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Friday, 18 November 2016

Illustrating Children's Books e-course

I had a very busy October as I took a wonderful e-course "Illustrating Children's Books" with Make Art That Sells with top art agent Lilla Rogers and children's book art director Zoë Tucker. This 5-week intensive class covered different areas of illustrating picture books from facial expressions and poses all the way to cover design. After five weeks of working with the course assignments and other commissions I was exhausted, but very happy.


Before the course started we had to choose one of three texts to work with. I chose a text written by Zoë Tucker. It was a story about the life of Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician who is often regarded as the first computer programmer. "Ada Lovelace and the Number Crunching Machine" was my choice over a traditional folk tale and Edward Lear, as I love a bit of research!


The course was packed with information about pretty much everything. I was familiar with illustrating children's books, but now all that knowledge was presented in a fresh, inspiring way. The teachers Lilla and Zoe were fantastic and encouraging.



My main character Ada evolved quite a bit over the five weeks. I enjoyed the "Expressions" week the most, maybe because it was a good reminder of how many other facial expressions there are than just smiling, happy ones! Also "Poses" week was a very useful one to remind me of the power of exaggeration.






Since the course finished I've felt a lot more confident about my work. It was an intense five week period. It's taken a while to catch up with the rest of my life! We even got our first snow during the course, really early this year (now it's gone...).


Ada's friend, fellow inventor Mr Babbage in my neighbourhood forest!



Week 4: "Environments"

Over the five weeks I had a chance to properly experiment with new techniques, mixing traditional media with Photoshop. Now I just worry that I forget all the things I learned. The cover did require some serious help from my studio partner, PS wiz spouse. All those masks can get a bit confusing at the best of times! With my patience, well...


Week 5: "Cover"

Anyone interested on the course, I give it five golden stars!


Monday, 10 October 2016

Creative autumn greetings !


This autumn has been quite busy, hence the silence here. Here are some highlights I wanted to share with you.

The photos below are from Gudrun Sjödén store in Helsinki. I was there on a Friday afternoon in September drawing 15 minute portraits of the customers as a part of the Gudrun Sjödén's culture week.


Drawing an illustrator colleague Maija Hurme, no pressure!



Then I had a wonderful day with Make in in Design team at Marimekko Factory tour in Helsinki and Sketch Doodle Draw event in the city centre. It was such a pleasure to meet Rachael Taylor and her crew. I'm taking Module 3 of her Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design course at the moment.


Me with the amazing Make it in Design team

At the Marimekko factory

And I took part in the pattern bombing challenge on Instagram with Make it in Design School. My hippie car with my botanical pattern received an honorary mention too.








There was also one weekend of intensive dance training at SVOLI Convention for dance, gymnastics and fitness instructors. But I carried my sketchbook with me...



I'm also participating in "Illustrating Children's Books" course by Make Art That Sells. These drawings are based on daily sketchbook prompts. I'm enjoying both of my courses and working on an illustration project that requires a lot of time until the end of the year.





Friday, 26 August 2016

Exhibition opening action!

Yesterday evening was great fun with my exhibition opening at Annantalo Arts Centre. This exhibition includes gouache illustrations from all four "Elsa ja Lauri" picture books I've made with the author Kerttu Ruuska.




It was the Night of the Arts in Helsinki, so the whole city was packed with happenings, performances, exhibitions, events and late night shopping. I was lucky to have the opening event that same night at Children's Café situated inside Annantalo Arts Centre in the middle of the city centre.
We had prepared a "detective" assignment for the children. They had to find the missing items for Elsa's and Lauri's suitcase before they were due to leave for the airport (as they do in one of the books). The items were all in my paintings, and the search was intense! We gave away small prizes too. And of course, there was a possibility of making paper airplanes, my son's favourite hobby!




Friday, 12 August 2016

NEW WEBSITE ! !

Oh yes, it has taken me embarrassingly long time to get my website sorted...This week I signed up with Wix to build it myself. Hhmmm...it was super easy. I had tried with Squarespace earlier and was totally lost with it. I got discouraged for months. But I suppose you have to find what works for you and Wix did it for me. So I proudly present:

http://www.nadjasarell.com/

You're most welcome to check it out! What a week!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Notebook cover for MATS Bootcamp

The last assignment for MATS Bootcamp was a journal cover with handlettering and theme around "The Language of Flowers". My initial flower was Snapdragon. Here are some steps of the process. I tried a little bit different technique with this one, the colour and line as separate originals.
The five months period with one assignment every month was a comfortable pace for me  to create new work. Really enjoyable course that I recommend highly.

The final mock-up


Playing with handwritten typography





Black and white drawing with a brush pen and 0.1 pen



Colours on tracing paper



My "Flower Dance" pattern for the background


The final background!





Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Summer greetings!

Rainy day sketching, searching for colour


Colour explosion, marker sketching for fun


My sketchbook bird enjoying life by the lake


Me and my sketchbook birds at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art



Collage illustration for a new Finnish band Liljankukka


Artwork for the wonderful designer Gudrun Sjödén on her birthday




Me and my birds visited Stockholm and Yayoi Kusama's Exhibition. DOTS!!



I had a lovely holiday break, though the weather could have been a bit better... Back in the studio now. I had to spend a whole day yesterday tidying it up so that I'm ready to start making a new mess. And I had my birthday present, Wacom drawing tablet waiting for me (yay!). No I just need to figure out how to use it. That's going to be interesting...

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Vicuñas and summer holidays!

Tomorrow I start my summer holiday. Actually I should be packing this very moment! But I wanted to write a post before I switch off my computer.
Here is something I have worked on for MATS Bootcamp's June's assignment. The theme was vicuñas, beautiful animals of the Andes. The brief was to make a character sheet or spread of a picture book. Here is my final piece I really loved working on.



And here are some sketches, bits and pieces from the beginning toward the final illustrations.







 After pencil sketches I put on some colour in my A3 sketchbook. That was fun!



I reworked the character sketches because I really liked the vicuña riding a bicycle and dancing tango...The story started to evolve.




Then I put it all on a double spread with some text I came up with, added some extra bits such as "cheering" cacti to make it more interesting and made a hand-painted pattern for the background. And hurray, I was finished!








Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Illuminated letters

As I wrote earlier this spring, I'm taking part in MATS Bootcamp, a five month course with a new assignment every month. The bootcamp course is created by an American top illustration agent and teacher Lilla Rogers. In March we worked on colouring book cover with 1920's theme. In April it was all about lumberjacks and related animals, patterns etc.

In May we started with a medieval themed mini assignment and then created wall art or a tarot card design. For this brief I wanted to paint with gouache. Too much computer and no brush makes me very cranky after a while. Paints and brush on paper is meditative and relaxing, at least when you're not under a deadline pressure...




I had sketched my initials while researching all things medieval. In the end I had very little time to finish the artwork. So I chose the tarot card "Lovers" that I turned it into "Soulmates". Since I already had letter "N" as a pencil sketch, I wanted to do that one as well with a slightly different technique with the background. So I did it yesterday! I enjoyed painting these so much. It's such a feeling of freedom and happiness, when you can work on an illustration that is purely to please yourself.