“Plate of sushi” was one of the illustrations I did in the university when studying to become an illustrator.
It´s cute. It´s colourful and above all, I loved painting it.
In art school, we were given different topics to illustrate and the goal was to work on all these different projects so one could eventually find their own niche. This time the theme was “sushi”.
I watch lots of illustrators on YouTube from different parts of the world and I have time to time come across “self-learned artists” who tear down art schools and universities in their videos.
I loved my time in the university and maybe the difference between myself and those people was that I took it very seriously. I am originally from Finland and I moved to the UK just for the uni (and my university was surprisingly popular among Finnish students). There were times that were really tough. For example, I had to move houses often, because of reasons that I didn´t have much control over and that caused lots of stress, then there were political threats like Brexit (which is not a topic for this article. I will say it created a crazy amount of mental stress).
At the university, I felt at home. I felt that I was exactly in the place where I wanted to be because ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an illustrator. I also wanted to be an animator and an archaeologist but more than anything else I wanted to be an illustrator.
People ask me this all the time, why didn´t you study to be an illustrator in Finland? if I had the opportunity maybe I had, but I wanted to study illustration full time. I wanted to know how to turn it into a career and unfortunately still today Finland doesn´t have art schools where you can do that.
Yes, sometimes the feedback that I got from uni teachers felt harsh, but the more days and months and years passed by and the better I became, that constructive criticism turned into praises.
No, no one can ever tell me that art schools are bad, but I also say it´s not good for everyone. You need to know what you want.
I think the best thing that I learned in my time studying one of my true passion was that you should never be afraid to experiment.
Illustration and creating art, in general, is supposed to be a fun and fulfilling process. There was a time when I use to dislike sketching and going straight to my paints and watercolours. Now I could not be without it.
Another one of my favourite techniques that have stuck with me after leaving the university is to make mind maps that will help me to get inspired.
What would a mind map for “sushi” look like? The first words that come to my mind are “Japan” “Kawaii” and “fish”. What comes into mind from the word “Japan”? I think of cherry blossom trees, the rising sun and the mountain Fuji.
There we already have six different ideas that we could use in a set of sushi illustrations.
If you feel like Sushi, prints and stickers are available in my store.
I want to become better at talking about my art so I am writing short-form stories of how I became an illustrator and stories behind my artworks.
Pronounced as Nee-na.
Artist, illustrator, writer, watercolorist and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
Love fandoms AOGG and Little Women (prefers books over the films). Louisa May Alcott researcher.
Please keep the comment section civil, respectful and connected to the topic at hand. Thank you. Spammy/passive-agressive comments will be blocked and reported.
Get 2 free weeks on Skillshare.