Elli Maanpää

Art, Illustration, Film // Contact: elli@maanpaa.com

Elli Maanpää

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

COACHING PROGRAMME

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.

PERSONAL FAVOURITES

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.

PITCHING ANIMATION

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

EVENING EVENTS

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!

Can’t Talk Right Now

First of all: thank you for participating in the Art Giveaways in Facebook and Instagram. We found the lucky winners today. The Penguin flies to Viivi and the Angry bird to Anni. Jey.

I’m working hard on the thesis paintings and hitting my head to the wall. I’m out of my comfort zone painting in humongous scale human portraits. It’s not easy my friends. So instead of writing a blog post with some content I’m gonna go back to painting (and occasionally crying).

But I know I’m gonna get there. As long as I keep on it. Thank you for your understanding!

Art Print Giveaway

Art Giveaway // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

ART GIVEAWAY time!

There is an Art Print Giveaway going both in my Instagram @ellimaanpaa and in my Facebook Page Elli Maanpää Art. The details how to enter and what-not are all there. Go check them out by clicking the image.

I’m giving away gallery-quality giclée art prints with my Penguin and Angry Bird illustrations. The prints will be hand signed so both of them are one-of-a-kind. The size of the print is 20cmx20cm (in inch it’s 8×8) and it’s 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. I got them printed at InPrnt. The colours look so vibrant that they almost pop-out from the paper. You have time until the Monday the 20th of August 2018 to enter.

I wanted to organize an giveaway to celebrate my InPrnt shop, summer and creating art. I hope you stop by at my socials to enter the Giveaways. Thank you.

Stay Inspired, Elli
Art Giveaway in Instagram // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

Art Giveaway in Instagram // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

The Penguin / Art Giveaway in Instagram // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

The Penguin / Art Giveaway in Instagram // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

Art Giveaway in Facebook // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

Art Giveaway in Facebook // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

Angry Bird / Art Giveaway in Facebook // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

Angry Bird / Art Giveaway in Facebook // Elli Maanpää Art Blog 2018

Visit Gotland

Visit Gotland! Since it’s like a place from the fairytales. Gotland is Sweden’s largest island surrounded by the gleaming Baltic Sea.

I travelled to Gotland for the first time last week with my mom, brother and nephew. We travelled trough Stockholm to get to the Nynäshamn where we took the Destination Gotland cruise ship to the island. We rented bikes from the Visby harbour for the day-and-a-half-visit. It was so convenient as we stayed in the small cottage by the campsite called Visby Strandby (huge recommencation!) about three kilometres from the harbour.

Cuteness architecture of Visby // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Cuteness architecture of Visby // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

ONE-AND-HALF DAY IN GOTLAND

Since our stay was fairly short we mostly stayed in Visby since there’s already so much to see. The city is filled with history. Lucky accident was that the night we arrived was also the Night of the Culture there in Visby so the city was bustling with happenings and people dressed in medieval style.

The second day of our stay we did a biking trip to the Lummelundagrottand – a impressive cave 10 kilometres from Visby. We also tested every beach on the way since it was super sunny and hot.

Baltic Sea // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Baltic Sea // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Gotland was inhabited already by the Vikings. The wikipedia says that the oldest skeletons found from the island are 5000 years-old and that they were “related to modern-day Finns”. No wonder I felt like home.

I also got a chance to practice my broken Swedish. I was so happy to be able to order a latte with an oat milk in the native language.

Lekande Barn // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Lekande Barn // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

When we travel with my brother the tempo is rapid. It’s great since it means we see a lot in a short amount of time but it also means I don’t have time to sit down to do real “plain air paintings”. Instead I try to steal little moments – like while waiting for the food or for the cruise ship to arrive – to doodle couple minute croquis.

I was travelling extra light since I didn’t want to carry a big backpack in the 34 celsius heat. So I only had my small sketchbook which is smaller that my passport and one pencil, one red color pencil and one black marker.

"Open when I am home" // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

“Open when I am home” // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

ONE DAY IN STOCKHOLM

While my brother and nephew catch the plain back home to California – we had one day to spend in Stockholm with my mom, before taking the cruise ship back to Finland. Since we had only 5-hours-sleep the night before we decided to go on the hop on hop off bus tour.

Gotland Flowers // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Gotland Flowers // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

It was a perfect choice for our tired feet even though there were many funny accidents rather than perfect functions on our ride. Like when we didn’t know how to get off from the bus exited the bus in a wrong side of the city. We had to take the public transportation to get back where we wanted. I even tried to sketch on the bus (the marker drawings below).

Hop On Hop Off // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Hop On Hop Off // Visit Gotland // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Gotland was gorgeous and I want to travel back there for sure. Next time I want to take my boyfriend along so we can sit down in the seashore and draw the medieval ruins together. Go visit Gotland if you have a chance!

P.S. Sorry for being one day late with the post. The trip took it’s toll and I keep on falling to sleep instead of being productive. Thank you for your understanding. See you next Tuesday.

What I’ve Learned

33-years-old // What I've learned // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018
What I’ve learned before turning 33-years-young. It was my birthday yesterday and here is some simple things I’ve learned along my 33-years-of-living.
  1. I’m never too old to to learn new things / start studying new subjects.
  2. I’m never too old to be a kid at heart.
  3. There’s no generally approved “life plan” that I need to carry out.
  4. I don’t need to get married or have kids if it’s not really for me.
  5. I don’t need to shave my legs.
  6. I can cut off my hair and feel more beautiful than ever.
  7. I need to take care of my health / temple / body and my mind to feel good. It’s important to feel good.
  8. I shouldn’t sit on a computer all day (see the previous point).
  9. Don’t need to be always right and I can change my mind.
  10. I often rather stay at home, drink a glass of good red wine and draw – than go to a party.

    Birthday card from my boyfriend // What I've learned //Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

    Birthday card from my boyfriend // What I’ve learned //Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

  11. I still can go to a party at times and dance until dawn if I feel like it.
  12. I can take care of a cat and love having my own cat-baby.
  13. I’m still not into politics or spectator sports and it’s completely ok.
  14. Not everyone are into arts.
  15. Not everyone are into cats.
  16. It’s ok to fail.
  17. It’s ok to succeed and show it.
  18. I can question but not criticise the choices my parents make. It’s their life.
  19. I can do things differently than my parents. I can do things differently than anyone else.
  20. It’s cool to be nerd. It’s cool to be nice. It’s cool to be little goofy.
  21. It’s ok If I like to eat oatmeal with chickpeas.

    Birthday card from my goddaughter // What I've learned //Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

    Birthday card from my goddaughter // What I’ve learned //Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

  22. I can stay in Finland for rest of my life since it’s a good country to live in.
  23. I can also move abroad if new possibilities arise. And then move back again.
  24. There’s millions of way of expressing “I love you” without saying the actual words. But saying them out loud never hurts either.
  25. It’s ok to be vocal about the things I’m good at. If I don’t value my skills and traits, why would others. I owe it to myself.
  26. If there are traits in my personality that I spite, I can work on them and become a better person by choice.
  27. I can (actually) make a (good) income trough creative career.
  28. Self-love is only way to be tolerable person.
  29. It’s ok to ask help.
  30. My friends and family are brilliant and important and I must remember to appreciate them.
  31. I don’t need to hurry.
  32. Dreams do come true.
  33. I’m so damn lucky.

Happy 33rd year to myself! It’s going to be a good one since three is my lucky number. Happy Birthday to all Leos out there!

What I've learned // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

What I’ve learned // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Facing Failure

Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018
Facing failure is obligatory. Still it stinks like a skunk. But the failures are also the path way to success. I’ll let you know how I handle this failure sh**. It’s like studying how to fall safely when you’re learning how to ice skate.

It’s important topic to tackle since we’ve all been there. Summer months are the moments that Universities send their acceptance letters. When there are 200 applicants for eight accepted students it means there are 192 “losers”. At least that is the feeling I get when somebody refuses me. Or for the freshly graduated, summer holidays are shaded with the job applications that don’t get answered with welcomes.

"Failing sucks" - says Cocco // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

“Failing sucks” – says Cocco // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

I’ve failed so many times this year (again). I’ll list my failures so I (and you too if you want) can feel sorry for myself:

1. Our short film didn´t get into the local animation festival where I hoped it would have its premiere. It also didn’t get to the one huge festival which would have been a dream – but I knew that was a far stretch.
2. I’ve applied for three artist grants for my thesis project. I didn’t get any of them.
3. I’ve applied to a gallery that refused my exhibition.
4. I wasn’t able to come up with good enough script for a new animation film.
5. I didn’t get couple illustration projects.
6. I still haven’t gotten a publisher for my children book.
7. My followers haven’t grown much in Instagram or Facebook even when I’m posting regularly as a donkey.
8. My every other sketch I do is so ugly even when I’m drawing for hours every day.
9. People are not finding my stuff at Redbubble or InPrnt.
10. I’ve always chosen the wrong lottery numbers.

Ok. So here’s a few things I’ve failed this year. Now to the part where all of them turn into rainbows and butterflies… Or not. But at least I get them out of my system and I move on.

Epic fail // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Epic fail // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

1st FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF

I’m an emotional being. When I fail I feel like a total failure. I usually cry – and I try to think about all the things I’ve ever failed and every critique I’ve gotten. So I could really swell in the self-pity.

This is not very attractive moment – so I would rather do this in private. When there’s people around I usually go to the toilet or to the other room to go through the despair. I know I need to go through all the thoughts and emotions. So I don’t bottle them up – they take way much more energy that way.

At this point I don’t want pep-talk or comfort because I want to stay in the darkness for the time being.

2nd  START LAUGHING AT YOUR SELF-PITY

After I’ve gotten far enough to the darkness – it takes anything from 5min to 5 hours depending on the day and the incident – the cheerleaders inside my head start laughing at my despair. Like really: I didn’t die. My loved ones did not die. I didn’t even loose a leg. Get your nuts and bolts together, girl, this is getting pathetic!

3rd “MEANT TO BE” STRATEGY

It helps me think it was meant to be. I didn’t get this thing so I have more time to do the other thing. Or I didn’t get in this year because maybe next year my classmates are my soulmates or this year will take me to an adventure which will let me find my true passion. I’ll share a story from my own life that proofs this point later in this post.

The sketch says it // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

The sketch says it // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

4th APPRECIATE YOUR PASSION

If I feel so strongly about something that rejection makes me cry, it means that I’m pretty passionate about this topic. That is a super power, my friend. It’s my time to appreciate the fire that keeps on burning even when I’m regularly running into ice water. Would have I been further now if I didn’t try? No. Can I try again? Yes.

5th TIME FOR PEP TALK

Now it’s time for the pep-talk. It makes me feel better to list things in my mind that I’ve succeeded in. Sometimes I cannot recall them at this point so I might need my close ones around to remind me. My boyfriend is usually the one that finds the right words to say. And if I need more hype I can always call my mom (who thinks I’ve never failed – like really. She said that.)

6th ANALYZE THE FAILURE

When I’m starting to feel better – or at least more balanced – I can start analysing why this happened. Like I can guess why our film wasn’t selected to this festival: it’s too “nice”. It’s a pretty film. It’s like for kids but with the topic that is aimed for adults. Also the motivation of the story is not clear enough, which I understood in the critique session.

It's a frog // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

It’s a frog // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

7th MAKE A NEW PLAN

There’s always possibilities to make new plans. On the film festival issue: I could open the film file again and work on the sounds at least. But I don’t know if I will – since time is limited and I don’t know if I’m more of a painter than a film maker. Also I could send it to another festival. Maybe I’ll just wait for 4-years (school rule) and then publish it in internet. We can also organize our own film premiere in the school premises.

8th EAT CHEEZE

I made a gluten free sandwich with three different cheeses – I try to eat 95% vegan but cheese is my Achilles’ heel. In the moment’s like these I let myself be pampered anyway I want be comforted. It’s ok to eat and do whatever I feel like doing for rest of the day. As long as…

9th MOVE ON

…the next day I’ll move on. No use to give more energy to this failure. There’s way too many projects that wait to be done. Success awaits as long as you keep your head towards the roof and not the floor.

At this point I could also list my successes – but that would be bragging. Usually good news – successes – anyhow have a faster way to the blog (illustrations that were commissioned, film festival visits as a directorlottery winnings) and to social media posts. That’s good to remember when reading at other’s posts too.

I kinda like it but also not // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

I kinda like it but also not // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

And now as I promised:

THE STORY TIME PROOF:

When I studied fashion design in Aalto University my Bachelor or art “final collection” was refused from the spring show on my 3rd academic year. My collection was all over the place – the design was not really “me” and it was poorly executed since I did it in a hurry. For the most of the year I had been travelling and doing exchange studies so I tried to pull of the collection in less than a month. I tried my best but my best was not good enough. When I started crying, I tried to hide it (but couldn’t) and it made the teacher-curators feel sorry for me. I hated that since I don’t want pity points. I failed miserably.

Next year I took the 3rd year again with the student’s that started year after me. I took part into lovely courses – like one organized by Paola Suhonen – and had a two semesters to work on my thesis collection: Red and blue. With the help of the teachers it turned out awesome. I made six dresses for the Spring Show next year. After the show one of the dresses (Blue) was bought by Maria Veitola and one (Red) Maija Vilkkumaa – who even wore the dress in her album cover. What started as a failure lead to success far beyond my dreams.

Epic // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Epic // Facing Failure // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal:

it is the courage to continue that counts.”

-Winston Churchill

So we shall continue.  P.S. If you feel like turning this monologue into a conversation, say hello in Instagram or facebook.

Make Art Every Day

MAKE ART EVERY DAY // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018
Make art every day …with some additions and exceptions. I’ve been making art pretty much daily for four years and this is some stuff I’ve learned along the way.
MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...because it becomes a habit // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY …because it becomes a habit // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY – SINCE IT BECOMES A HABIT

I started 2014 with the new year resolution that I would draw every single day. You can check my Tumblr blog Sketch a Day Keeps the Doctor Away from that year for the proof. When I flipped trough the blog I noticed a lot of drawings about not really wanting to draw but still doodling something. Like this marker doodle below. I’ve even written on it “must draw something“.

MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...because it becomes a habit // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

Must draw something…  2014

When starting a new habit it’s not necessarily easy. It’s like doing exercise: it’s not always fun to go for a jog even though you know you’ll feel good afterwards. The same applies to drawing. Sometimes you don’t feel like it. Actually a lot of days when I’m tired and in a hurry I have no desire to create anything new. But if I just take out my pen and paper I know I’ll soon get into the flow. If some days the inspiration does not appear I don’t have to push it.

Also the idea that you would need to create only good enough work to show in your social media is a killer. It’s better to make art every day and NOT post art every day. It’s so important to make messes too. Rip the paper. Throw it to the garbage. It’s ok. Now days I rather do not post stuff like above – or if I do only in the Instagram stories where it will disappear in 24 hours.

MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...unless is stressing you out // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY …unless is stressing you out // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY – UNLESS IS STRESSING YOU OUT

I’ve also learned that it’s no use to stress myself more than I’m already stressing (being a semi-sensitive person like we all are). It’s good to set yourself personal goals – like making art every day – but it’s also important to be flexible with the deadlines. There’s lot of deadlines in life that you must meet: like the ones for work, school, galleries and submissions. The deadlines for yourself must only stay as a guideline not as a law that you punish yourself for.

MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...as long as you keep having fun // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY …as long as you keep having fun // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY – AS LONG AS YOU KEEP HAVING FUN

It’s no use to give yourself hard time if you didn’t draw that day – or even that week. It happens. More important is to keep the fire going. Keep it interesting. Keep it fun.

But it’s not ALWAYS fun since sometimes making art is more like solving a puzzle. As I mentioned before the starting part might be hard. You also might run into bumps along the way – when the pen doesn’t do what you want it to do. If that happens go have a cup of tea and come back. When making art is your work, it’s also feels like work: waking up in the morning, meeting the deadlines etc – but you need to keep the childish joy in it. Creating something your own is fun. Kids know that. We have to remember it too.

MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...unless you're on holiday // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY …unless you’re on holiday // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY – UNLESS YOU’RE ON A HOLIDAY

As an artist you and I can have holidays too. It’s actually good sometimes take little breaks…

MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...but living is art too // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY …but living is art too // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY – BUT LIVING IS ART TOO

…Since living is art on it’s own. It’s easy to run out of inspiration if you don’t ever leave your studio. Travelling, spending time with your friends and family and consuming culture is as important as making art. Living your life and observing the world around you is what makes your art unique. The hours spent on drawing board are important – but not the most important part of being an artist. Our task is to transmit so we should stay involved in our communities.

MAKE ART EVERY DAY ...since you'll improve // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY …since you’ll improve // Elli Maanpää Blog 2018

MAKE ART EVERY DAY – SINCE YOU’LL IMPROVE

I started to draw daily to improve. If you’re serious about making art – you want it to become you’re profession – it’s not enough to make art once in a while. The more you make art – draw, paint, make collages – the better you become. So making art every day is the most certain way to improve. In my blog post How To Learn Art you’ll find some tips and tricks to get you starter.

I make art every day – since it makes me feel good. The painting above: Girl in the rain I’ve done with oils 2003. It still pretty much sums up my life purpose: making art and smiling, even when it rains.

Is making art every day everyday activity to you or do feel it’s simple impossible? Let me know in instagram or facebook. Have wonderful summer week!

Ladybug Illustration

Ladybug Illustration - Elli Maanpää 2018
When I’m not painting I’m working on illustration commissions like this ladybug illustration.

My favourite Finnish children music artist Ville Karttunen won the national The Best New Kid’s Song -contest this year with his song Leppäkertun sadelaulu. The title means Ladybug’s Rainy Day Song. The song is cute and cosy and made me remember that rainy days can be fun too.

Karttunen asked me to illustrate the album art work for the Spotify and iTunes release. We agreed that the illustration should be fairly simple and iconic since it’s mostly seen in a very small size.

Thumbnail sketch (left) and digital sketch (right) // Ladybug Illustration for Ville Karttunen - Elli Maanpää 2018

Thumbnail sketch and digital sketch // Ladybug Illustration for Ville Karttunen – Elli Maanpää 2018

I started the design progress with pencil on paper. I doodled the first ideas on the bus on my way to my mother-in-law while listening to the sweet song. In the chorus the song tells about a ladybug resting underneath a leaf while the rain drops are falling.

Before I started working digitally I drew several thumbnail sketches of ladybug in different positions. I liked the one above in left the most. I wanted to keep the colour palette very limited: just couple of colours complimenting each other. Going for a feel-good retro vibes with this ladybug illustration.

After I was happy with the composition and storytelling I sent the digital sketch to Ville Karttunen (below the artist himself). He was happy with the look but only hoped that the smile would be little bigger so it would be easier to “read” the happy feeling even in a small scale. I agreed.

Ville Karttunen and the final illustration // Ladybug Illustration for Ville Karttunen - Elli Maanpää 2018

Ladybug Illustration for Ville Karttunen – Elli Maanpää 2018

After Karttunen approved the sketch I worked in Adobe Illustration to get beautiful smooth lines. I changed the position of the eyebrows to get more open and cheerful expression. I also made the face little wider but other that that I pretty much replicated the sketch.

When I was happy with it I opened the illustration in Photoshop and tried some tricks with textures and shadows. I came to conclusion that this artwork works best in it’s pure clean form. The simplest look is not always the simplest to make. It takes time to find the sweet point of just right amount of details and position to keep it clean but interesting.

I’m really pleased with the final illustration. If you have kids or you’r feeling like a kid yourself go listen to the lovely song Leppäkertun sadelaulu in Spotify or iTunes. Also check out Ville Karttunen’s webpage.

Remember: Summer is crazy even when it’s raining. Enjoy!

Dreams Vs Reality

Dreams vs Reality // Elli Maanpää Art Blog // 2018
Which is better: dreams vs reality? I think reality and I tell you why in a second.

DREAM

But first. Let’s look at this amazing image of a painting studio. It has been on my Pinterest Living Like a Hippie Royal wish list for a long time. Quite a dream, right?!

Dream Art Studio // Dreams vs Reality: Elli Maanpää Blog, 2018

Dream Art Studio // Dreams vs Reality: Elli Maanpää Blog, 2018

Well let me tell you: It’s not real. Only today I discovered that the image above is actually a skilfully done 3D model. It’s been rendered, textured and lit wonderfully. You can see it made step by step here. But it doesn’t exist. Nobody actually can use this space for painting since it only exists in the virtual world.

REALITY

Now we can take a look at this image below.

Real Art Studio // Dreams vs Reality: Elli Maanpää Blog, 2018

Real Art Studio // Dreams vs Reality: Elli Maanpää Blog, 2018

Quite blunt and boring painting space? Not as much Pinterest dream painting studio material as the first one. But this one exists and it works. It’s reality. And the best part: it’s mine.

Reality isn’t always as “dreamy” as the dreams. It’s also rainy days and slow Mondays. But when you know what you need to get where you want – the reality is the most exciting thing I know.

To have a place that is dedicated to painting means it’s my time to stop making excuses why I’m not painting even when it’s something I really want to do – and what I’m pretty good at.

When I said to my boyfriend that, “painting in my studio has felt like I’ve came home”. He stated that, “no wonder”. My new painting studio is based in my childhood room in my parent’s home. You can watch this short video of the process of clearing the room into a painting studio which I posted in my Facebook Page.

Painting Studio

I've been needing a space to paint for a while now. I love working home with my muse Cocco the Cat and it works well when I'm drawing or working on a computer. But it's been impossible to work on larger acrylic/oil paintings since there's not enough room to hang them dry safely. Cocco has a bad habit of biting/eating everything so it, wouldn't be good to him (to eat paint) nor the paintings. After looking at painting studios (which are a dream but a bit too pricey at this animation-student stage) I asked my parent’s if I could use my old room as painting studio for the next year. They said “Yes” so now I have a place dedicated only for painting. And that’s just absolutely awesome.

Geplaatst door Elli Maanpää Art op Donderdag 21 juni 2018

Maybe it’s not the fanciest painting studio but money is time. I made the decision to rather have more time to create my own art than take more illustration work to pay for the fancy painting studio. At this stage, that I still have one year left of my studies, it was a smart move for me. I’m thankful that my parents were able to offer me the space for my use for now.

Paintings in the making // Dreams vs Reality: Elli Maanpää Blog, 2018

Paintings in the making // Dreams vs Reality: Elli Maanpää Blog, 2018

Folks, I have news for us: It’s all up to ourselves. I’m a fair believer in day dreaming and goal setting. Still it’s the reality which makes me most empowered. I’m taking actual steps towards my goals. If I want to become the biggest contemporary painter of my time – it’s my job to make it happen.

If you have a dreams of your own make a decision today that gets you little closer to them. It doesn’t need to be a big step. Even just stating your dream out loud and believing in them. Make dreams into reality since reality is the only life you’ll have.

Art Idols

Elli Maanpää Blog: Art Idols, 2018
I have a new set of Art Idols. Here is three artist who’s works I found and fell in love with recently. I also want to share why their works speak to me. They are both contemporary and historical painters.

HENRI DE TOLOUSE-LAUTREC

Let’s start from the turning point of visual arts – especially in painting. In the late 19th century in France lived the great artist Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec. He might be most known for his illustration work for cabarets like Moulin Rouge. But it’s his paintings too that were revolutionary.

“I paint things as they are. I don’t comment. I record.”

– Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

He had an amazing ability to capture movement. Also he had a sensitive eye to people’s personalities and was able to capture that with his bruh. I also admire his ability to leave the paintings partly un-painted. It’s intriguing to see the pencil sketch below the paint. It makes me think of the quote by Leonardo da Vinci.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Leonardo da Vinci

In time I want to learn to be as confident with my paintings. Since I love the looseness of the sketches and doodles more than the perfectly rendered photorealistic paintings. So I would not over work my paintings.

SEBASTIAN CHILLEMI

Sebastian Chillemi is a contemporary painter living in Buenos Aires in Argentina. I found his paintings trough Pinterest. His works really spark and inspirations in me. Especially the colourful portraits that are filled with geometric doodles and loose flower ornaments.

It’s also always about the eyes. Look at the eyes he painted: they’re so full of soul. I could look into these eyes for ever.

MALCOLM T. LIEPKE

The first time I saw Malcolm T. Liepke‘s art works was in Toronto Art Fair last Autumn. Which was also the very first Art Fair I’ve ever visited. It was this Swan Dive painting (oil on linen) below. No wonder I fell in love with him (meaning his art). Red and blue and perfection of brushstrokes.

Malcolm T. Liepke: Swan Dive, 2017

Malcolm T. Liepke: Swan Dive, 2017

He is very highly valued contemporary painter who’s style is admired and copied quite a lot. He’s subjects are often very sensual and delicious. I mean who doesn’t admire beauty no matter what your gender preference? He knows how to stage a inviting feeling with compositions and colours.

I get so exhilarated by looking at art. Of course seeing paintings live is the biggest kick but window watching online is such thrill as well. Thank you universe for having this tool called Internet for finding and learning from artist while sitting on my home sofa.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

– Pablo Picasso

I’ve done my share of art copying. Now I’m entering to the world of stealing, as Picasso stated above. The influence of these three painters works as a seasoning in the art works I’m working on right now. I’m merely using the knowledge I’ve absorbed. After getting the full artistic brain boost it’s now my intuition that helps paint the art I can call my own.

Do you find these artist inspirational? Who’s your biggest art inspiration right now? Let me know in facebook or instagram.

Have a good one. Inspire and be inspired. Love, Elli