A king’s child is born in the famous town of Idar-Unterstein, well known for all its gems and treasures.
All citizens try to design the most beautiful piece of jewelry for the king’s child as a gift.
Achatis, who lives on the outskirts of the gemstone city, would like to give the king’s child a special piece of jewelry and set off on his adventure to find a gift worthy the king’s child.

The Goal

The book is considered for preschool-aged children and therefore the characters needed to look friendly and colorful. The main character Achatis is born of lower origin and lives on the outskirts of the city. As the story is all about his journey he had to look charismatic despite his general appearance.

Character Design

When Astrid first told me the story of Achatis and the city he lives in, I imagined some kind of elven or fairy-like looking characters. Her vision was quite similar and the characters took shape pretty quickly.

As the citizens of Idar-Unterstein are living underground and far away from sunlight, I gave them more muted colored skin tones. Their general appearance could be described as playful or fairy-like considering their pointy ears and chunky feet.

Environment Design

Some of you might not know that ‘Idar-Unterstein’ is a pun based on a city called ‘Idar-Oberstein’. The original city is just like its imaginary twin well known for gemstones and goldsmithing. To connect the magical version of the city to the real one, well-known places like the ‘Felsenkirche’ make an appearance in the story as well.

Final product

I am very lucky to had the chance to illustrate this story, which is full of meanings connected to my hometown region. Astrid created a beautiful story and is currently working on Achatis next adventure.

The book got published on the 11th of November 2019 and if you want to get a closer look at my illustrations and the story you are free to buy it and support a project that will always have a special place in my heart.