Please introduce yourself and tell us something about yourself and your background.
I am an illustrator living and working in Brussels, Belgium. My focus is on high fashion and luxury, but I am open to all kinds of projects requiring illustrations with an elegant and expressive hand-made feel. I also make fast action drawings of the models at fashion shows. I was born and raised in Finland, but I did my studies at Sint Lukas College of Visual Arts in Brussels. I got my master's degree in graphic design on 2006. Since then I have stayed in Belgium and worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer.
What makes a good website in your eyes?
Generally I like simplicity, user friendliness, and fast loading preferably without sounds/music that I can't turn off. Also fresh and innovative design is key. Of course there are exceptions if the content is interesting enough..
Could you tell us something about your work process? How do you start? How long do you work on it? What mediums do you work in and which one do you enjoy the most?
I usually work by using photos or live models as inspiration. Most often I draw very directly and spontaneously in order to achieve an expressive and energetic looking result. This means that I usually have to do many half finished illustrations until I get one that I am satisfied with. I then photograph or scan the drawing and retouch it in Photoshop. Mostly this means cropping, cleaning up, and adjusting the colors, but I might also add or remove some elements. I also love working with traditional printing techniques such as lithography. I get a great kick drawing models at fashion shows, but lithography must be my favorite because of the whole process behind it. I love working in a traditional printing atelier with heavy stones that I can manipulate with different techniques until everything is ready for the final print. Here I usually have a simple sketch that I use as a reference indicating the colors, composition, graphical elements and steps that I need to take for reaching the end result. When the creation process is finished starts the printing which in itself is very relaxing and fun because all the artwork, brainstorming and fine tuning is already done. Now it's just about harvesting the fruits that yield from many days of hard labour..
To what extent do you allow clients to influence your work?
I am open to discussion and feedback, but the reason why people contact me is that they have an idea that needs a visual that is done with my specific style. It is up to me to evaluate that need and come up with something fantastic.. Luckily so far my clients have been mostly very happy with what I bring to the table. Sometimes it is difficult though when a client already has a clear image in his head of what he wants and not realizing that it might not be the best solution. The process of making a great illustration requires a good brief that describes the problem as accurately as possible while not trying to provide the solution.
What key feature are you missing in the application you most work with?
I am quite happy with the things as they are. Drawing by hand has remained essentially unchanged since the beginning of time, but still everyone does it differently. That is the thing that I really love about it.
In what way do you use the Internet? What role does the computer play in your work?
I use the internet to promote my work, communicate, learn, and to see what others are up to. I do not really look at the work of other current illustrators for inspiration but I enjoy a good piece very much and the different ways of how other people approach a similar project.
Computer or Ink?
I choose ink for now. But computer is essential for reproduction and enhancing.
Concept or Intuition?
Both are rather important. I always have some kind of a concept before I start to work. Otherwise it would be just freewheeling. My work process is very organic though and can lead to unexpected directions with nice surprises.
The thin line between art & design is sometimes hard to define. Do you consider you work to be art or design? Why?
An illustration with a purpose of picturing a look of a certain fashion collection is essentially just that no matter how layered it may be. And that is also the purpose and goal. An independent work of art on another hand lives it's own life and is independent from any associations. Exceptionally though a piece that is made for a certain purpose can be freed from it's original context so that it becomes art.
If you had an unlimited budget and all the time you needed. What would you do?
Probably the same thing but only with the best materials and a more lavish lifestyle.
What inspires you?
Music, big cities, pretty girls, people who are more intelligent than me, nature, artificial things, pop culture, past and present, Paris, cosmos.
How do to you keep your knowledge up to date? Do you spread your knowledge at universities, conferences or workshops and so on?
I keep up to date by practicing, meeting colleagues and clients, seeing exhibitions, and by reading magazines, books, websites and blogs. I also try to get a wider view on what's going on in this world by following as many media as possible. It is good to have a decent general knowledge in order to predict changes that happen in the society and to act accordingly as a designer.
Who is your favorite artist/designer? Why?
Definitely my dear designer and artist friends who are happy to help when I need some encouraging. I love doing things together with them.
Which project or website would you like to have made, or make?
It would be really nice to get more commissions to illustrate the hottest fashion collections and trends at the moment for fashion magazines.
Don't just look.. See! ?>