Friday, 13 December 2013

Moving back home

Next week our family will finally move back home after three months of plumbing renovation that has finally come to an end. Lots of preparations, packing and unpacking, wiping the dust and decorating for Christmas awaits next week. As you can see above, I'll be busy as a bird!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Waiting for the snow

Something wet, soft and cold is falling from the dark grey clouds above. It's Independence Day in Finland and I'm spending it in my studio painting and listening to the radio. Hopefully it'll snow soon, to eat away some of the darkness. But I'm wrapped up warm indoors and thinking of summer, sunshine and fresh grass, painting it thick and colourful.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sketching new characters

Last couple of weeks I've been drawing pages after pages of children for a project that I'll let you know about later. Designing characters, adding them on double spreads of a book and then reworking it all. I like to work fast and not think too much. So my hand has to work quickly to keep up with the brain. I love smudging my hand in grey graphite of an H pencil when it sweeps across the paper.
It's November again, dark and grey and wet. So the only way to keep me active instead of crawling inside a wool blanket with 10 kilos of chocolate and 50 books is to keep my brain busy and shake my legs. Alternating drawing and dancing with regular chocolate breaks is the best way to survive this darkness. On top of that, plenty of sleep and vitamin D while waiting for the first snow.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Birds, I simply love them!

Here are all of my new card designs, finally! I have three new 'Still Life with Birds' -cards and six different designs for Christmas and wintertime, published by Putinki Oy
So, what is happening next? I'm busy working on two lovely projects that I will tell you more about in good time. For now, it's a secret.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Cards coming soon...

My "Still Life with Birds" -series get three new cards published by Putinki Oy. They should be in print soon, I'm looking forward to it. My birds are also appearing in christmas cards, which I'll be revealing later in this blog!
Another busy and fun workshop for children last weekend at Vuotalo festival. The theme'd never guess.....BIRDS!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Cover illustration for Helsinki-info

I was commissioned to illustrate the cover of Helsinki-info, an information bulletin published by the City of Helsinki, printed six times a year. I have to say I was a bit intimidated by the print run of 365 000...
Here are the original artwork (A2) and the final cover. I was very happy with this brief, great work with reproduction and layout by Heikki Sallinen (Logopolis Graphic Design). 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Book delivery!

This book was published in June and I got my copies yesterday. Reissutunti (published by Otava) is a songbook with music CD included. This is the fourth book in the series by music educators Satu Sopanen and Markku Kaikkonen, but the first one that I have illustrated. It was fun, enjoyable and busy project. Hopefully more commissions like this are on the way!

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Night of the Arts in Helsinki

Here are some photos from the event we arranged at Gudrun Sjödén Store on the Night of the Arts in August. Every year, for one special evening, the city fills up with arts, music, performances, exhibition and activities in shops and galleries, parks and streets.
This year we arranged a spontaneous happening at one of my favourite designer Gudrun Sjödén's store, where I work from time to time with some wonderful, talented people. The night included Fado songs, live models in the window and improvised watercolour painting.

Detail from the randomly painted patterns

Me and Lumimarja, the live models
Siiri and Elsa enjoyed painting...

...and wanted a new white sheet to paint on!

Artwork by Siiri and Elsa

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Journal cover

I took part in the Global Talent Search competition organized by Lilla Rogers Studio There was 1500 contestants from 30 countries, and 50 made it to the semi-final. I wasn't one of the lucky ones, but there was some amazing work entering the competition!
Here's my entry, a journal cover on the theme of children's playground. I had a wonderful time painting it, summer days were hot, strawberries sweet and flowers blossoming everywhere!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Back at the studio!

First proper working day at the studio after a long summer holiday. My son started preschool today, very exciting! I have a great big pile of things to do, and wonderful projects for this autumn.
I got a chance to do a bit of painting at the summer home, where I set up a studio in the corner of a small room.


In between work, a bit of soap bubble fun!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Midsummer's eve soon!

Tomorrow I will leave the city for Midsummer weekend and finally throw away my winter coat in a lake and spend a couple of days together with my family in a little heaven called Johannislund in Kiikala. The old glass factory's village is by far the best place to be in the summer. A little bit later I'll be packing my paints and papers there too to complete the Christmas card illustrations I'm working on at the moment. Here's another lovely photo of my untidy desk at a very hot studio, where the snow is luckily only on paper!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Still Life with Birds Part II

I did three more gouache paintings for Putinki Oy, enjoying every minute of painting them. This one is the brightest one, with a lot of fiddly details.
I know that so many illustrators use computer especially when designing patterns. Well, I stick to my ruler and pencil to get the patterns in line and correct shape and size...I feel it is more lively this way, hand-painted with little mistakes and imperfections.
More birds coming up for Christmas and winter season. Summer is always the best season to work on winter subjects with nice, cool thoughts about snow and ice. I'm looking forward to summer, my favourite season of the year!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My messy, messy desk

I love painting with gouache, but I don't appreciate having to wash those plastic palettes all the time. That's why have three of them, and I use their backsides too! Right now I'm working on more still lifes with birds and I'm really enjoying it. Especially now that it's finally spring in this cold part of the globe.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013


                                  Happy May Day to you all! Hauskaa Vappua!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Music, music, music...

I browsed through my stuff on the computer looking for illustrations with musical instruments. Here are a few in a chronological order starting from 2004. Personal projects, educational publishing, artwork from my exhibitions, Christmas card and even one Santa Claus!

Pencil line, mixed media, oil pastels, gouache, touch of Photoshop...and an obsession to get the musical instruments drawn as correctly as possible with the artist's freedom and simplification. Tuba and euphonium are almost painful to draw, but excellent practice for patience!


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sketching new characters

I think one of the most enjoyable parts as an illustrator is to design new characters based on the author's text. I just take out my pencil and some paper, make notes on the script and think about how the characters look like, how they behave, move, react etc. I think about their age, clothing, facial expressions, body language and just try different things. Sometimes if I get stuck, I feel or act them out, try different moves, positions and so on. If I need to work fast, I spend less time on this, which is always a shame.

When I start to work on the final illustrations, I seem to lose the flow of casual, quick pencil lines and the movement they create. But when I get to put down the colours, it's probably even more enjoyable! Well, my point is, I love it all...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Royal Wednesday

Queen Elisabeth I

King Louis XIV
Today's favourite colours are crimson, vermilion and scarlet red. According to Wikipedia, scarlet is closer to red than vermilion that has a slightly more orange flavour. Crimson has a tiny bit of blue mixed in. These are my three top reds at the moment. Bright, cool pink gets the fourth place!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Travelling in space

This weekend I finished all the illustrations for the book I've been working on for the last two months. I even got to illustrate this classic space rocket above. In a minute I'm going to the publisher to take all the original artwork in to be scanned.
Then I might enjoy an ice-cream in the city centre as the sun is finally shining in Helsinki! Temperature is still below zero, but you can feel the sun's 'heat' in your face if you concentrate very hard...

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Song about a leggy man

Today I've been working on this illustration for a song about a leggy man and his bowlegged wife ("Pitkäsäärinen" in Finnish). What an earworm it is! The song comes with step by step illustrations on how to play it with a friend. It's quite an addictive game. I find it hard to concentrate on drawing when the song is in my head and my arms and hands want move about. I just want to get it right, that's all!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Turnip thieves

These little buggers are stealing all the turnips! I keep on working on the music book project...three weeks till deadline. I dare not count how many illustrations I still need to do. But I'm enjoying this almost meditative feeling of painting with thick gouache and listening to Radio Helsinki and music by my favourite artists and bands. When I look out of the window the world is white, grey and brown. So bring on the colours!