Elli Maanpää

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

Elli Maanpää

What Should I Do With My Life?

Sun - Illustration - Elli Maanpää Art - 2018

What should I do with my life?” I asked from myself last week. My identity crisis came so strong that I kept on Googling the question. I found some career test but they really weren’t what I was looking for. And then: I found this blog post and these 6 questions. It makes sense that only way to find an answer, is to ask more questions.

If you’re not sure where you should go next in your life, please consider answering these 6 questions: 

“1. What do I absolutely love in life?

2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

3. What would I stand for if I knew no one would judge me?

4. If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

5. What would I do if I had one billion dollars?

6. Who do I admire most in the world?”

The credit belongs to James McWhinney. Here is his original post where you can also read WHY and HOW these questions are important.

Sun - Illustration - Elli Maanpää Art - 2018

Sun – Illustration – Elli Maanpää Art – 2018

I found some piece of mind after answering the questions myself. Thinking out loud some strengths and motivations I wasn’t aware before. I also was inspired to draw this Multitalented Sun Shines Trough -illustration. It’s a sun with eight hands. She loves painting, writing, creating and nature among other thins. So she’s gonna be ok which ever direction she chooses.

I also turned it into an GIF animation. Because I can and it’s fun. – Let me know if you want me to show how to make GIF:s?

Sun - Animated GIF illustration - Elli Maanpää Art - 2018

Sun – Animated GIF Illustration – Elli Maanpää Art – 2018

The design turned out so cute that I uploaded it to my Redbubble store. It looks awesome as a Tee print or as a sticker (below). I’m going to add more products later.

Multitalented Sun Shines Trough - sticker at Redbubble store // Design by Elli Maanpää 2018

Multitalented Sun Shines Trough – sticker at Redbubble store // Design by Elli Maanpää 2018

The world is wide and there are many possibilities. There’s endless inspiration everywhere. Today I created this illustration, the animation and the print. I think it was day well spent, don’t you?

Do you ever suffer from identity crisis? Did you find the 6 questions helpful? Please comment below. Consider also sharing this blog post or follow me (my artistic journey) in Instagram. See you next Monday!

How to Get Best Out Of Art School (Make Your Time Count)

How to Get Best Out of Art School? - Life model drawings by Elli Maanpää 2018

How to get best out of Art School? On today’s video I share some tips on how to make time count when studying.

I am an A+ student. Ten years ago – when I started my first degree – I was not as great. I studied Bachelor of Art degree majoring in Fashion in the Aalto University. Even then I was an ok student but not top of my class. Back then I hadn’t yet realised the most important part: I’m not in school to impress anybody. I’m there to learn. Everything I do I do for myself.

The funny thing is that less I’ve cared about the grades the better they’ve come. My focus is in bettering myself. It’s about completing projects that I’m proud of. I don’t aim to be perfect. I aim to learn. That’s the key to the healthy study motivation.

On today’s video I browse trough drawings and sketchbooks from last Autumn while I was studying in Toronto. And if you want to know: I did get A+ on these drawings. More importantly: I improved by drawing a LOT.Figure Drawing - Elli Maanpää 2017

I also want to wish you: Happy International Women’s Day with these female figure drawings.

Figure Drawing - Elli Maanpää 2017Figure Drawing - Elli Maanpää 2017

Please share and come join the conversation in facebook. I’d love to hear how you approach studying and do you have some additional tips to share? Thank you.

5 Ways to Make Monday Feel Less Like Monday (Even After Holiday)

monday motivation - blind contour - Elli Maanpää

Monday can be a challenge. I don’t know if there’s statistic on this thing but it seems it’s always more likely to rain on Monday. Especially if Monday comes after a week of vacation. Today I wanted to share some of the tips to how to make Monday feel less like Monday.

1. Schedule Fun

Make Monday feel like extended weekend by scheduling something fun for every Monday. It can be a coffee meeting with a friends, movie night or a favourite hobby.

For me it’s Jazz-dance lesson. It’s a perfect sport since it’s not only good for the body but also for the mind. During the lesson I cannot concentrate on anything else than the choreography. The moment my mind wonders to to-do-list-at-work I forget the next move. So it’s very mindful time for me.

monday motivation - blind contour - Elli Maanpää

Digital blind contour drawing // Elli Maanpää 2018

2. Keep It Short

Try to keep Monday the shortest day at work so that you’re energized for the rest of the of the week. Maybe you can take a longer lunch break or leave little early? Again my dance-lesson is my saviour. It starts at 4.10pm so it means I need to stop working around 3.30pm. It might sound a short work-day but I promise brief and motivated is way better than long and dragging.

3. Plan Your Week

Monday is a perfect day to plan ahead your week. I’m one of those people that feel less stressed if I have my to-do-lists on paper. If you’re like me, I highly recommend doing bullet journaling and weekly planning. It has saved my life since I’m able to be productive in a more focused and stress free -way.

Then again if lists stress you out even more, please skip this step.

monday motivation - blind contour - Elli Maanpää

Digital blind contour drawing // Elli Maanpää 2018

4. Pamper Yourself

Every Monday is different so always stay tuned to yourself and what you need that day to feel great. Wear your favourite clothes. Have a morning coffee in Cafe instead of home. Take power nap after work. Go for a walk in the nearby park. Give compliments to yourself and colleagues. It’s also just as fine to enjoy glass of wine on Monday as it is on Friday.

5. Do What You Love & Love What You Do

Even though Monday can be tough it can also feel the most exciting day of the week. Even if you don’t love everything about your work/school there is for sure something you can look forward to: the work community, feeling of purpose or the salary? Concentrate on the positive and maybe Monday turns out marvellous after all.

And if not, after Monday it’s only four more days to the weekend.

Triumphant Week

Musamaatio animation for Loiskis - Elli Maanpää 2018

Last week was a triumphant one. On Monday I got the news I’d won the Musamation contest by the Loiskis orchestra. On Friday I got email saying I was accepted to the The Finnish Illustration Association

The Musamation animation competition is held annually by Finnish children music orchestra Loiskis. I made an animation for their song Kaikki laulaa tavallaan. The message of the song is that everybody is different and they have a unique voice to sing with. I combined photographs, time-lapses and 2D animation. The feedback from the jury was:

The animation was modern with good ideas. It showed to the viewer the wonders of the common day. Made us marvel the small things in life. 

I’m thankful for the Jury for the feedback and selecting my animation as the winner. You can see the animation below. I’m also thinking about making a making of -video of the animation later.

Getting accepted to The Finnish Illustration Association was also an important thing for me.The association represents 400 working professional illustrators in Finland. I’ve done illustrations for work for almost ten years. Still getting the recognition that I’m pro at my craft meant the world. Pretty cool to be part of such a prestigious group.

I’m writing this blog post from Helsinki. I love being here in the crispy cold (-10°C) capital of Finland. I’m here for the week to finish the Art Entrepreneurship course at the University of the Arts. And also to meet up with friends and family. I can already feel myself drifting towards a vacation mode. It’s ok to be little lazier this week after such triumphs. Have a victorious week yourself!

The Pros and Cons of Art School

art school worth it elli maanpaa art 2018

The pros and cons of Art School. Is Art School worth all the trouble? On today’s video I talk about things to consider when you’re thinking about going to art school.

I point out six topics to ponder about: Entitlement, Connections, Critique, Time, Paper work and Money. Even when coming from a country where education is free it’s still not necessarily the best option for everyone towards a creative career. But I must say I’m grateful for all the years I’ve been allowed to absorb information and inspiration in the classroom. I’d hope everyone would have the chance to be a full time student at some point in their lives. Still to succeed in the art field you don’t need a (certain) school but perseverance, passion and little luck.

Elli Maanpää illustration kuvittaja suomalainen 2018

Sweet Curves

cupcake body image elli maanpaa 2018 illustration

Sweet curves come in all sizes. A week ago I sat by myself in a coffee shop in downtown of Turku. I was doodling ideas to my sketchbook and eavesdropping juicy coffee table conversations. I heard two teenagers – about 12-year-old girls – chatting in a table next to me. The whole time they were enjoying their beverages they talked about how tiny the other looked in a photograph taken a while ago. The adjective TINY was said with an utter admiration.

It wouldn’t have bothered me if they would have talked about how beautiful the other one looked. Beauty can be so much more versatile. But hearing them going on and on about the tininess felt such a sad use of their precious time. They are the next generation women to be. They have all the options of the world to became anything they want. Please don’t make “being tiny” your main goal.

I’ll tell you why I rant about this. Let’s go back in time twenty years. My big sister – who is seven years older than me – was my idol. She was great figure skater. I was 6-years-old when I saw her make a perfect camel spin on ice and I told my mom that I wanted to figure skate too.

Later my perfectionist sister got obsessed by her size. After a while she was able to make herself so tiny she almost disappeared. She got hospitalised and got help. But for the next ten-years-or-so she struggled with eating disorder and depression.

She is healthy and happy now. That’s amazing. But if I could I’d like to travel back in time to the moment when she first thought that she should be tinier to make it. I would try my best to make her see her inner charisma and creativity instead of her body. She took the heavy road but is now using her story to educate others as an expert by experience. She is strong and beautiful.

I haven’t talked about my sister’s illness in “public” before because I’ve always thought it’s her tale to tell. Only now I’m starting to acknowledge that of course her story is intertwined with mine too. I’ve been one of the closest spectators of her struggle. Her road has shaped my journey too and is probably one of the reasons I’ve became an artist.

I grin at every article about new diets and counting calories. There are plenty of smart-ass people becoming millionaires because people are obsessed by their size. I think the best way to a healthy life is to concentrate on everything else but weight. I don’t even own a scale.

Your body is your closest companion not your enemy. Enjoy food. Enjoy exercise. Enjoy art. Enjoy each other. Enjoy your unique sweet curves. Enjoy life.

sweet curves body image elli maanpaa 2018 illustration

Sweet Procrastination

Elli Maanpää Digital Art 2018

Sweet procrastination. Days go by while thinking about the things that should be done some day in the near future. Not today but maybe tomorrow.

After finishing my January goals I’ve now spent about a week in a state of mind where I’m productive without a clear aim. I’ve been drawing a lot with my Wacom. I love the fact how easy it is to set up an art studio when you work digitally. For such a colour lover like me it’s wonderful to have effortless access to all the colours of the world.

Elli Maanpää Digital Art 2018

Survivor Kitten by me 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot about how great it would be to have a producer/manager/assistant who would understand the world of filmmaking, fine art and illustration. Who would be passionated about creativity and especially wired up by my innovations. When I was ranting about this to my boyfriend he asked: “Why are you not that to yourself?

Elli Maanpää Digital Art 2018

Left: Close up of a painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud 1699 // Right: Blind contour by me with a marker 2018

Competent question. Isn’t this the reason I travel once a week to Helsinki to listen lectures about art entrepreneurism and cultural organisation leadership. Producer needs different skillset than an artist but for sure that can also be learned. I’ve been buying books about art entrepreneurism (recommendation to Art, Inc.), listen to podcast (Creative Pep Talk is my new fave) and watching tons of interviews in Youtube.

Elli Maanpää Digital Art 2018

The Blind Contour coloured in Photoshop (not blindly but loosely) by me 2018

I’m going to learn since I’m aiming to be a thriving artist after graduate in May 2019. Now I need to find the manager in me to make a realistic time table for myself for the next 15-months. In that time I’ll make a killer graduation film with Anna Mikkola, write a thesis with an interesting content, work as trainee in a way that is most beneficial for me and build my artistic skills. Time for the sweet procrastination to be over. Purposeful productivity – here I come.

Elli Maanpää Digital Art 2018

Sweet skater boy by me 2018

There Is No Rush – If We Decide So

Elli Maanpää illustration rush 2018 art

I wrote the first notes for this video already last December. I really needed a reminder that lot of the rush I was feeling was really up to me. Nobody would die if I couldn’t do weekly videos, finish Huevember or even complete all the classes for the Fall semester. I would survive nevertheless.

And I did survive and then came 2018. In the beginning of the year I’ve been pondering about the future of my YouTube channel. There’s been so many things I wanted to get done – like redoing this website – that I just didn’t get into working on new videos. But during this time I’ve also realised that I’m not doing these videos for myself but to you guys. Maybe I do have knowledge that really could benefit someone. I’ve been an art student for 10-years so maybe it’s my time to talk about what I’ve learn along the way.

So my new years resolutions as a YouTube creator is to publish new video every other Thursday. In the next videos I’ll be talking about studying art: How the get most of it? Is it worth it? And even more specific questions like: Should you study 2D or 3D animation? If you have questions on this topic please share.

This illustration on the home page is titled: Home in the Paradise is always with you. I did the line work by hand with blue col-erase pencil and coloured it with Photoshop. Thank you for tuning in.


Dagen Efter


Puppet animation: Elli Maanpää, Anna Mikkola, Aino Eronen 2018 // Length: About 2:00 min // The morning after in an art gallery.

Dagen Efter is an puppet animation. The short film is currently in the post-production and will be released in 2018.

Dagen efter puppet animation 2018