Elli Maanpää

Animated Painter - Spreading joy with colorful creative creatures

Elli Maanpää

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. Augmented Paintings 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. The paintings are acrylic on canvas. For animation I used TVPaint and After Effects and for AR: Arilyn Manager.

 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. 2019 



  • Thursday 25th of April 2019 // 11AM-3 PM // Hallway – TUAS Campus, Turku, Finland
  • Tuesday 18th of June 2019 // 3-6 PM // The National Museums Summer Yard, Helsinki, Finland

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!

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


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


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


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