of robots that perform theater.

Rothfeld was presented with her award in front of an audience of more than 100 illustrators. She gave a thank you speech. She said she is normally shy and introverted, but had to do a lot of presenting during her master’s studies work, which helped her give her speech.

“I didn’t pass out so I call it a win,” Rothfeld said.

Rothfeld is currently living in Chico and applying for different opportunities. She hopes to get a job in publishing and is freelancing. She moved back to Chico in 2020. She also sells her work at Made in Chico at 127 W. Third St. in downtown Chico, selling items like greeting cards and bookmarks.

“Chico has a good art community,” she said.

Rothfeld keeps the award in her bedroom. She has an art studio set up in her house. According to a press release, while she works across a wide range of mediums that include ink, watercolor, gouache, and digital, her projects all come from the same goal: to inspire imagination and empathy through visual stories.

According to a press release, the contest, one of the most prestigious writing competitions in the world, is currently in its 39th year and is judged by some of the premier names in speculative fiction. Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer,  Hubbard created the Writers of the Future in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break.

According to the press release, due to the success of the Writers of the Future Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was inaugurated five years later. The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 440 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies. The 370 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 6,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 624 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 68 TV shows and 40 major movies.

Rothfeld’s work can be found on her Instagram account, @p.airlia. Her website is www.phoeberothfeld.com.

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