Creative Squad: Lost in a Book – Riikka Kovasin

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post and video from Riikka Kovasin who is sharing an art journal page that is an ode to a favorite book from childhood. She is using my ATC Mixup Stencil and our theme: Lost in a Book – What is one of your favorite books (from childhood or as an adult) or a book that you recently read and really enjoyed? Create a project inspired by the characters, plot, or any element of the book that really stuck with you.

The Muse of Poetry 

Hi there everyone! It’s Riikka here today with an art journal spread with the month’s theme “Lost in a Book”. I had a number of possibilities here – like “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, the only book I’ve been reading when a complete stranger walks up to me and says: “That’s a really good book” to start a conversation. Or Agatha Christie’s “Big Four”, a really neglected looking volume in the school library that I ended up picking for a reading assignment and it blew my mind so that I ended up reading everything the local library had from Christie.

But while these could have been the books to draw inspiration from, instead I chose perhaps the first book memory I have. I had this children’s story book called “Satuja” by Raul Roine, and I was leafing through it before I could read. When I then could read, I did like the stories, but I especially loved the illustration. The pictures were done by Rudolf Koivu, a beloved Finnish illustrator and artist. I was captivated by the beautiful pictures, the ornate details but also about the fact that none of the pieces had any yellow! 

I still have the book, but I wasn’t going to cut into it. Instead, I found a copy of the same book in poor shape in a second-hand bookstore. It had water damage but I didn’t mind as most of the illustrations were still intact. I bought the book just for art journaling. You can see me leaf through the book in the beginning of the video.

My next task was to decide which one of the beautiful illustrations to use. I again took a trip down memory lane and tried to remember which illustrations I was most drawn to. There were three, that I remember. An Asian princess with a big fan and a graceful stance, a princess with blue garments flowing in the wind while she hurried away from the palace, and a muse of poetry opening a beautifully decorated door, all dressed in black. As you can see from the photos, I went with the one mentioned last. There was a couple of reasons, but one was the name of the character – “Runotar”. It’s somehow such a beautiful word, the beginning meaning a poem (runo) and then the female suffix (-tar), corresponding to English “-ress”. Although poemress sounds a bit daft, the Finnish version is really beautiful to my ear. As the topic was connected to books essentially, I thought that following the words would be the thing.

I used the thing that used to make me ponder as a child, to my advantage in the art journal page. That is the lack of yellow. I went with just red and dark blue. I first dyed the paper with a pink dye and then layered the patterns on top using Nat’s “ATC Mixup” stencil. I just love that stencil! It’s so handy with different patterns so you have plenty to choose from! If you want to see how I made the spread, please see the video below.

As you could see from the video, I used two book pages as my background for the whole thing. Like I say in the video, they are printed with blue, not black. As a child I also found that really intriguing, too, as all the other books had black text! Using the pages was another way to add the words, the text to the project. The final addition of text was the text stickers and the image caption I added to the spread. The black word stickers make up a recent story, a journaling for the present, while the caption adds another reference to the past, the story which the illustration belongs. The story is that of Peukaloinen, Little Thumbling, by the way. In it he decides that he wants to be a poet and needs to find his way.

Thank you for stopping by today! Wishing you a wonderful day!

Thank you Riikka – loved hearing about what drew you to this book as a child and then seeing how you incorporated these unique style and color elements in your own artwork.

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Riikka used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

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