I´v been working on new surface patterns. Green watercolor blocks and simple paint strokes.
Drips drops splashes are made with a straw. So much energy!
I do love fashion illustrations but I always try to add more feeling and depth to them. There needs to be something more than "pretty-ness". More expressions and more persona.
Watercolors and markers on sketchbook.
I´v been working some artworks inspired by Rick Riordan´s Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books. My favourite demi-god couple is Nico di Angelo and Will Solace.
Work in process pencil and watercolour on sketchbook.
My fellow demi-gods make sure to visit my store and check my mythology - print collection )O( #mythologyobsessed
One of my 2018 illustration projects was Diana Wynne Jones´s "Howl´s Moving Castle". I illustrated three scenes from the book. Books tells about a young girl named Sophie who stands against the wrong witch, witch of the Waste and she turns Sophie into an old lady and that is how the adventure begins.
Sophie Hatter is a hatter so I painted all kinds of hats around them. Original is done with watercolor and paper collage. You can find prints here and other goodies with this image from my shop.
When I paint witches I usually make them pretty, even if they´re evil. Spoiler alert! let´s face it, Howl would not have paid any interest on her otherwise.
All together I made three illustrations inspired by Diana Wynne Jones´s Howl´s Moving Castle. The book is lovely. It takes place in an imaginary land called Ingary and also in Wales. For those of you who don´t know I´v lived past four years in Wales studying children´s book illustration and yes, I am from Finland originally.
Strange thing life isn´t it. You´ll never know where you´ll end up.
This is a scene in the book where Sophie is exploring the moving castle and strange potion bottles in Howl´s dirty bathroom caught her attention.
Prints from these illustrations can be found here.
This was one of my favorite illustrations projects I´ever did in university. I absolutely loved painting this piece in particular and adding all the little potion bottle labels. There is watercolor, colored pencils and paper collage.
Here´s an illustration that I am insanely proud of! Last winter one of my projects was to do illustrations based on Diana Wynne Jones´s book "Howl´s moving castle". It is a lovely book and I remember reading it as a child and now I had to read it again. I´m afraid I was a bit too haste so I´ll probably need to re-read it again in Finnish at some point. Anyway the story is about a young lady called Sophie Hatter who gets turned into an old woman and she ends up working for a wizard named Howl.
There is Ghibli animation made of it but I haven´t seen it yet (it´s on my list). I just found out that Christian Bale is Howl´s English voice...why I can not imagine anyone else doing his voice. What it comes to illustrating not seeing an adaptation usually works as an advantage because then you are not conclusively thinking about a film.
this is a scene from the book where Sophie finds a mandrake. It took place in an alcove so I spent quite some time on Pinterest looking garden-like alcoves (welcome to day in the life of an illustrator).
Watercolor and mixed media illustration. You can find prints and all kinds of other goodies from my store.
My wizard Howl became a mixture of Jack Skellington and Lucius Malfoy. In the book he could change his looks.
Here are some close-up details.
As some of you may know I just recently graduated. Now I got a degree on children´s book illustration!
It was hard work but I did enjoy it.
If you know anyone who is looking for an illustrator or if you are looking for an illustrator and like my style don´t hesitate to contact me. I am also taking commissions. I hope to add a commission price here to my page within next couple of weeks. Should have done it already but I am freaking busy.
Few years ago I was hiking in Scotland with a friend of mine. Of course I had my sketchbook with me.
Here are few sketched I did from stone bridges I saw at Aviemore.
Quick watercolor painting of a loch
and a mountain.
We also saw the Ardverikie house. I grew up watching Monarch of the Glen so it was almost a religious experience for me.
What I love about Wales and Scotland is that there are so many of these tiny waterfalls and streams. One can easily imagine fairies dancing around them )O(
I´v added new beach towel designs to my store with some of my watercolor textures. Make a visit if you please <3
This list includes sacred summer days of old. Some of these festivals like Juhannus are still celebrated (by everyone) and others like Karhunpäivä (day of the bear) are celebrated mainly by pagans. Several holidays are named after different saints but roots of the names probably are much older and are derived from different nature spirits/ancient deities.
Kesäkuu - June
Derived from the word kesä meaning summer. Fields are plowed. Old name of the month was suvikuu (suvi-summer).
Kustaan päivä – Day of Kustaa 6.6
Potatoes and linen are planted
Eskon päivä – day of Esko 12.6
Time to plant turnps and hemp. No more planting barley.
Kesäpäivän tasaus – Summer Equinox – Pesäpäivät – The nesting days 20-22.6
Sun reaches it´s ”nest” and is as close to earth as possible. Longest day of the year when the sun doesn´t go down.
Ukon Vakat (from the end of May to the end of June)
Festival to honor Ukko, the god of thunder, land and fertility. There was no settled date for Ukon Vakat. If the year was warm celebrations might already take place in May but most often Ukon Vakat was celebrated during the Summer Solstice.
Juhannus – Summer Festival – day of St.John 24.6
Juhannuswww.fairychamber.com/blog/summer-solstice-celebration-in-ancient-finland traditions include burning bonfires, going into sauna, casting spells. Homes are decorated with fresh leaves. In modern day Finland Juhannus is celebrated during the weekend of the Summer Solstice.
Pietarin päivä/ Pekan päivä – Day of Pekka (St. Peter´s day) 29.6
Warmest time of the year.
Heinäkuu - July
Derived from the word heinä meaning hay. Time of the hay works.
Hay cutting begins.
Karhunpäivä - Day of the bear 13.7
Ancient Finnish celebration to honor the bear god. It was originally celebrated during early spring when bear hunt took place. Now days it is celebrated in the summer by some pagans (like myself) who follow Finnish wheel of the year. Day of the bear was also celebrated in Estonia during the summer. 13th of July is considered to be one of the warmest days of the year.
Jaakon päivä – Ukon pyhä – Day of Jaakko – Ukko´s holiday 25.7
Ukko (thunder) is respected by spending the day in silence.
Ollin päivä – day of Olli 29.7
First touch of autumn. Nights are getting darker. First harvest festival.
Elokuu - August
Name of elokuu is derived from Finnish word elonkorjuu meaning harvest. Old name of the month was mätäkuu the rotten month. Under the heath waves food easily became rotten.
Vanhan Iljan päivä – Day of old Ilja 1.8
In Karelia Ilja throws chilled stones into waters. Mushroom season begins. In Karelia bulls and goats are sacrificed for the spirits.
Laurin päivä – day of Lauri 10. 8
End of the summer. Sky is filled with shootin stars.
Perttelin päivä – Day of Pertteli 24.8
First day of autumn. Frosty nights arrive. Autumn rye is planted.
Syyskuu – September
Name of the month is derived from the Finnish word syksy meaning autumn.
Syys-Matti – Autumn Matti 21.9
Preparing for winter begins. Apples, potatoes and turnips are picked. Bears go into hibernation.
Check out my other articles on Finnish pagan wheel of the year:
Spring Holidays of pagan Finland
Winter holidays of pagan Finland
Autumn holidays of pagan Finland
For all the witchy folks you can find many of my paintings and illustrations turned into wheel of the year cards celebrating different sabbaths here )O(
Merry meet my fairysouls! Here is my new video and it is all about magic in Sleeping Beauty. If you prefer to read scroll down to read the article. I filmed this on the New Year so you can see the sparkling Christmas tree behind me.
What it comes to the older classic Disney animations, Sleeping Beauty from 1959 is one of my personal favorites. Style of the animation is gorgeous and as an illustrator, I can only admire the delicate background art created by illustrator Eyvind Earle but my absolute favorite part in the film is the representation of magic.
Disney´s Sleeping Beauty is loosely based on Charles Perrault´s fairytale of the same name and Perrault´s fairytale (which you can read here) was based on a medieval ballad, which is the first literal version of Sleeping Beauty. Perrault was the first who included the magical elements to the story, like the spell in the spinning wheel. In the Disney animation fairies are the ones who hold the magical powers.
Aurora´s Fairy Godmothers
In the animation, Aurora´s three godmothers are called Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Flora gives the baby princess the gift of beauty, Fauna gives her the gift of song and when Merryweather is about to give her gift, that is when Maleficent appears, so it is left to Merryweather to change Maleficent curse from death to 100 years of sleep.
Three fairies wear different colors and the color code is based on ancient fairylore where fairies are often associated with different colors.
Flora wears red which represents; life, sun, mother goddess and flowers.
Fauna wears green which represents forest, plants, and animals.
Merryweather wears blue which represents thoughts, thinking, and ideas.
These three fairies are all connected to different elements. Flora is connected to fire, Fauna is connected to the earth and Merryweather is the fairy of the air.
Here are a few interesting facts about these three fairies.
Originally script writers planned to have seven fairies for the animation but that ended up being too much. Three fairies went through many transformations. Flora and Fauna first had different names. Flora was called Tranquility (fairy of dreams) and Fauna was Fernadell (fairy of the forest). Merryweather was always called Merryweather.
These three Disney fairies have some awesome powers and I dare to say it, I like them so much more than Tinker Bell (no offense J.M.Barrie).
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather have the following magical powers:
Telekinesis - ability to move objects with their minds/wands
Color manipulation - best example of this is Flora´s and Merryweather´s constant fight whether Aurora´s dress should be pink or blue (I´m on #teamblue).
Conjuration - ability to materialize objects from thin air.
Ability to turn invisible.
Talent to manipulate and transform light.
Pyrokinesis - ability to create fire and manipulate it.
Ability to transform objects and change their size.
Ability to fly.
Ability to change appearance, size and looks.
Wonderful World of Fairylore
Three fairies in Disney´s Sleeping Beauty are three fairy sisters and throughout history, this group of three fairies or three fairy godmothers has appeared in one form or another. We can find them from many cultures and mythologies.
Often the fairy godmothers appear in groups of three or four and these fairies are always guardian spirits.
In Welsh fairylore, three fairies originate from Benedith y Mamau which means the blessing of the mothers. Roots of Benedith y Mamau are in ancient goddess cult. Benedith y Mamau represented the triple goddess and the name originates from Latin matres meaning mother. These three goddesses were worshipped as the protectors of people. The matrons were widely worshipped in the 5th century in Gaul, Germania and Northern Italy.
Fairies that are connected to faith (like fairies in Disney´s Sleeping Beauty) often appear in the groups of three. In Norse mythology, the three Norns who are the weavers of destiny, appear in the group of three and so does the Morai, who are the three goddesses of faith in Greek mythology.
In ancient Finland, it was believed that each person had an invisible spirit who guarded them. This spirit was called haltija. Word haltija has many different meanings. It can mean an elf, a fairy or a spirit/nature spirit.
In Arabic folklore jinnie/jenyah (genie) before they were solely connected to wish making and magic lamps were guardian spirits of people and places in nature.
In Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania fairies were known as Laumes and they were the servants of the goddess Laima, who was the goddess of faith and protector of humans. Laumes were the guardian of children and protectors of mothers and pregnant women. It was believed that a fairy was present in each birth and that fairy became the child´s godmother and she protected them throughout their life.
Very often people criticise Sleeping Beauty that it is not a very empowering film for women. If we think about Aurora I agree that she is not a very active princess but I don´t think that is really that much of a character flaw but it has more to do with the story. We can´t expect that many heroic deeds from her since she spends most of the film sleeping.
the magic in Sleeping Beauty is actually rooted in the group dynamics of the three fairy godmothers which makes the film empowering and quite feminist. These three ladies team up to raise a child together and in the beginning, they have no idea how to do that especially without magical powers that I assume they have been born with. They give up their really cool powers for 16 years to protect this girl who is one day going to be the queen of their home land. By doing this these fairies are the heroes of the film. They are the ones who save the kingdom by helping prince Phillip and by raising Aurora and protecting her from Maleficent. Magic of the three fairy godmothers is in their group dynamics and their faith for each others (faith for their "fairy coven"). Sometimes they do get on each others nerves like sisters do but in the end they all know what is at stake and they work together.
Maleficent, The Black Fairy
In the original Sleeping Beauty ballad, the fairies are missing. The story is quite horrifying for modern readers. It includes a prince who rapes an unconscious princess who gives birth to twins while being in a coma. When the prince wants to marry the girl he raped, his wife tries to kill them and the cheated wife is framed as the villain of the story. In Perrault´s version, the prince did not have a revengeful ex-wife, neither he was a rapist but he had a cannibalistic ogre stepmother who wanted to eat couple´s young children.
Obviously, neither one of these scenarios were fitting for a Disney film. The origins of Disney´s Maleficent is in deeper and older fairylore. More specifically, in the legend of the black fairy.
As I mentioned earlier it is common in fairylore that fairies are often associated with different colors.
Colors of Maleficent are black, purple and poison green.
Black represents a hidden identity and death.
Purple represents high magic, spirituality, and high priestess. Back in the days purple color was very difficult to make so it was only allowed for royal people to wear purple. In Sleeping Beauty Maleficent is a ruler of her land.
Poison/yellow-ish green represents jealousy and danger.
Fairy of Revenge
Story of the black fairy follows a very old narrative of the fallen one. We can date first stories back to 30 - 40 000 years to the time of shamanism. In some native American and Finno-Ugric cultures, the world was created by two water birds. In these myths one of the water birds was good and the other bird was an evil/trickster. The world was only water and these birds dived to the bottom and brought some dirt in their beaks to the surface and started to build the earth this way. The trickster hid some of the dirt and when the "good" bird found out about this, he forced the trickster to become his servant, so the trickster bird became the ruler of the underworld and receiver of souls.
A similar story can be found from the Bible where Lucifer is the fallen angel and is banished from heaven. In Koran, the Iblis is the fallen jinnie who is Carlotta by Allah because he refused to bow Adam, the first man.
There are many examples in myths where the "neglected" member in the family/pantheon of deities becomes the ruler of death and the underworld. In ancient Greece after killing their father Kronos, the three brothers Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided the world. Zeus who was the oldest became the ruler of the skies, Poseidon who was the second oldest ruled over seas and Poseidon who was the youngest became the ruler of the underworld.
The original fairytale of Sleeping Beauty does not have straight connections to magic but it does show the cattiness in female relationships. This is something that can also be found in the story of the black fairy. In ancient Europe there was (and still is) many negative associations to the color black and black fairy wearing the color black automatically has made her an outcast among the other fairy. In the folktales about the black fairy she usually starts out like any other fairy but for one reason or another becomes rejected by the other fairies and this chain of actions causes the black fairy seeking revenge to the other fairies. Disney´s Maleficent has all the same powers than Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather and eventually, her plot does not work out because she lacks the support of others. Her only true friend is her crow. The ogres that work for her are just minions and can easily turn against her.
It seems to be some kind of a Hollywood trend to make fairytale villains seek forgiveness and go through redemption. I have seen this a lot in films and tv in recent years. I did not like the live-action movie Maleficent that much. I thought Angelina Jolie did a good job playing Maleficent but I did not like the plot. In the live-action movie, the three fairy godmothers were turned into caricatures and they didn´t really do anything in the movie. Maleficent was not evil. She was "victim of patriarchy" and she became Aurora´s godmother. I was glad that the film had the fairy godmother-aspect included since that is important part of the story.
In the animation, Stefan and the queen are very loving parents and it broke their hearts when they had to give their child away. I did not like the way Stefan was portrayed in the movie Maleficent since he was a great character in the animation. The live action draws from the original ballad where the princess was raped and abused by the prince. whereas the original animation got it´s inspiration from Perrault´s Sleeping Beauty which draws heavily from the black fairy trope. In the original animation, it is pretty clear that the fairies and Maleficent go way back but their relationship is not explained.
I am a big fan of ABC´s Once Upon A Time. It is another show where redemption among villains is an extremely common theme. Regina the evil queen starts out as a straight forward villain. Season by season she becomes a better person and by the end of the series, she is crowned again as a good queen. Redemption as a story arc can work in a movie or a series but there is no denying that Regina, the evil queen on the earlier seasons is more interesting to watch than the good Regina of the later seasons. Another villain in Once Upon A Time is Rumplestiltskin who also goes through redemption arc. It takes much longer time for Rumple to get his redemption because unlike Regina, Rumple´s support net is much smaller. Once Upon A Time had a very interesting take on the black fairy and to my pleasant surprise, it had its inspiration in the black fairy folk tales where fairies were protectors of children.
The Empowering Villain
Maleficent represents the villain archetype when the three fairy godmothers represent the nurturing mother. What I love about the original Disney´s Maleficent is that she is un-apologetically evil. She has very bold moves, unforgettable laughter (check the video 18:20 and my favourite Maleficent laughter) and she can turn into this amazing kick-ass dragon. Maleficent is the dragon queen. She embodies evil and she does not regret anything she does. My favourite Maleficent scene is the one where she confronts prince Phillip and tells him Now you will meet Maleficent the lover of all evil.
She is very dramatic and among the fairies my favorite character in the movie. Maleficent embraces her evilness, it is part of her. What if we turn the premise of Sleeping Beauty upside down and look Maleficent as a character who is proud of the fact that she is an outcast and she does things differently and that is her magical power. Same way as working collectively is the magical power of the fairy godmothers. Maleficent being this extremely powerful evil character can be seen as a metaphor or as an allegory to love yourself the way you are and embracing that. Maleficent loves herself as an evil creature. It does not come from some emptiness or trauma. It comes from her love for destruction (basically she is a total psychopath). She loves her evilness and that makes her such a great character. We are allowed to love the villains in their villain-ness. They can be empowering and powerful archetypes.
I love Sleeping Beauty, I think it is one of the most magical Disney animations ever made and all these layers in the story and in the different film versions just add more magic into that. Magic in Sleeping Beauty is both collective and individual and deeply rooted in the enchanting world of the fairies.
As always thank you for reading my stories and watching my videos. I´v added new wonderful leggins to my store. Come and check them out. I´ll add new products each week.
Artist, illustrator, writer and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
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