Nina Ruokonen on Reducing Forms for Picture Books for Children

By reducing and refining forms while also leaving a space open for intuitive mark making, Nina Ruokonen composes her illustrations out of the simplest and most impactful components.

Like writing simple but powerful poetry, telling her visual narratives with the fewest strokes of the brush or collaged shapes is important to Nina and her artistic aesthetic.

She describes this element of her work and how her previous experience in the printing and textile industry informs these creative choices.

“I’m Nina, textile designer and  children book author.”

“Every design process starts with coloured paper, scissors, ink and brushes.”

“I have a certain atmosphere or idea in my mind when I start sketching but I also let the creative process surprise me. I cherish and nurture those happy accidents that occur during the design process. In that way, pictures come more unpredictable and vivid in my opinion.”

“A humorous twist is essential in my children’s book pictures because the children’s poems I write are also often somehow funny or humorous. I hope that my images and text would talk to both children and adults.”

“Less is more for me in all design work, weather it is textile prints or children’s picture books.”

“Paper collage technique supporst that well— it has that certain edge and simplicity that I like.  I also like to use ink because of its texture.”

“I always draw/make pictures by hand with paper, scissors, glue, ink and/or brushes. After that, I scan the picture into the computer and continue to work with the colours, textures, details, composition etc.”

“I have a long background in the textile industry as a textile and pattern designer, and maybe that’s why colours and textures are very close to my heart— my aim is to make them sing together. Colours can either spoil the picture or make it strong.”

All images © Nina Ruokonen

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