lördag 31 december 2011

Ransom note generator

Try this! The generator by letter playground can be found here. And apparently anyone can join with their own handlettered alphabet.

WDC here we go

Looking at Helsinki. The World Design Capital year in Helsinki starts tomorrow. In the final illustration four people are looking out of the tram window. They are my co-workers: a journalist, a graphic designer, a photographer and a layout journalist who are going to report on the year long event. The photos are taken by Cata Portin like this. The tram and surroundings is traced in ink from a photo using a light table, a quick way of creating something that looks like urban sketching.

Personally, I´m looking forward to the Helsinki Illustration Festival at the Design museum 13-15.4.2012. It´s the only event so far that I have decided not to miss. Also, if you are interested in Finnish illustrators, there is an exhibition at Päivälehden museo (Ludviginkatu 2-4, Helsinki) 20.3.-20.9, and it´s free!

söndag 11 december 2011

Christmas records

Done. This is a small portion of a two spread illustration on Christmas records. I feel empty after completing this, and maybe not so pleased with the look. I like some details and the colours, but some of the figures would have needed more work.

torsdag 8 december 2011

Books for Christmas

Ice skating rink. My big x-mas project, for presenting Hbl:s christmas book recommendations on, is done. I painted the rink and forest on a separate paper, and lots of recognizable figures from literature (and well, comic books). Then I put it all together in Photoshop. I chose a simple palette of just three colours for the characters, green (in different shades), red and ochre. It was difficult to stick to the palette, so to create Anne of Greengables (top right) and Tintins (bottom, middelish) hair, I had to use orange. This is how I worked, I added one colour at a time to all the characters I had drawn in pencil on white paper (it was thick enough not to bubble so I didn´t have to stretch):

There´s more to come: the music recommendations. So in addition to the literature characters, I´ve prepared artists as well. Can you find Pavarotti and Amy Winehouse in the picture above?

And while I was at it, just for my own pleasure, I tried out an animation where the devil meets Anna Karenina. Sil vous plait.

fredag 2 december 2011

My butterfly

Trying stuff. This is a photoshop animation, and I used only one painted butterfly, twisting its wing into different positions. Tricky but fun when I found out how to do it. Click the image to make the butterfly move!

söndag 27 november 2011

Christmas creations

Coffee after church. A few weeks ago I was working on a label for a Christmas coffee for Skafferi. The old cathedral of Porvoo is a challenge. The same church has been used in labels before, for example in this classic finnish chalk package. I ended up removing everything around the cathedral and making it look like a movable miniature building. The first version (above) is wobbly in a nice way, but it needed some background to stand out. Also, there´s a error that irritates me. Look at the big window on the left, follow the line up to the nook, and you notice it is in the wrong place. It should be in the middle of the wall, the church is very symmetric. The next version is the one that´s used. Here:

The background is thick prussian blue gouache with a little titanium white in it, and the snow is just titanium white spots. Yesterday I went to see how it looks in the shop:

After a few days of negativity looming over me, it felt really nice to see this! I really hope this label will have a life as long as the chalk box from the 1930´s:-)

tisdag 22 november 2011

Removing negativity

Oh my. When a day is stupid and nothing goes your way, you find something like this.

Here, my own Dautremer original:

On the left, an original 3D model of a house in blue cardboard by a little artist who lives with me. Both are lovely.

måndag 21 november 2011


Intolerance on the dance floor. In Finland we have this thing called True Finns. One of their members of parliament refuses to attend the president´s ball on independence day, partly because he dislikes seeing homosexuals dance at the ball. Don´t know if it´s scary or sad or both, but it´s worth a Monday illustration.

fredag 18 november 2011

Black outlines

Borders. Very few things in life have outlines. My ideal is to be able to paint without outlines, to use the contrast between colours and textures to make my point. Like this:

But with printing on soft newspaper quality paper it´s almost impossible to make it without using outlines of some sort. In this illustration, on fully booked restaurants in Helsinki (top, detail of a full spread thing with more black ink than I dare show you), I went too far. This comic book style is not me, no, no, no. Next time, thinner outlines... or none.

fredag 11 november 2011

Something to draw for art class

Since I left facebook my reader stats have dropped, BUT I have gotten visitors who are really interested in the issues I write about. Or so I thought. Here´s the google search keywords for this week. I especially like the last one on the list. I really, really hope I could help you. Some day I will prepare some draw by numbers printouts for you, promise!

This week I have been on and off drawing a coffee label for a Christmas coffee. It became quite nice, I will post some pictures when my wonderful coffee lady has the packages ready in her store. To get in the right mood I have been humming on Ave Maria until I got almost crazy (also in public transportation, sorry all co-passengers). Back home I listened to Nina Hagen´s german version. It´s completely eighties, and it has harp sounds in the background, but it gives me the chills. Definitely better than my Helsinki metro version.

måndag 7 november 2011

I was first!

Happy birthday. The topic for my Monday illustration was quite easy to pick. The world population passed the 7 billion limit and several different babies were celebrated as the one to break the limit. Demography and especially historical demography is interesting. Read Massimo Livi-Baccis book A Concise History of World Population if you want to know how wars and diseases, beliefs and ideologies, changes in climate and innovations in food production affected the population through time. It was on the reading list for one of my courses a few years ago when I still pretended to be a history student, and really stood out as good reading. The latest edition is from 2006 and updated with projections to 2050.

tisdag 1 november 2011

Here we go again

Holy Lucia. I know it´s two months to christmas but I can´t help it. When I found this in my files I just had to post it. Sorry-sorry-sorry everyone who thinks christmas preparations before december is a crime. This is one of the suggestions I had for a tea label last year. Not a winner, but my personal favorite.  Here´s another one:

Something strange happened to the shape of the tea pot, but I like the elf.

måndag 24 oktober 2011


Greece again. For once, I don´t think I need to explain my Monday illustration, not even to my readers in Oman, India or South Africa. I used water colour (with lots of water) for the background, and when it had dried I used my fantastic new ink pen/brush to do the black outlines. Now when I look at it I could have left out the lasso, the crumbling ancient greek pattern would have been enough. The figure is adapted from an ancient greek painting with many runners.

torsdag 20 oktober 2011

Object with a personality

Tied up. On a very busy day I tried to collect my thoughts to illustrate a book review on Mikael Jungners  book Toimistokuukkeli. The author is a former public radio ceo, now politician, and the book is on leadership (toimisto=office, kuukkeli=a weird bird). Above is my first go at the subject. Not very pleased with how it looks, there are too many elements. But I got the idea of making the ties into birds and used it in the final version:

I specially like the way the brown tie looks, so left out of the office plots. That´s me, I never know what´s going on ...

A week ago I went to the art supplies shop JUST TO BUY A SIMPLE CHALK. One, white, basic (for the facebook-illustration). All the way through the shop I made it, but at the counter, when I was off guard, they got to me. While waiting I picked up a special pen on display, noticed that it was in fact a brush with a ink container. Tried it, and it made perfect thin AND thick lines. Now it´s mine. I´ve had problems with my outlines disappearing a bit in printing, but this time, with this pencil/brush, it turned out better. I´m not a friend of outlines, it looks cartoonlike and not me at all, but with this paper and this output it´s better to be safe than sorry.

måndag 17 oktober 2011

Teachers on facebook

Friends or not. Can a teacher have pupils as friends on facebook? And how does it feel for a teacher to follow every step of their pupils private life? Three teachers reveal their facebook strategies in todays Hbl. While facebook is a subject we have written so much about lately, it´s difficult to find a new angle for illustration. My knots opened a bit when I found a painting by Nicoletta Ceccoli called Katerine, you can see it in her portfolio. The version above is the first test, but it´s too much of a rip off. The final version looks like this:

It´s drawn with a white gel pencil on the packaging of a wacom board. (Which is a real joke: the packaging is five or six times bigger than the actual product!) First version on the smooth side, the other two on the reverse, slightly rougher side.

I applied these images to a photo of a green chalkboard. So the end result is not as black as it looks here.

tisdag 11 oktober 2011

Lovely – scary

Today´s find is Nicoletta Ceccoli. I don´t know what to think of her style. Wonderful or scary? Or both? Here you can flip through her books. Her book The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum is on its way to me, me, me. (I might read it to the kids too if they ask nicely).

Edit: I got the book and was both delighted and a bit disappointed. Some images, for example the cover, have heavy photoshop blurs, or something that looked like it. I don´t know why you would spoil beautiful paintings with cheap effects like that. All in all: the layout is beautiful, there is not too much text, and the images follow the text perfectly. The children in the book look animal-like, there´s something with the position of the eyes so far apart that do it. And they all look like they are about to cry any minute, the eyes are kind of flowing over.

måndag 10 oktober 2011

Climate change agony meets Barbie

Busy day. How do people react when they realize the effects their daily life has on climate change? Some choose to ignore it, and some turn into save-the-planet-one-diaper-a-day-preachers. This illustration is for a feature on climate psychology in today´s Hbl.

It´s also time for my Monday illustration. This time I got to draw Barbie as a environment activist, after Mattel promised to use less rainforest  fibers in the popular doll´s packaging. Oh, all that hair, and all those memories. I loved my one and only Barbie doll like nothing else. No matter the beauty ideals she set for me were quite impossible: I was brown haired, short, on the chubby side and freckled. And my hair would never grow longer than to my shoulders. What agony for a 12-yearold.

söndag 9 oktober 2011


It´s my pig! This lovely piglet illustrates a book review on something called bookonomy. The economy of reading is different from al other economies, it´s difficult to define it´s value for the reader. This is the final version, published in Hbl today (without a illustrator byline, a fair revenge for all the times I, when working with layout, displaced other illustrators or photographers bylines. I get it, it hurts, I´m sorry).

Here, the first version with a background that looks like an explosion of green. I love green, but this was too much. I tried to wash some of it away but it only got more horrible. So I started over.

I left facebook some weeks ago. Since I can´t push my blog updates there anymore my reader stats have reduced to almost nothing. BUT, you, the readers who find my blog now, are special. You were googling for something I have written about (female agony or male natural statues...), and you are propably more interested in what I write than my facebookfriends. After leaving fb I have more time for painting. I like that newly found time.

onsdag 5 oktober 2011

Plate du jour

Dinner is served. For quite some time I tried to figure out how to photoshop these faces onto pictures of plates, when I gave up and painted them directly on real plates instead. Plain, quite thick gouache works just fine. And it can be washed away easily afterwards. Which is nice because these are nicked from the coffee room...

söndag 2 oktober 2011

Thank you allotment

Look what I have grown! It´s truly amazing how much fantastic food a small allotment of 10 by 10 meters can produce. This summer we have eaten our own potatoes, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, corn, beetroot, onions, herbs and salad. This is the last harvest: three different kinds of pumpkin or squash. 

lördag 1 oktober 2011

onsdag 28 september 2011

Different worlds...

... different borders. So now I´m officially the person at work who writers come to when they have something almost impossible to illustrate. This time it´s a feature about how we live in a multicultural world where borders are open to some and closed to some. And everyone wants the cupcake. The truck is inspired by this photo.

tisdag 27 september 2011

Eye candy

I love book covers. Today I found this collection of beautiful covers that I just have to share. This one is for Everything You Know by Zoe Heller. Haven´t read it, but I could pick it up just because of the cover:-)

måndag 26 september 2011

Junky logos

Goodbye China girl. This week the candy company Fazer withdrew a logo picturing a smiling chinese girl as offensive to asian people. The chiese girl is here making friends with the logo for Lakupekka, abandoned some time ago.

onsdag 14 september 2011

Vigeland again

White on black. Never let me loose at the paper department. Today I found a black sketchbook and finally a white pen that has a good flow and dries quickly (Sakura Deco white for 2,20 e for the interested few). Such a big difference to just black on white. I had no ideas of my own today, so I sketched some details of the Monolith at Vigeland park in Oslo. Also I bought LetrasetAqua Markers, which were a big disappointment. They are just basic felt pencils, no matter what it says on the package about watercolour and good pigments. I was looking for something to colour with easily at work so I wouldn´t have to have water around. The kids will love them, so no harm done.

The white on black is definitely good for me because I have to draw fast and I can´t smudge on the details forever. Will use it again.

måndag 12 september 2011

My first quote

Vi.sualize.us picked up my intuition illustration. I clicked myself through some of the other images: there´s a good source for inspiration.

Apps and special offers

App industry. I don´t own a smart phone, only a dumb phone I can use to make phone calls and write short messages. When researching (smart for googling and talking to the guy writing the story) for this illustration I found out there are applications that make your phone a mushroom guide, a bank, a newspaper or a friend who knows the name of the song you are humming. 

Here´s the whole thing. The illustration frames the spread, text and graphics go in the middle. Published in Hbl today.

And hear: the Monday illustration is back. Now only once every two weeks, a fact I´m thankful for. This time I picked a story on policemen getting special offers on coffee and pastries. 

The bun is shaped like the police force logo (This explanation is for my readers in India and Oman). There´s something wrong with the perspective, the lions head should be shorter. Maybe nobody will notice (part 323).

I´ve painted pastries before, here for a tea label for Skafferi. Here the perspective works. Tiny, essential difference.

This is how it looks in the store.

söndag 11 september 2011

True beauty

Detailed is the word. Rebecca Dautremer´s work in progress, watch the video. Now I´ll take an old blanket and hide under it for a while.

onsdag 7 september 2011

A fairy business

The hidden people. I´m sketching on future project involving fairies. In my childhood this is how fairies looked. I found some of these by Cicely Mary Barker in a bookshop and was startled by how different they look to the modern fairy in Tinkerbell. The flower fairies are children, innocent and shy, while the Disney fairies are little sexy teenagers. I have no idea how my fairies will look like. But this is a sketch blog, so here we go: