Elli Maanpää

Animated Painter

Elli Maanpää

Upcoming Exhibition in Helsinki And Other December News

Elli Maanpää's Solo Exhibition in Gallery Albert IX in February 2020
December News: Upcoming exhibition in Helsinki, new painting studio and Art Tips Advent Calendar in Instagram.


I’m going to have solo show called “Beyond the Surface” in Galleria Albert IX in Helsinki. The dates were just confirmed to be from 18th to 23rd of February 2020. Welcome to the opening on the 18th of February from 5-7pm. My Augmented Paintings will be exhibited there but next to them lots of new acrylic paintings. I’m studying ways to bring time and story into a still painting without the technology.

Solo Exhibition in Gallery Albert IX in February 2020

Solo Exhibition in Gallery Albert IX in February 2020


I found a place in Helsinki where I can let my creative ideas flow onto a canvas. I’ve been working there already this week even though it’s a bit empty. This weekend we’ll move in rest of my painting stuff from Turku.

Having a studio for painting is pure happiness. My brushes are ready to apply new ideas onto canvas.

In new painting studio, Elli Maanpää 2019

In new painting studio, Elli Maanpää 2019


Also wanted to let you know that I’m keeping an Art Tips Advent Calendar in my Instagram account @ellimaanpaa this December. I’m sharing hacks I’ve learned along the way about painting, inspiration and artist life. You’re welcome to join.

Art Tips Advent Calendar - @ellimaanpaa in Instagram - Elli Maanpää 2019

Art Tips Advent Calendar – @ellimaanpaa in Instagram – Elli Maanpää 2019

This is probably the last post of 2019 so I want to thank you for your support this year and wish:

*** Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2020 ***

See you next year. With love, Elli

Turku Animated Film Festival Exhibition in Photographs

Augmented Paintings by Elli Maanpää in Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography
Turku Animated Film Festival – TAFF 2019 ended yesterday. I loved being able to take part both in person and having my Augmented Paintings exhibited there.

The five festival days were packed with all sorts of animation art. I probably saw about 60 short animation films both fiction, documentaries and art installations. You can see the official winners here. Some of my favourite films were One Pair Coat by Yi Luo, Julia by Julian Gallese and all the films in the documentary screening.

Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography

Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography


My Augmented Paintings were exhibited in the hallway of Manilla theatre. They were right in front of the movie theatre where the films were screened. The Augmented Painting -exhibition was also featured in the festival catalogue.

This was first exhibition where I left the paintings to be on their own. Occasionally did ran by the painting’s side with my iPad and Arilyn ready to show that there’s more to see than “just” the painting.

In the festival catalogue - Turku Animated Film Festival 2019

In the festival catalogue – Turku Animated Film Festival 2019

I was little worried that people wouldn’t take the time to download the app and scan the paintings on their own. Luckily I was proved wrong. I saw many photos of people looking at the animations with their phones by browsing through the photographs the official festival photographer Paavo Pykäläinen had taken.

Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography

Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography


This time I didn’t have a guestbook for collecting people’s comments. I just tried to collect them in my heart: like the lady in tears of affection saying that the painting of a fox reminds her about her son.

“These augmented art works are some of the best I’ve seen”

Also I got such remarkable statement from the regional artist Annika Dahlsten. She said that these augmented art works were some of the best she had seen so far. Dahlsten is both a visual artist and animator so she appreciated the fact that paintings do not only come alive but that the movement is nicely animated. That’s my strength. I can handcraft the details since I am both a painter and an animator.

Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography

Turku Animated Film Festival 2019 @ Paavo Pykäläinen Photography

Thank you TAFF for inviting me to take part in the festival. Thank you everyone who visited the exhibition and the festival. It was a pleasure meeting you all. Thank you Pykäläinen for these photographs.

I will let you know when there is a next chance to see the Augmented Paintings in person by updating the Exhibition list. Until then.

Augmented Paintings in TAFF

Augmented Paintings in TAFF Turku Animated Film Festival @ Elli Maanpää 2019

Next week my Augmented Paintings and I will be attending the awesome TAFF – Turku Animated Film Festival

Here is the official festival 2019 trailer done by the talented Sanni Lahtinen for you to Enjoy. The festival starts on Wednesday the 21st and continues until Sunday 25th of August in Manilla Turku. See the whole programme here.

P.S. If you love these paintings and want to support me you can now purchase AR -art prints and regular art prints from my Etsy store Elli Maanpää Art. Thank you!

See you Turku!  Cheers, Elli

Feel-Good Fashion

Feel-Good Fashion // Elli Maanpää Blog 2019 // ellimaanpaa.com
What is feel-good fashion? As an artist and designer who’s longing for sustainability I have a complex relationship with fashion design. Today I tell you why. I also want to let you know how Zen Cat T-Shirt fits into this equation of “feel-good”.


My first university degree was in Fashion. Straight from high school I was accepted to the fashion design program in Aalto University back in 2004-2008. I loved the idea of design since it’s artistic creation and problem solving put together. Fashion design comes close to us by touching our body. Clothes are the skin colour we can choose for ourselves. “This is what I stand for” says the clothes about us.

What does your style say?

What does your style say?

I fell in love with graphic design on textiles while I was doing internship in Paris 2006 in a small firm called DOG (oh the irony of that name). It was such a unique experience: from 9 am to 3pm I sketched out prints and patterns and the rest of the evening I walked around the beautiful streets of Paris.

Four years later I graduated as a Bachelor of Art and Design. I could have continued to Master’s program but by then I had complex emotions towards clothing design:

Does the world need any more clothes? Do I have something unique enough to say with clothing design that it makes it worth the tons of investments (time, finance, natural resources) it needs?

At the time the answer to those questions was NO. So I didn’t do much with my fashion design degree. Which is a shame in sense that my graduation collection Red-Blue dresses from 2008 ended up selling to some of the most stylish people in Finland (Maija Vilkkumaa and Maria Veitola).

My BA graduation collection to Aalto University 2008

My BA graduation collection to Aalto University 2008


One of my classmates from fashion studies – and close friend of mine – is Rinna Saramäki. She also graduated as BA in 2008 and decided not to continue the studies. Saramäki has spent her time since self-educating herself about sustainable fashion and ecological living. She wrote an amazing book called Hyvän mielen vaatekaappi. In English the title means “Feel-good Wardrobe”. The book hasn’t been translated into English (yet) but you can follow Saramäki’s wonderful sustainable living and style in Instagram.

When I last time attended one of her Feel-Good Wardrobe -lectures in Turku library she (again) opened my eyes. This time not so much about “quality over quantity” and “know what you support before buying from the clothing brand” because those I already knew. But when she said “everybody must dress themselves” I understood I’ve been too harsh on fashion.

Left: My gouache painting of Rinna Saramäki 2018 // Right: Rinna Saramäki Photographer: Jouni Harala @KodinKuvalehti

Left: My gouache painting of Rinna Saramäki 2018 // Right: Rinna Saramäki Photographer: Jouni Harala @KodinKuvalehti

The fast-fashion has defamed whole fashion industry. Buying clothes just because they’re cheap is madness. BUT if there is something you need and something you love it’s feel-good joy to buy it. Then wear it until it’s rag material and ready to be recycled as textile waste.

Clothing is one form of design that is actually necessary for human being. It’s the shelter from the weather. It’s also our cover up since we are not living in nudist society (thank goodness). And if you ever own a pair of socks you know that with passing of time they will wear thin.

It’s important to take care of the clothes we own: wash accordingly, repair and dye. But there comes the time when your favourite t-shirt is just not up for the part anymore.

Cover photo for Zen Cat T-Shirt 2019

Cover photo for Zen Cat T-Shirt 2019


In the middle of pondering the sustainability in fashion – I’m still passionate about creating beautifully designed products. Preferably clothes. And I love drawing cats.

So in May 2019 Zen Cat T-Shirt was born. It’s online print-on-demand (Printful) clothing store in EtsyZen Cat T-Shirt is about offering feel-good clothing for cat lovers. The mastermind behind the designs is my Burmese muse: Cocco-the-Cat.

Me and Cocco-the-cat at the balcony drawing Zen Cat T-Shirt cat pattern 2018

Me and Cocco-the-cat at the balcony drawing Zen Cat T-Shirt cat pattern 2018

How is Zen Cat T-Shirt sustainable?

  • It’s print-on-demand. Which means there will be no spoilages. I don’t have to burn unsold clothes after the season since every item will be produced only after someone purchase it.
  • I choose products that promises sustainability. Like Bella Canvas and Gildan t-shirts. *When Printful gets the organic cotton t-shirts to European market I will use those.
  • The printing production happens in US or Latvia. Most of the European orders will be shipped from Europe and most of the US orders from US. Note: Fulfilment location is set based on shipping destination, routing preferences and stock availability. So if the t-shirt is out of stock in Latvia it will be printed in US instead.
  • I only sell products that have been reviewed well in Printful. Happier the customer is with it, the longer and more it gets used. That makes the production more sustainable per piece.

I’ve can now share designs with the world in a way I don’t feel ashamed for. This time I feel strong about my design philosophy. It’s about finding zen – the things that matter in life – by being grateful of the good things. Most importantly: about CATS.

Zen Cat T-Shirt - Summer 2019

Zen Cat T-Shirt – Summer 2019

Besides Etsy you can find Zen Cat T-Shirt from Instagram where I share lots feel-good cat photographs and behind the scenes. There’s also GIVEAWAYS every now and then.

There’s going to be new “Back to School/Work” -designs coming up to Zen Cat T-Shirt in 1st of September.

Besides this feel-good fashion hassle I’m still the Animated Painter Elli Maanpää. You can find my art account from Instagram as well. Next week I’m in TAFF Turku Animated Film Festival with my Augmented Paintings so see you there. Also those paintings are available as poster prints in my other Etsy store: Elli Maanpää Art.

Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week.

Best regards,
Elli Maanpää
Feel-Good Fashion // Elli Maanpää Blog 2019 // ellimaanpaa.com

Feel-Good Fashion // Elli Maanpää Blog 2019 // ellimaanpaa.com

Augmented Painting in Summer Yard of the National Museum

Augmented Painting in Summer Yard of National Museum in Helsinki on Tuesday the 18th of June 2019 from 3-6pm
My Augmented Paintings goes to Summer Yard of the National Museum. The pop-up exhibition is on Tuesday the 18th of June at 3 pm to 6 pm in Helsinki. If you’re near Helsinki next week I welcome you to come experience the painted AR -magic. The event is free of charge.

You can download the free Arilyn app in advance to your mobile phone or tablet. I will be at the exhibition next to the paintings with my own iPad to borrow you if you run out of battery or dog eats your Arilyn app. More information about the event is in facebook. See you in Summer Yard of the National Museum next Tuesday.

Augmented Painting in Summer Yard of National Museum in Helsinki on Tuesday the 18th of June 2019 from 3-6pm

Augmented Painting in Summer Yard of National Museum in Helsinki on Tuesday the 18th of June 2019 from 3-6pm

“What is Summer Yard of the National Museum?

The National Museum’s Summer Yard was introduced as an event venue for the first time in 2015. For this summer, a pavilion will be erected in the lush and sheltered yard area, enabling the Summer Yard to serve as a full-fledged event venue.

The National Museum wishes to encourage and challenge people to form their own understandings of the ‘national’ by introducing a diverse range of content to the pavilion and the surrounding park. We hope to inspire as many people as possible to come up with ideas for the new building and interpret our national identity in a fresh way by contributing to the activities organised in the yard. Let’s paint with a broad brush together!”

Kuvitus: Saara Obele, kuva: Kansallismuseo

Kuvitus: Saara Obele, kuva: Kansallismuseo

Augmented Painting

Pää pilvissä, acrylic on canvas, 100x150cm // Augmented Painting, Elli Maanpää, 2019


Augmented painting: Elli Maanpää 2019 // 3 paintings with 2D animation

Augmented painting combines acrylic painting with 2D animation trough augmented reality. They are inspired by Maanpää’s Finnish roots. Finnish idioms are famous for their pessimistic undertone. Like for example “Whoever is happy should hide it.”

Maybe it’s time to give the idioms a second viewpoint. What if being the “Painter of the skyline” wouldn’t mean a pointless dreamer but she who points out the beauty in our world.

This was my thesis project in Animation in Turku Arts Academy. For animation I used TVPaint and After Effects and for Augmented Reality I used Arilyn Manager. To see the paintings you must download the free Arilyn App from the App Store or Google Play.


  • 18.-23.2.2020 // 11AM-19PM // Galleria Albert IX, Helsinki, Finland



Kel Onni on (English: Whoever is Happy) 38 x 46cm. Taivaanrannanmaalari (English: Painter of the Skyline) 60 x 73cm. Pää pilvissä (English: Head in the Clouds) 100 x 150cm. All acrylic on canvas. 2019

Augmented Paintings are now available to purchase as museum quality art prints for limited time in my Etsy shop Elli Maanpää Art.

Pää pilvissä, acrylic on canvas, 100x150cm // Augmented Painting, Elli Maanpää, 2019

Pää pilvissä, acrylic on canvas, 100x150cm // Augmented Painting, Elli Maanpää, 2019

Taivaanrannanmaalari, acrylic on canvas, 60x73cm // Augmented Painting, Elli Maanpää, 2019

Kel onni on, acrylic on canvas, 38x46cm // Augmented Painting, Elli Maanpää, 2019

Kel onni on, acrylic on canvas, 38x46cm // Augmented Painting, Elli Maanpää, 2019

Designing Augmented Reality

Stockmann Christmas Window 2018 // Designing Augmented Reality - Elli Maanpää 2019

Lately I’ve been designing Augmented Reality (AR) and it’s a kind of magic.

During three months at Finnish Augmented Reality firm Arilyn last Autumn I was part of creating AR for example Stockmann’s Christmas Window. Arilyn is one of the pioneers of Augmented Reality in Finland.

AR is as Google Dictionary puts it: “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” One of the most famous AR creations have been the game Pokemon Go – developed by Niantic. In the game youngsters ran around their neighbourhood to catch Pokemons with their phones.

Designing Augmented Reality - Elli Maanpää 2019

Stockmann Christmas Window 2018 // Designing Augmented Reality – Elli Maanpää 2019


My main focus at Arilyn was to master the art of targets. Target means the image that triggers the content it’s been attached to. Simply put: When you scan the image with the Arilyn App (it’s free) you open a door to video/animation/game on your phone or tablet. Since I’ve been a freelance illustrator for ten years I thought designing targets would be easy breezy. Put it’s not as simple as designing a pretty image. Target has to have enough cutting contrasts to be able to read well as a target. That means ongoing testing.

The biggest project I worked on in Arilyn was the Stockmann Christmas Adventure. I’m a Christmas enthusiast. So it was kind of a dream come true for me to create content for Stockmann’s Christmas window. The adventure started from the window and continued throughout the department store. I designed seven elf door targets to open with the Arilyn App. Inside them you could follow animated adventures of a flying squirrel Manteli (the name means Almond in English) and collect nuts to receive a small gift. Since video tells more than thousand words: here is a video made by Arilyn showcasing the Christmas Adventure 2018:

The adventure was in all of the Stockmann department stores in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Riga and Tallinn. Besides illustrating the targets I animated couple of the squirrel animations inside the rooms.

At the moment I’m continuing my journey with Augmented Reality. I’m creating my very own art project that combines acrylic paintings to drawn 2D animation. I’m so excited. More about it later. Inspire and be inspired.

Panda Of Finland

panda finland elli maanpää art taide


Last year two giant pandas – named Lumi and Pyry – moved from China to Ähtäri Zoo in Finland. It was a big event especially for the South Ostrobothnia region. Suomen lomamajat commissioned me to make paintings inspired by the mighty animals to their rental cottage Mustikka (Eng. Blueberry) near Ähtäri Zoo. I worked with acrylics on canvas.

The biggest paintings are Lumen kesä (Eng. Lumi’s Summer) and Pyryn talvi (Eng. Pyry’s Winter) which are hang up together. Finnish seasons worked as an inspiration. For the third painting Mustikan poimija (Eng. Blueberry Picker) I got the idea from the South Ostrobothnia’s blueberry forests. Fourth painting Pikkujättiläinen (Eng. Little Giant) started as study for the Lumen kesä painting but in the end became an artwork of its own. 2018

Lumen kesä & Pyryn talvi, acrylic on canvas, 100x50cm // Pandas of Finland, Elli Maanpää, 2018

Lumen kesä & Pyryn talvi, acrylic on canvas, 100x50cm // Pandas of Finland, Elli Maanpää, 2018

Joulukorttikauppa Is a Christmas Card Shop

Joulukorttikauppa joulukortti suomessa tehty
Joulukorttikauppa means Christmas Card Shop in Finnish. This particular one is my very own Christmas Card Shop where I sell postcards illustrated by me and my boyfriend Vesa Kuula.

My limited edition postcards cost 2,50€ per piece, plus postal cost depending where you live. The cards are printed on shiny 300gsm postcard cardboard in Turku Finland. The size is A6https://holvi.com/shop/joulukorttikauppa/

The web shop is hosted by Finnish bank Holvi and operated by me. I’m receiving personally your payment and sending you the postcards by hand. I’ll be posting the cards on Saturdays. When you make your order before Friday night, the cards will be in post office by Saturday noon.

I apologies that the shop is in mostly Finnish. If you’re not fluent in Finnish you can turn the shopping language to English from the globe icon (yellow arrow in the image below). Even though the postcard descriptions stay in Finnish it makes it little easier to navigate on the site. Feel free to use the Google translate to understand the rest. Or send me a note anytime trough Instagram or email elli (at) maanpaa.com if you have have some questions.

Joulukorttikauppa Christmas card

How Joulukorttikauppa looks // Screenshot 2018

Our biggest inspirations this year were dinosaurs and exotic animals. But you still find the ever green illustrations about Christmas piglets, Christmas birds and guinea pigs among the other designs.

If you’re into Christmas I hope you join our Joulukorttikauppa community in facebook or Instagram.  Let’s count the nights till Christmas together.

Joulukorttikauppa instagram 2018

Joulukorttikauppa’s Instagram. Come to follow us!

Thank you for reading and being the awesome person you are. Be well. Be inspired. And enjoy!
Well thought Christmas card is the best gift you can give.

Well thought Christmas card is the best gift you can give. // Illustration by Elli Maanpää 2018

Pitching Animation

Pitching animation at Cartoon Forum 2018
I felt so privileged to attend the 29th Cartoon Forum in Toulouse France this September. Cartoon Forum is one of the largest international pitching forums in Europe for animated TV projects. Pitching in Cartoon Forum means that you present your animation project in front of an auditorium full of producers, broadcasters and investors in 20 minutes or less, to find financing for the project.

Every year they choose one country to be presented in the spotlight. This year it was the “happiest nation of the world”: Finland. Thanks to Cartoon Forum and Finnanimation thirteen Finnish animation students were invited to participate in the couching programme of the Forum. I got the chance to represent Turku University of Applied Sciences among with two of my classmates Linda and Ilari and two alumnus Hanne and Janna-Riina.

pitching animation cartoon forum elli maanpää

Left: Cartoon Forum goodie back // Right: Happiest people and Diana from TAMK


Attending the coaching programme meant that on our first day in Toulouse there were lectures by Anttu the co-founder of Gigglebug Entertainment and Petteri the CEO of Anima – about pitching and producing animation. They were informative introduction to the event but the biggest lesson came from attending the pitching sessions non-stop for the three following days.

I’d never attended a pitching session for an animation project before. Most of the productions were in early stages but to be selected to pitch at the Cartoon Forum means that you have at least a trailer’s much ready. The production budgets varied from about 800 000 euros to 8 million euros.

Copyright @CARTOON

Copyright @CARTOON

When your pitching for animation you need to have stunning visuals to pack up your presentation. I loved seeing the visual development – from the rough sketches to the highly rendered concept art. Cool handouts were always a happy surprise – I especially fell in love with my Frida Kahlo bag for the Little People Big Dreams –project.

Having a girl lead was clearly a strong trend. Approximately 85% of the projects had a leading female character. I noticed also that lot of the projects were based on an older idea: either a children book or even a gif sensation from Instagram. It’s understandable that it’s easier to sell an idea/character/story that has already proven itself. Having a fan base ready is great advantage. Also it’s not enough to have “only” a TV project anymore – there’s often plans to stream the project in YouTube and create games, AR and VR around the idea.

Pitching animation - Cartoon Forum Toulouse doodles and goodies

Left: Sketching in Toulouse // Right: Amazing goodies

I was somewhat surprised that social media presence was not mention (beyond Youtube) more. On the contrary, the studios I found from Instagram didn’t have as well planned accounts as I thought they might. They are a team of highly visual artist creating amazing animations but in Instagram they have blurry picture of their latest lunch. The conclusion is that social media can be used in creating the original IP (= intellectual property) but it’s not the outlet for gather funding for animation projects.


In total I saw 31 pitching sessions. I had my favourites from the bunch. One was from France. It was a drawn 2D animation, Christmas special Mom is pouring rain which tells a story about a girl whose mom is hospitalised for depression. Magical tale with depth. It was visually adorable, as you can see from the trailer below. I’m always in favour for animation drawn with TVPaint (my favourite animation programme).

After seeing multiple super cute (but little repetitive) pre-school projects it was always a relief to see something aimed for adults instead. There is actually a big market for teens and adult’s animation, as one buyer from Spain told me. Rabbit from a Tin Hat is a cool series from Serbia. Also the makers Ivan and Igor are super nice guys. They’ve actually won another pitching event to got the access pass to pitch at Cartoon Forum.


One thing that I discovered listening to the pitches was that you can deliver a great pitch in multiple ways. Two things are most important: 1st that you’ve practised as well as you’ve possible can and 2nd that your genuine. It’s nice when the project and their makers mirror each other: high energy pitch with lots of props for the pre-school series and a serious intensive pitch for the animated documentary.

I talked to an investor who mentioned that for her the personality of the people making the animation project is almost as important as the project. If the deals are made you’ll be working together for the next five years. They want to work with different kind of artist to create variety of projects for variety of audiences. So let your personality shine trough. Geeky introverts as well as flamboyant extroverts are all welcomed in the world of animation.

Pitching animation @CARTOON

Pitching animation @CARTOON

Lot of the deals are not made right after the pitch. There is the “extra time corner” booth outside the auditorium where the producers stay for meet and greet after the pitch. But they might be left hanging for weeks before knowing if any interest was made. The investors, co-producers and broadcasters take their time to sort out thoughts before arranging a meet-ups.

Cartoon Forum 2018

I’m here – Copyright @CARTOON


Enough about the day activities. At night Cartoon Forum organised dinner events in beautiful venues. Good food and great wine. First I was terrified about the thought of mingling. It’s just something we are not taught in Finland: how to start conversation with strangers. But then I remembered Andy J. Pizza’s word from his podcast the Creative Pep Talk:

“Don’t mingle. Make friends.”

So that I did. I got to know producers, investors, broadcasters, journalists and other students from Finland and France. New best friends were made.

pitching animation Friends 2018

Left: Copyright @Finnanimation // Right: Cat friend I found from Toulouse

As you’ve noticed, the week in Toulouse was mind-bobbling. I was so inspired that it was hard for me to get any sleep at nights.

I’m slowly turning into the producer-artist that I was hoping to become last Spring. I don’t despise the money-talk. I see money as exchanging value and time. Commercialism might just be synonym for indispensable. The world needs good storytelling. We are in demand for meaningful and well executed projects. Being a creative is the real capital.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments send me a note in Instagram.Have an awesome October. Hugs, Elli

P.S. Congratulations for YLE for winning the year’s Broadcaster of the Year award!