Character illustration – part 1

Characters, characters! They are everywhere. At least lately. I’ve just finished a two-week course on character illustration and last week I attended a weekend workshop on the same topic.

The mantra of the illustration course was to simplify. Meaning that not everything needs to look perfectly realistic – actually, characters should look pretty unrealistic to reach their full potential. Highlighting the character’s certain personality, power or ‘character’ can be best reached through adding something unrealistic to it. Such as making it an animal, distorting the proportions (adding a big nose) or having the character do something pretty absurd. My classmates have great examples in all of these categories. Some of their works can be found on the Graphic Designers Blog. It’s great to have such immensely talented classmates. In my next blog post, I will show my work from the course.


Characters, characters! workshop at Kaupunkiverstas

These workshops were organised by a talented group of young designers. A designer called Yasmin had put an immense effort into organising these workshops with her own funds and working hard to make it all happen. Kaupunkiverstas, our location, is a unique Helsinki city project, a sort of library space. Except, instead of books, it’s full of computers, 3D printers, a hefty Cintiq, laser printer and other pretty cool stuff. And their use is for free! There are a couple of guys working there to show you the ropes, so anyone can go in for a go. So far, the space is open for a limited amount of time. Hope they find a way to keep funding it!

Read more about Kaupunkiverstas (in Finnish). More information about Kohtaamispaikka@Lasipalatsi space.

Blog and info about Characters Characters workshop.


On Saturday, we drew characters and designed vinyl stickers. The theme was ‘Action’ and ‘action heroes or antiheroes’. ‘Action’ was also the theme for Helsinki Design Week this year. I made a flying dog (that people thought was a cat). I made a pink version for a bag and a smaller golden version for sticking to places like my laptop.



On Sunday, we continued with the stickers and also did some work on 3D-printed characters and customised our own DIY-Munny. Apparently these DIY-Munnys are quite a big thing on the internet – there are actual competitions for ‘pimping’ them.










Here are a few great designers that were presenting their work at the workshop:


Mesh fruits

On the graphic design course we just learned to use the mesh tool and I decided to show you a few neat tricks you can use it for. Here are some tips and also the fruits I made using the tool. The fruits look really yummy!



Autumn day

Last week I went to my favourite island in Helsinki. It’s called Seurasaari and it has some nice beaches, lost of lush nature, a few cute cafe nooks and an outside museum full of wooden buildings from 1800s-1900s. It feels great that you can reach there by tram in less than 20 minutes, and still be surrounded by nature in its fullest. Seurasaari is somewhere I go to feel reconnected with nature. That is very important as life can get pretty hectic in the city.

All photos taken with my old Nikon D60.

Training on vectors

We have been training on Adobe Illustrator for a few weeks now. One of the exercises was to use triangles to create an animal. The technique itself is pretty simple – once you get the hang of it! Basically, you just drop an image on the background and start drawing triangles on top of it. The trick is to use the anchor points and trace the image outlines. Then you fill each triangle with a colour. My wrist is hurting after making three of these, but it is addicting once you get going. The lion and the fox are based on real images and the lady is actually me!

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My storybook – final version

Continuing my second assignment at the graphic design course…

After creating figures and elements with watercolours, I scanned them and started designing them into a storybook. I had pretty much no idea how to use InDesign, but after getting a few tips from my teacher, I managed to create this. I wrote the story in Finnish. It is difficult to translate it because they are poems. In the end, however, my main point was to illustrate and use some typography. You’ll get the gist.

Comments are very welcome!





Second assignment – a story book

The foundation course of our studies ended last week and we produced a final assignment for review. We were asked to use any tools to build a 4 x A5 brochure that demonstrates us and our style. I chose to focus on the style aspect and built a small storybook. I have always dreamt of making my own children’s book, so it was pretty exciting to make this.

I started by painting some pretty random figures with watercolours. Here are some of the elements I created for the storybook.

cloudy sky