Category Archives: Children’s Illustration

Permalink to Magische Mädchen Geschichten

Magische Mädchen Geschichten

Super News!
Prinzessin Piepenbrinck (I am the illustrator) was released in the anthology Magische Mädchen Geschichten by Arena publishers in Germany. The story is full of cute dragons and young adventurers who now get to mingle with unicorns and magic ponies, sharing the same book!
Find it here on Amazon!




Permalink to Chirp – Summer, Anniversary Issue

Chirp – Summer, Anniversary Issue

Chirp is 20 years old and I have illustrated a story in its anniversary issue this summer!
It’s about a cute little seagull. Check it out, it’s available now!


Permalink to Almost Done! – Book Two and Three in the On My… Series

Almost Done! – Book Two and Three in the On My… Series

After On My Walk being a favourite of many toddlers and parents in- and outside of Vancouver, Tradewind Books has decided to publish the sequels On My Bike and On My Skis.
Both books will be out this Fall! Kari-Lynn Winters and I are beaming with joy. Now the images are in the hands of the amazing Elisa Guiterrez, who will for sure add her magic!
Here is a sneak peak of some of the illustrations from the books.

sCover_Bike copy

spread3 copy

spread8 copy

spread11 copy

Cover copy

spread3 copy

spread9 copy

spread12 copy

Permalink to The Last Year and a Bit

The Last Year and a Bit

My last year was filled with a variety of fun projects and creative endeavours and with great people to work with in different settings. I was so busy that I never got to make note of it on the blog…

The Knowledge Network

My full-time job for a year was to replace the Art Director at British Columbia’s Knowledge Network while she was on maternity leave. Although I was challenged to work regular hours in an office setting, I ended up really liking it! From previous engagements there I knew I would be surrounded by very talented, friendly people and it was such a great experience to get to see them every day. I was lucky to work on diverse projects – my favourite being the development of a streaming app for the Knowledge Network’s children’s channel Knowledge Kids. After its launch, the app quickly became Canada’s most successful app for Kids in the itunes store and we were a very proud team.
To find the free app, search for Knowledge Kids Go in the apple or google app store.


I Love You One to Ten – Groundwood Books

I Love You One to Ten was published by Toronto’s Groundwood Books in September of 2015. It was a pleasure working with the publisher Sheila Barry and I am sure hoping for a repeat.


Prinzessin Piepenbrink – Arena Verlag

While working at the Knowledge Network, I was finishing-up an illustration project with the Arena Verlag in Wuerzburg, Germany. The book Prinzessin Piepenbrink und der Fuerchterlich Nette Drache became available in January 2016. It’s a fun read for German-reading first graders. Available in German book stores or on Amazon.


Chirp Magazine

Also available since January is the new Chirp Magazine with a Dino Day ABC written and illustrated by me.


Permalink to New Work – I Love You One to Ten

New Work – I Love You One to Ten

Today I am pleased to announce that another project is finished – at least from my end. In Fall 2015, ‘I Love You One to Ten’ written by Caroline Adderson, illustrated by me, will be published by Groundwood Books in Toronto. So now it’s time for the book designer to apply his magic and for the book to be printed.

Here is a little write-up:

In this poem addressed to a young child, author Caroline Adderson outlines the ten things a mother loves about her little one. From his scaley elbows and knees all the way to his twitchy tail, every inch of this little “monster” is itemized and admired. Gentle and humorous illustrations by Christina Leist show how one tired parent decides to participate in a bit of rowdy play at bedtime, with the result being a happily tired child and a mother who is even more in love with her offspring than she was at the beginning of the book. This satisfyingly unconventional bedtime story will encourage children and parents to appreciate each other just a little bit more every time they read it.

And here are a preview of the cover and a couple of illustrations.



Permalink to On My Walk

On My Walk

Permalink to Latest Projects – Groundwood Books: Left-over Monsters for Halloween

Latest Projects – Groundwood Books: Left-over Monsters for Halloween

Currently I am working on an exciting picture book for Groundwood Books in Toronto.
Unfortunately the illustration briefing was changed while I was working on the project – the first round of characters (monsters) didn’t fit the concept anymore and I had to start all over (with human characters).
Although having to let go of the work done was not easy, the project is coming along really well in its new direction and I happen to have a couple of not-too-scary spare monsters in the drawer…:)
Since it’s Halloween this weekend I decided to let them out and share them on the blog. I hope you like monsters and seeing a bit of the developmental process behind them. I have grown really fond of those guys and am hoping they can be re-purposed.

Monster mom, baby and cat




development – random shots


christinaleist_monsters_along the way







Permalink to Latest Projects – Highlights Magazine

Latest Projects – Highlights Magazine

It’s summer, I am in sunny Greece and drawing a snowman for Highlights Magazine.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.13.00 PM
The little icons seeming to float around, will be replacing words in a poem.

Nothing better than setting up office camp on an island with a close friend. Photographer Chris Spira and I found office heaven.

Permalink to New Work, etc.

New Work, etc.

Again, it has been a while.
I have been busy with mountain adventure, travel, design work (e.g. for BC’s Knowledge Network) and illustration.
For example I just finished a new story for Chirp Magazine, featuring my Little Unicorn character. Below you see the last two versions of the art for this story (to be published in their September issue). The first version is the one I liked an created initially. The second version is the altered version as per client request. The changes make absolute sense in context of the text and considering the magazine’s paper.

There will be more posts again soon. I am about to sign my first contract to illustrate a Erstleser book for Arena in German and illustrations for a new picture book with Groundwood Books in Toronto is on the horizon, which I am very excited about. Also, I am lucky to design another book for My Silk Web.

The Red Mountain – Christina Leist for Chirp Magazine

The Red Mountain – Christina Leist for Chirp Magazine

The Red Mountain – Christina Leist for Chirp Magazine

The Red Mountain – Christina Leist for Chirp Magazine

The Red Mountain – Christina Leist for Chirp Magazine

The Red Mountain – Christina Leist for Chirp Magazine

Permalink to One Horse a Day – last day

One Horse a Day – last day

Two weeks (10 work days) of one horse a day are over. Today is the last day of posting.
It was a good finger exercise!
I will miss the cute ponies and horses, but it wasn’t always easy to squeeze in a horse in regards to time.
I had to rein myself in and let go sooner than I normally do… Especially on the days I created the quickies I was very limited in time. The perfectionist in me would have had an easy time to just go on and on. Surprisingly I ended-up really liking the quickies!

Today’s result was a fairly fast shot as well.
Dolly and Cougar escaped from their pasture by running through the electric fencing. It was Dolly’s idea to try. Though Cougar wasn’t too sure about the project, he now is very pleased that they found a nice field of oats which resulted in their bellies being very happy!


Permalink to One Horse a Day – Day 9

One Horse a Day – Day 9

Today’s horse is a little adventurer.
Luna likes to venture out of her stable at night to look at the moon.
Since the nights are getting colder and colder, her owners have decided to have her wear a coat. She is not quite sure what to think of it…


Permalink to One Horse a Day – Day 8

One Horse a Day – Day 8

Another quicky.
Today somebody is taking a nice sand bath rolling around from one side to the other extensively!


Permalink to One Horse a Day – Day 5

One Horse a Day – Day 5

Today’s horses are Senta and Anka.
Senta and Anka were two Fjord Horses me and a couple of my friends rode when we were about 12 or 13. When one of the saddles broke, we switched to riding bareback through the fields and hills. We used no bridles either and there were no adults, just us children. I still have a scar from when Senta stepped on my leg after I had slipped off once in full speed… I didn’t tell any adult about the injury, as I feared never to be allowed on a horse again. Thinking of Senta and Anka and the wild adventures we had, I am really thankful for the level of freedom I was able to experience as a child.


And here are a couple of sketchbook pages from the last couple of days…



Permalink to One Horse a Day – Day 4

One Horse a Day – Day 4

To get some inspirations, I went to Southlands, Vancouver’s horse-part of town this afternoon and drove around (it’s a biiig area). There were many horses and ponies on paddocks in between stables next to small cute old houses and huge, very posh looking ones. The trend seems to go towards the posh estates. They contain garages, stable buildings and main houses built in the same style and painted in a matching colour-scheme. They remind me a bit of Playmobile buildings – so perfect. Everything is so clean… Sadly I wasn’t able to find a single, simple pasture for me to just sit at the fence and sketch without being mistaken for a horse thief. I didn’t even take photos. But I saw this pony on one of the paddocks and drew him later from my memory…


After driving around for a bit, I went into a tack shop and bought some saddle soap.
Maybe I will polish my riding boots and see where this leads me.

Permalink to One Horse a Day – Day 3

One Horse a Day – Day 3

I spent a lot of time in the horse stable when I was younger – a lot – and now I am having a really hard time coming up with different variations of the subject horse. I sketch, but they all look the same… I am also having trouble with the anatomy… I thought this would be so easy… If it is sunny tomorrow, I am gonna go where the horses are – to Southlands here in Vancouver.

Today meet Melvin.


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