Gerda Märtens

Gerda Märtens (1987) is an illustrator and art teacher. She holds a master’s degree in printmaking from the Estonian Academy of Arts; has studied illustration at the Academy of Arts in Macerata, Italy; and participated in the New York School of Visual Arts’ Summer Illustration Residency Program. Märtens has illustrated seven children’s books and regularly collaborates with the Estonian children’s magazine Täheke. She is a highly unique, talented illustrator whose visual style blends influences from the Estonian and Italian schools in the best way imaginable. Märtens is a member of the Estonian Graphic Designers Association. Her artworks are part of the collection of the gallery Tricromia in Rome, Italy.

A book illustrator’s aim is to create a visual universe along with the rules that apply to it exclusively. A world in its creation phase starts to expand as visions in the back of an artist’s brain, and before long, it takes over the artist’s hand, pencils, and papers. When a book’s imaginary world is finished, the artist leaves its door ajar in order to invite the reader in to experience and play along.

Gerda Märtens lives and works in Basel, Switzerland.

Profile picture: private collection



My City



Moje mesto



3x3 International Illustration Awards (USA), Honorable Mention (Roman Lullaby)

5 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (The Northern Lights)
Cheltenham Illustration Awards (UK), chosen into the year book "Messenger"

The Knee-High Book Competition, 1st place (Linn)

Prize at the Supergraphics Contest organized by the city of Tallinn

5 Best Designed Estonian Children’s Books, Newcomer’s Prize of the Estonian Graphic Designers’ Association (The Drawer of Happy Bedtime Stories)

To the animated film “In the Air”:

Animateka, Special Mention, Ljubljana
Forum for International Animation (FIA), Best Animation, Stockholm
Melbourne International Animated Film Festival, Best of the Fest, Melbourne

Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Best Animated Film of the Year, Tallinn


Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Running With Wolves. Werewolf", Napoli, Rome, Frigento, Italy
Tallinn Illustration Triennial TIT 2020, Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Russia
TIT 2020 & "Leafing Through Estonian Children's Books", Mytishchi, Russia
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Tapa Public Library

Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
International illustrations exhibition "It's Always Tea-Time", Vyborg, St. Petersburg, Russia; Kondas Centre, Viljandi, Estonia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Once Upon a Time..." (Grimm's fairy tales), Tapa Public Library; Gallery Deák17, Budapest, Hungary
Midsummer spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children's Literature Centre
"Picture World of Tales and Fairy Tales", Central Library of Lääne County

Solo exhibition “Creation”, Pirita Leisure Center
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Leafing Through Estonian Children’s Books II”, Moscow, Kolomna, Russia
International illustrations exhibition "It's Always Tea-Time", Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Russia
"Stories of werewolf through the eyes of Estonian illustrators", Pskov, St. Petersburg, Russia

Exhibition of Baltic illustrators “Running with Wolves”, London, the United Kingdom; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre (“Wolf Run”), Tallinn; Gdańsk, Wrocław, Białystok, Warsaw, Płock, Szczecin, Poland; Pordenone, Italy; Vilnius, Lithuania

Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Running with Wolves”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; selected works, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Russia

Solo exhibition “Creation”, Nordea Concert Hall, Pärnu Concert Hall, Jõhvi Concert Hall, the Small Building of Vanemuine Theatre
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Leafing Through Estonian Children’s Books I”, Moscow, Kolomna, Russia

„Zoografia”, Libriamoci festival of the illustrated book, Galleria Antichi Forni, Macerata, Italy
New York School of Visual Arts Philanthropy Poster Project,  Stavros Niarchos Foundation Philanthropy Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece
Solo exhibition „Scenes from the Picture Theatre”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn
Solo exhibition “Niru, Vääks and Friends”, Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Kuressaare, Loo, Estonia
Spring Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn
Travelling exhibition of Estonian illustrators, “A Walk on the Path of Fairy Tale Together with Charles Perrault”, Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Russia

International illustration exhibition, “It’s Always Tea-Time”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Riga, Latvia; Uusikaupunki, Finland; Gdansk, Wrocław, Toruń, Elbląg, Poland; Berlin, Germany; Szczecin, Płock, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Oxford, the United Kingdom; Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Vyborg, St. Petesburg, Russia

Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, “Once Upon a Time...” (Grimm’s Fairy Tales), Aosta, Anagni, Lagonegro, Bernalda-Metaponto, Corato, Matera, Roma, Lacco Ameno, Irsina, Siracusa, Sassari, Roma, Bologna, Italy; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Minsk, Belarus; Kraków, Łomża, Białystok, Szczecin, Płock, Warszaw, Elbląg, Gdańsk, Opole, Poland

Poster exhibition, “Be My Queen”, Fabriano, Italy
The final SVA Summer Residency in Illustration exhibition, School of Visual Arts, Flatiron Gallery, New York, USA
Solo exhibition, “Maailma loomine” (The Creation), Saaremaa, Estonia

Group exhibition, “Una corona di piume” (A Crown of Feathers), Rome, Italy
Poster exhibition, “Magic City Boom”, Sforzacosta, Italy

Group exhibition, “The Visions of Mother Goose. Tribute to Charles Perrault”, Tallinn, Estonia

Open air exhibition, “Colorata Camposano 2014”, Italy

About the author

Story time with Gerda Märtens (video)

Davide Calì’s interview with Gerda Märtens (Italian)

Gerda Märtens’s Solo Exhibition “Scenes from the Stage of Pictures”'

Young Estonian Illustrators

Contact info