Protectors of the Realm 2 – Naga

Personal – Naga
I was inspired by the Harajuku Girls dance crew who toured with Gwen Stefani a few years ago and wanted to create a character who was cool and strong at the same time. That fit well into my Protectors of the Realm series.

I did the preliminary work on the iPad right up to the point I started to run into problems with the low resolution (about A5 at 300ppi). I then moved to Photoshop for the finish. Recently, I extended the image just a bit to make it more postcard-friendly and added the tattoos. I had planned to add tattoos from the beginning but left them out of the original version because the crop didn't leave much of them visible. The extended version has a lot more room, so I put them back in.

Naga – Work process

Towards Freedom

Maailman Kuvalehti – Vapaaksi
Maailman Kuvalehti gave me the task of illustrating an article about the struggle of Isoke Aikpitanyi out of forced prostitution for their 5th issue of 2013. She was smuggled from Nigeria to Europe with false promises of easy work. After two years she found a way out and became a fierce anti human trafficking activist. She is still helping people in the same situation she used to be in.

Because the article was very narrative, I approached it as I were illustrating a short story. The three images were a "cover" and two key moments in the story. The images were painted entirely in Photoshop.

You can find the original article on Maailman Kuvalehti's webpage (in Finnish).

Maailman Kuvalehti – Vapaaksi

Lady Sovereign

Personal – Lady Sovereign
This was basically an excercise in depicting aged skin. The iPad and its low resolution do show a bit but I'm pretty happy in it as a 3,5 h study.

I love texture and especially working it into the image by hand, not just by loading up a photo, warping it and setting it to soft light. I do use that technique too, but it's not as enjoyable as just painting it in, bit by bit.

Protectors of the Realm 1 – La Bruja

Personal – La Bruja
I wanted to create a character who was in charge and still open in some way. I don't like the word "vulnerable" in this context because it also comes with other connotations such as "weak" and "defenseless". That was not what I wanted.

So, I came up with a series of fantasy genre paintings, which depict protectors of different realms. I always like bringing fantasy elements into the modern age because there is more contrast between the magical elements and the surrounding very secular world. I do enjoy fantasy middle ages like in the Game of Thrones series, but personally I find that mixing fantasy with our familiar world intrigues me more as an artist.

I started on the iPad and took it as far as I could. This was the first time I came up against the resolution limit. The iPad's 2048 x 1536 px do not allow much in the way of small detail in a full shot of a character, not to mention the background. After I had struggled with the limitations for way too long, I switched to Photoshop and suddenly everything was smooth and easy.

The background research I did was pretty interesting, for example, I did not know dried llama heads were a magical item in parts of South America.

Human Rights and Election Promises

My aim was to create an editorial piece and refine my new digital illustration technique at the same time. The illegal prison at Guantanamo is still not closed even though it was one of the major election promises of president Obama for his first term. That is scandalous but rarely mentioned anymore. It is justified, in my opinion, to expect more from a leader of a democratic and civilized country.
Kuluttaja – Cover 1/2013

On this cover I experimented a bit with combining watercolour and digital painting. I like the look quite a bit but it was a huge time consumer. Pure digital is much, much quicker as is pure watercolour.

The subject was VOD (Video On Demand) services like HBO and Netflix. "VOD storms the living room" was the headline.