Recently we sat down with Eili-Kaija Kuusniemi to get more insight into her process. She shares with such openness--we found it really insightful and think you will too.
i2i Art: Tell us about where you get your inspiration from?
Eili-Kaija (EK): The best inspiration would be traveling. However for budget inspiration (which is most of the time), I scan through magazines or the Internet. Getting out there to see urban life is very important too. Everyday life can be so challenging but getting inspired lifts me beyond that. Music also plays an important role in my inspiration.
i2i Art: What do you do in preparation before diving into an assignment?
EK: When I begin a commission I don't usually start with a pencil sketch. To warm up, I just paint anything I like--mostly flowers and women. Watercolors are so demanding and organic, as you can imagine. That's why you need a lot of practice. Sometimes I use more line with my metal tipped pen and sometimes I go for a more painterly look with just my watercolors.
i2i Art: Once you're warmed up, can you tell us more about your process?
EK: I don't like to predetermine the outcome of a new project. I like surprises and a less controlled process so as not to lose the look of spontaneity. It's scary and exciting at the same time. I work in the field of commercial illustration and I understand this is not fine art, but if an art director or a client 'sees' the illustration before I've created it, I do get concerned. Luckily most of my clients understand that the best results are a combination of themes and creative freedom with brand guidelines.
i2i Art: Once you've completed the hand drawn/painted components of an illustration can you tell us what's next in order to prepare the final art files?
EK: I polish my work digitally. I never aim for a flawless finish, but digital post-production is a good servant to me. It's a part of the process that is more in my control. The possibilities of 'undo' and 'paste and copy' and color modification are priceless. It's an essential step of my illustration creation.
This video is an opportunity to see Eili-Kaija in action as her pen and brush move and flow creating a work of art for the Red Cross--in one (awesome) take.
Check out more of Eili-Kaija's inspiring work.