Happy Valentine´s Day!
- Published: Tuesday, 14 February 2023 02:00
Join the adventure into the world of midsummer magic, wildflowers and fantasy cats. Sandcastle.fi blog follows the path to fascinating art, where dreamy elements are playing with the reality - and illustrations are completed with Finnish wildflowers. Artist Sanna of the Sandcastle takes you into a journey to creativity, art and illustrations.
Happy Valentine´s Day 2023! ❤️
Happy Valentine´s Day to Sandcastle.fi blog readers!
Thank you also for all your likes, comments and follows on the social media.
And a big Valentine´s Day hug to all you creative souls out there!
Stay strong and brave!
Details of her dress were shimmering like New Year´s Eve...
And somehow that moment was taking her back to the magical old era.
Wishing you Happy New Year!
This floral dress design above was completed with red and white purple carnations.
Already from the start the drawn character was designed to have a strong red and dramatic style that was lightened with the white purple carnations. Those white purple carnation flowers were balancing that red style and lightening the mood of the whole design.
And in the same way also those drawn flower like decorations on the upper part of the character were designed to lighten those darkest colored pencil layers of the drawn figure (picture below).
The drawn flower decorations were designed to resemble a bit of those real white purple carnations of the floral dress, but still have that feeling of being part of the drawn dress decoration. And while drawing I was then keeping those flower decorations also a bit plainer when compared to the real flowers.
When drawing this character I used several colored pencil layers to create that miniature face with skin tones. And the character´s hair was colored with several purple red layers - and also with almost white and cool greyish highlight colors.
In addition in the picture below you can see more clearly the green eyes of the character. That intense green tone as a complementary colour to the powerful red was creating a contrast... and almost like building also a dialogue between those two colors. Guess this time the character needed those intense green eyes (and that look) in her style?
In this design the character was designed to match the colors of her floral dress. And as a result this design is having a strong red style with touches of white purple and green.
Stay strong and brave everyone!❤️ With this illustration I´m sending you light and strenght!
Happy Valentine´s Day 2022! ❤️
Stay strong and brave!
Wishing you Happy Valentine´s Day!
This work in progress picture above is from the moment when I was creating the autumn dress design. This time the style was rustic autumn mood combined with yellow and orange highlights.
This dress was completed with autumn´s dried leaves and ferns. In the picture above I was arranging the elements together. That rustic mood was so nice to play with, especially after the summer´s bright flowers and colors.
I colored the character with several layers. And this time I also added autumn colors more for the background and filled the paper with combination of rustic colors along with misty forest tones. In the autumn forest, there´s that beautiful balance between rustic mood and softer misty tones. I used those same inspiring colors which were captured also during my halloween forest adventure in the previous post. As a result my character in middle of the autumn setting became that bright highlight... almost like that candle in the picture below.
After drawing the character the leaf and fern dress was then built of treasures that were found from the forest. After the flaming autumn colors were all gone, the forest was hiding those last leaves with fading yellow and orange tones.Those yellow leaves with rusty tones were matching with the character´s colors and were also forming that top layer for her dress.
I added some of the red brown colors of the ferns to my character´s hair. Especially those tones that the ferns still had during the forest adventure (like in the picture below). The ferns that I collected and dried, became then also so compelling with that new rough texture, like having a completely different life after the forest...
In the pictures below is captured a moment when I was getting the fern dress nearly finished.... Below you can also see details of that fern texture and the hem of the rough dress.
In the picture below you can see also the upper body and face of the drawn character more clearly. This time her brownish hazel eyes were having orange tones for eye shadow colors.
Those last autumn days before the snow... there´s magic in the misty forest and so many treasures waiting to be found.
Bye bye ferns, hope we will meet again...
I´m sending you light and strength! Stay strong!
Into the forest... where that magical energy embraces you.
Wishing you Happy Halloween and wonderful autumn moments!
This work in progress picture above is from the moment when I was creating the midsummer floral dress design. In that captured moment I was just arranging miniature flowers on the character´s hair.
This floral dress design was completed with Finnish wildflowers. This time the midsummer themed character and her blooming dress was designed to have yellow and green tones.
After drawing the midsummer character the flower dress was then built of the wildflowers that were found from the secret meadow.
And as a result on the Midsummer´s Eve the character´s dress was then blooming and the shadows of the wildflowers were gently dancing in the midsummer light...
In the "behind the scenes" picture below is captured a moment of that midsummer day when I was waiting for the shadows to come and play... In the pictures you can also see details of the blooming hem.
In the pictures below you can see also that face of the drawn character more clearly. This time the green tones were added as a "make-up" for the eyes and adjusted then to the pale tones and the gentle colors of the facial area.
Looking back and remembering those soft summer shadows... as well as those sunny midsummer days.
And I remember those smallest flowers that can radiate so much light...
And I´m sending you right now light, energy and strength! Stay strong!
Shadows of the wildflowers are already dancing in the secret meadow… It is Midsummer ´s Eve!
Wishing Magical Midsummer´s Eve!
May those fairy tale worlds be open and bring you magical ideas.
Memories of the moment when the warm spring light entered that blue reality…
This spring themed floral dress was completed with flowers of blue grape hyacinths and carnations. The drawn character was designed to have soft bluish style that was highlighted with warm color layers and yellow highlights. The floral dress was completed with vivid yellow-red carnations that seemed to light up the whole design.
And in her floral dress those carnation flowers were almost like radiating light...
And the flowers of grape hyacint were perfect choice when building soft blue spring mood... Below in the pictures you can see more details also of the blue flower tail of the blooming dress.
And then below in the wip picture is captured the moment when I was bringing light into her blue reality. By adding that small petal of carnation flower into the upper part, it was giving that final touch into the whole floral dress design. In the detail picture below one can also see more clearly how the yellow colored pencil layers were also adding light into the the drawn character.
Especially when drawing the character I used this time several colored pencil layers to create that miniature face where the blue colors melted softly together with the more warm skin tones.
The character was colored to match the colors of her floral dress. And as a result the floral dress became a memory of the moment when the sunrays after winter finally color that blue reality with warm tones.
Sending you light and energy!
Could this Winter Fairy light up your day...?
On Valentine´s Day cherishing those special friends that can bring you light and energy in the middle of the frozen world...
Wishing you Happy Valentine´s Day!
Last glance at the past year… When the year changes, take with you the moments that bloomed and memories that sparkled.
This floral dress above was designed for the New Year´s Eve. This time the character was drawn like she would be looking over her shoulder, as if she would be taking that last glance at the ending year. Maybe she is contemplating that past year, that was so different in many ways.
In this illustration it was nice to emphasize the back of the character´s dress and draw the character from a different angle for a change.
After drawing the character and adding the golden and red shimmering details on her back, the design was then completed with dark red roses and carnations. Golden glitters were then added also on to the flowers to emphasize that special New Year´s festive style.
Sending light and energy to you and wishing you Happy New Year 2021! ❤️
Autumn´s leaf dresses for the Halloween...
Which one is your favorite? 1,2,3 of 4?
(You can leave a comment on Instagram or on Facebook)
This collection of leaf dresses above with autumn´s colors combines both Halloween and fairy tale styles.
Below there´s pictures of the collection and also links to the original articles that give more info about the selected dresses.
You can read more about these leaf dresses above (numbers 1 and 3) in here.
And above the autumn maple leaf dress. You can read more about this dress number 2 in here.
And finally above the shorter maple leaf dress. You can read more about this dress number 4 in here.
Wishing you all happy and colorful Halloween! ?
When your teddy bear has left the sketchbook and is enjoying a new (still) life in the window…
Sometimes it is safest to watch the outside world behind curtains, through windows… Or sometimes even just through the screens of our devices.
This still life into the window started with a little teddy bear sketch. The drawing was then created with colored pencils like mentioned in the previous post. Those yellow tulips seemed to bring a bit of light amongst to these very different spring days. Those tulips inspired me to also color the teddy bear with bright yellows combined with some green tones.
And then the teddy bear was ready to leave the sketchbook and start a new (still) life in the window behind the curtains… Spending days by watching the outside world.
I also added a pile of sketchbooks and some colored pencils to the still life composition. Maybe those elements could even inspire the passers-by to draw and create...?
Below there´s a work in progress picture from the moment when the bear figure was finally breaking free from the sketchbook and finding a balance with the other still life parts.
And there was the teddy bear in the window... Like a reflection. Like the time had stood still.
This little teddy bear drawing was created with colored pencils. The yellow tulips seemed to bring a bit of light amongst these very different spring days... Those tulips inspired me to also color the teddy bear with those same bright yellows combined with some green tones.
The reality changed so suddenly…
In these difficult times sending you light and strength.
Sharing this older fairy illustration below to bring you all a lot of extra energy!
Happy Valentine´s Day!
Today one might just find that golden heart!
Is it a random friendly smile or an unexpected act of kindness - or even that special beautiful soul with a heart of gold…?
The Valentine´s Day illustration above was created by drawing the character on to the black paper - and then creating the floral dress with roses. The illustration became a combination of black paper, mystic rich colors and golden details. It was nice to create the Valentine´s day atmosphere on to a black paper for a change - when comparing for example to older Valentine´s Day themes and rose dresses on white paper (you can see the few of the older Valentine´s Day dresses in here).
But this time it was all about building that Valentine´s Day mood on to a black paper. And against that dark paper also the colors of the roses seemed to be especially strong and glowing too. Below there´s memories of the moment when I was completing the floral dress and observing those glowing roses from the shadows...
And what about that shimmering heart then…? Guess sometimes one has to look at the reality closely from a different angle to see that glowing golden heart.
Happy Valentine´s Day to Sandcastle.fi blog readers! I created this drawing to thank you all - you are gold!
Thank you also for all your likes, comments and follows on the social media. And a big Valentine´s Day hug to all you creative souls out there!
That mystic moment when the year changes...
On the verge of a New Year it is perfect time to create something different! And it is always nice to start a new year by challenging old routines and trying something new… And therefore because my drawings are usually made on to the white paper, it was really interesting to draw on black paper for a change and work in reverse.
When typically starting with lighter shading towards darker tones on white paper, this drawing was instead all about building a path from the darkest shadows towards the light. And already the pitch black paper itself had that compelling and a bit mysterious feel in it.
In this drawing above I sought for that mystic moment when the year changes and inside the homes rich colors glow and bring light and warmth into the winter night darkness. That very special moment when the recent holiday season´s mood still lingers around the houses and those festive Christmas poinsettias are ever more blooming.
And yet in the same time one can feel that closeness of the upcoming New Year and anticipate those new ideas that are already soon coloring that mystical atmosphere with new tones. In this illustration the soft light pink roses were giving those same kinds of fresh touches into the character´s rose dress, brightening it up like a breeze of new year´s refreshing ideas.
The mystic style of the character was created by drawing on to black paper with strong colors, especially with the red tones. Adding then also some cold and light tones into the drawing helped to give the impression like the character would almost be approaching the viewer from the shadowy surroundings. Maybe the character with her blooming floral dress was waiting in the shadows that exact moment when the year changes - and the new day can arise.
In this drawing above I was exploring how many layers and details could be done into the upper part of the dress and into the character´s face in such a small size. Even in the smallest details in the facial area the colors were built up by several layers to give that gloomy impression to the character´s face. Blue was added to character´s eyes and eye lids by layering the colors - as well as the strong red for her lips with the same technique. Building the character´s miniature sized face and features through several colored pencil layers was intriguing.
The finishing touch to this illustration was added with the shining golden tones. The character had those small golden details added on to the upper part of her dress as well as in the area of the earrings. But the golden tones were added also into the hair as small dots, that were forming a kind of miniature crown on her head… Because in the New Year´s Eve, during that mystic moment - the character might have been even the queen of that mysterious night.
Wishing Happy New Year 2020 to all blog readers!
May your year start with rosy dreams and refreshing ideas ❤️
She awakened for the Halloween!
This Halloween dress above was completed with autumn leaves. The beautiful orange and red colored maple leaves were perfect for this illustration when aiming for a Halloween mood with strong colors.
I designed this shorter Halloween dress also into a bit more sassy style… For example when compared into the style of the longer leaf dresses from previous Halloween that are seen in the picture below (more about the previous Halloween dresses in here).
In addition to a bit different style choice, in this year´s dress I completed it with maple leaves instead of aspen leaves. And for a while also the sketchbook was surrounded by maple leaves. In the short dress design I wanted to maintain that lively feeling of falling maple leaves but also include that layered look of the leaves.
Also the colors of the drawn character were adjusted to maple leaves, emphasizing those flaming orange colors also in the drawing. The yellow layers in the collar were designed to match with some of the maple leaves that had that bright yellow in them. The drawn layers and details can be seen more clearly in the picture below.
At this stage above I was already adding those small dark flowers as a decoration on to the upper part of the dress. Those withered dark flowers were just captivating and perfect for the Halloween mood! Those smallest parts of the withered flowers formed also those miniature earrings for the character.
The drawn character was designed to have green eyes that were emphasized with vivid green color also under the eyes. I aimed to draw those green layers under the character´s eyes like I would be adding green color from some kind of an imaginary miniture eyeliner.
The emphasized vivid green eyes were giving that finishing touch to the otherwise so red and orange Halloween style. The eyes can be seen more clearly again in the picture below.
A special detail in this Halloween dress design were orange sassy boots that were also decorated with small withered flowers. Below is the work in progress picture from the stage when I was completing the orange boots with the dark flower parts.
In the previous blog post I was wondering if the character would be awaken during the Halloween. Well, I think she did! And who knows, maybe today the character in her autumn leaf dress even takes part in a magical Halloween party…?
Wishing magical and happy Halloween to you all!
Through the autumn leaves secretly watching the character... and wondering if she awakens during the Halloween.
Below there´s a picture of the romantic boots that were decorated with the heather flowers...
... And also close-up from the more dramatic boots that were designed for upcoming Halloween.
Wearing the heather flowers. Welcome autumn!
This floral dress above was completed with heather flowers. For a change I wanted to create a shorter floral dress design with early autumn mood, and complete the style then with romantic floral boots.
The colors to the drawn character were selected based on the heather flowers, emphasizing the flower colors along with the green tones. In the picture below there´s a close-up of the character.
At this stage above I was adding those small flower decorations on her hair and also on the upper part of the dress.
This time the drawn character was designed to have dark brown eyes that were emphasized with vivid green and dark purple color layers in the eyelid area. The eyes can be seen more clearly in the picture below.
A special detail in this floral dress design were those romantic boots that were also decorated with small heather flowers. Below is the work in progress picture. Drawing the miniature boots and then completing them with small heather flowers were probably one of my favorite moments when creating this illustration.
Wishing happy and creative autumn moments to Sandcastle.fi blog readers!
Surrounded by tulips... and waiting for the spring! ??
This floral dress above was completed with pink and purple tulips. And the style included also that strong pink hair color for the character.
On the other hand the colored layers in the drawn dress were instead kept quite light and subtle when aiming for a special early spring mood. The upper part of the dress was designed to have that light purple look also with some drawn lace-like patterns that can be seen more clearly in the detail pictures below.
And while drawing it felt like creating a miniature make-up for the character! Especially when adding that purple color into the character´s eyelids. Also her greenish eyes were after coloring eventually matching with the green color of the tulip leaves.
? Wishing happy spring moments to you all! ?
Happy New Year dear blog readers! ??
Do you know the moment, when the holiday season and those red and green colors of poinsettia are turning into New Year´s mood? Just then those New Year´s pink and light blue ideas will arise...?
This floral dress above was designed to combine the mood of the holiday season with that special light atmosphere, when the first New Year´s ideas will arise.
The drawn character is maybe still holding on to the relaxed days of the holiday season... Enjoying of the deep red and green colors of the Christmas poinsettias, but also the atmosphere of those pink and purple winter sunsets (like in the previous christmas blog post).
But at the same time the light blue and pink colors are already showing way into the New Year´s arising ideas. Those smallest light blue details in the character´s drawn clothing as well as the fresh pink gerbera in her floral dress are inviting her to look forward, into the New Year.
Once again the character was designed to have colors that were the matching with her floral dress. Below in the detail picture one can see the details of the facial area even more closely. Like for example the characters lips that are having the same color than those deep red poinsettias. Or the dark bluish color in her eye lids that is reminding of those winter evenings.
Creating this drawing and floral dress was like a path from holiday season into the New Year´s plans. A transition from the deep red poinsettias towards into the more light and pink flowers.
Wishing a happy and creative New Year to you all!
Last days before the snow.
A glimpse of green in the dark... That last longing for the verdancy ?
This time the completed floral dress became like a darker continuation to the first floral dress of the spring. For that reason the colors are also in reversed order compared to that spring themed dress. Below one can see the mentioned two works side by side.
The spring and late autumn themed floral dresses above are a bit like mirror images, like light and darker reflections of the verdancy. Or maybe they are the twins that are never able to meet in the mythic land of four seasons. Because what starts with vivid green during the early spring, ends then in the different toned green in the late autumn. There´s something so familiar, yet something so different in those tones of green and brown.
The autumn themed darker floral dress was inspired by the last lingering dark days before the snow. And because the green was such an important element for this floral dress too, I went to the dark forest to look for the last glimpses of green.
In the days before the snow, when all the autumn colors have faded and all the leaves have lost their colors, there´s still sparks of vivid green here and there.The last green leaves are still strongly resisting the winter.
Also the yellower greens as well as the brown tones became a part of the floral dress.
This time the floral dress was completed not only with those last green leaves but also with dark and brown wilted plant and flower parts, that can be found just before the snow. The ones that will stand tall until the snow.
After finding all the plants and elements for the floral dress, the drawn character was then colored to have dark and green upper part to match with the floral dress. The upper part of the dress was this time designed to have that late autumn look with long sleeves, looking a bit like jacket and having also a touch of Victorian style in it. Green and brown tones were then also adjusted to match with the colors of the finished floral dress.
Because the last days before the snow can sometimes be dark, some color choices for this character were obvious. Like the dark hair and those brown eyes… And after that greenish floral dress was completed, the character had green highlights on the hair and also some green tones to her eye lids.
Also the upper part of the dress was in this design completed with the green leaves. Those leaves formed a vivid green real plant scarf to character´s neck area. Maybe that miniature scarf could even bring light and comfort to her dark days before the snow. One can see the small scarf and other details more clearly in the picture below.
And then, one of those dark days...
The first snow finally arrives and covers even those last green leaves.
Wishing happy December moments to you all!
Fairy of the fallen tree ?
One might see her wandering there on the fallen tree, on that softest green moss.
Sometimes in the primeval forest one can almost hear echoes of those past moments, when the old trees fell years ago. But now the soft moss is gently embracing those fallen giants. And in November, when all the autumn colors have already faded, the forest is still unbelievably green. Colored by that green moss carpet.
Those ancient forests are just enchanting. And exactly there, one can also find that perfect place for sketching and dreaming…
And in there, if you just squint your eyes... the fairies can come alive.
These Halloween styles were created with a bit darker drawn characters that had their dresses built with fallen autumn leaves. Because I wanted the leaf dresses to have flaming red and orange colors together with that darker look, the aspen leaves with autumn colors were perfect for this occasion.
So I began my creative process by going into the forest. Right in the places where those tall aspens grow...
The autumn had colored the aspen leaves with that beautiful yellow tone. But I also saw some of the red and orange leaves high up there.
Autumn wind was my helper, when I waited those beautifully toned red leaves to fall down.
And eventually I found just the right toned orange and red leaves. Some of them were already fallen earlier, but luckily the autumn light was helpfully revealing their hiding places on the ground.
Each and every one of the leaves was unique and some of them had those dark spots that were also matching well to the planned halloween theme and the dark style of the characters.
I had again found my treasures, a collection of those flaming colored fallen leaves. And those beautiful aspen leaves with all the dark little details were already giving many ideas of the drawn style of the characters. So, I hastened to create the halloween themed characters. And in that evening even the autumn trees seeemed to have those halloween colors and that same fascinating darker mood during the autumn sunset.
The autumn sunset with that dark mood and soft backlight was offering extra inspiration for the drawing stage. The memory of that sunset scenery helped me to keep the drawn costumes of the characters dark enough. And like that magical sunset behind the autumn trees, in the same way I wanted the characters to have strong colors combined into their dark look. That way the two characters had their dark style drawn and their leaf dresses built.
I wanted to also emphasize the selected colors already in the drawing stage and that way distinguish the two characters from each other (picture below). That was done by coloring the two characters either with black and deep red (left character) - or instead with a combination of black, grey and strong orange (character on the right).
As a result the left character became more darker and the right one was having more orange style. In addition the orange character on the right was having in her dress also aspen leaves with strong yellow tones.
After drawing and building the dresses, I then started to finish that scenery of leaves for my halloween characters. Below are pictures of that world made of leaves. Also the layers of leaves are more visible in the pictures below.
Sometimes the autumn can take one into the world of fallen leaves.
Wishing you all great and magical Halloween!
Fairy of the autumn maple...
Please, let those maple leaves keep their colors for a while more ??
Fairy of the autumn maple tree had her dress created with layers of fallen autumn leaves. And creating this layered dress style was all about the different colored maple leaves...
And that´s why this creation started with a search for maple leaves. And what a colorful adventure it was! Starting from green tones to yellow ones. And on the way I wondered how marvellously the fall light played on those maple leaves.
And on my search I found so many fallen treasures under the maple trees....
And while my adventure continued, my path finally took me under that amazing multicolored maple tree. And that tree seemed to have all the stages of autumn in it.
And the most precious treasures of the adventure were those fallen red leaves. Those deep red leaves formed then also that bottom part of the fairy´s leaf dress, and that darkest red hem. And those same red and orange colors were then repeated in the top part of the character´s drawn costume.
The finished dress became multicolored like that maple tree, having all those autumn colors in it. Also the other colors of the drawn character and the upper part of her costume were adjusted to match the leaf dress. In the finishing drawn layers also the fairy´s eyes became vivid green.
Flaming fall colors are always inspiring. And this time the bright and colorful maple leaves brought also a bit of that autumn magic to this fairy´s dress.
Wishing colorful and creative autumn to you all!
In the middle of the autumn forest… she found shelter. ??
And when you are tiny enough, you might even fit under the amanita.
And in the picture below, there´s that moment just before the fairy flew into the autumn forest.
Wishing happy autumn moments to all blog readers!
When the escaped character had suddenly returned into my sketchbook…
I could only wonder was it all real - or just a midsummer night’s dream.
And those blooming wildflowers of the character´s floral dress... Could they remember all her midsummer adventures?
The midsummer themed floral dress in the picture above was created with fireweed flowers - and also with both white and red clovers.
And in addition also the upper part of the dress had some more flowers and leaves drawn into it, just in the same style than the ones in the character´s anadem. That way the added drawn flowers became also like a decoration to her dress.
The escaped character had so many dreams of her dress. Could this finished floral dress now describe that magical night under the midsummer sun - and even remind of those sweetest clover fields? All those adventures that the character had during the midsummer.
And because the escaped character had finally returned, maybe her wishes came true in her floral dress after all... Perhaps that dress could now enshrine all the memories of her midsummer adventures forever.
Under the midnight sun ?
I know she wanted to stay there...
But please, escaped character, come back into my sketchbook…
I would color you.
I would make the floral dress of your dreams for you.
Please, just return.
The escaped character was seen near the clover fields in the soft light of the midsummer night.
She was amazed by that light, but at the same time she stood so still that one could barely spot her there in the middle of the white clovers. The crown and leaves of the anadem, which she had colored herself, seemed to suit her disguise well too. Only her white dress was still like an empty canvas.
Then the midsummer night turned into an early morning. Those mesmerizing sunbeams were already welcoming the Midsummers Day. And suddenly shadows of the clovers were gently dancing on her white dress!
And she dreamed of a magical floral dress that could capture that white night… as well as those moments of the midsummer morning.
Which of the clover flowers do you think she preferred? Flowers of the white clover - or the red clover?
(You can leave your comment on Sandcastle.fi Instagram page).
And I wandered in the clover fields, where those sweetest clovers grow…
But I didn´t find her there anymore.
When you daydream way too long, and it seems like you would be almost procrastinating! And little by little the character is getting more frustrated…
And then during the midsummer night it happened! She messed up all those clovers – and escaped!
Or maybe she didn´t like my floral designs? I think she also must have used my colored pencils for coloring herself - and then she even tore herself away from the sketchbook!
Well, during the midsummer there can happen so many strange things...
But is there beauty in that chaos?
She left me contemplating a quote by Carl Jung,
"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order"
When she was just a sketch...
She dreamed of the midsummer night and those sweetest wildflowers. ?
When she escaped from the sketchbook during the midsummer night,
there was that magical light...
Happy Midsummer´s Eve!
Above is a close-up from the older Midsummer Eve illustration.
Midsummer Eve... That mythic lady you could meet only during the Midsummer´s Eve. And today she is here again!
Wishing you all midsummer miracles and happy moments!
First sunny summer days and hazel eyes...
Summer dress made of blooming buttercups and closed dandelions,
and suddenly those faded leaves are nothing but layers of memories.
This floral dress was made of blooming buttercups and closed dandelion flowers. Also decayed gray leaves as well as the fresh green leaves found their places in this illustration.
This floral dress was designed to have a same kind of style than the spring themed dress from the previous article. But this time the theme was instead early sunny summer with strong yellow color along with shades of green and brown.
Also this floral dress had faded leaves in it, bringing that extra sense of layering to this work. And this time the faded leaves were combined with blooming flowers and some vivid green leaves of the buttercups and dandelions.
This work was designed as a continuation to the spring themed floral dress, like it would be the next step after the spring. Just like in the Finnish nature, when the wood anemones and wood sorrels are fading and the spring turns into summer, but the dandelions and buttercups are then already starting to bloom.
It is always interesting to follow that magical cycle of the nature, and follow how the wildflowers have their different times to bloom. And it is also very fascinating, trying then to capture those brief moments and transform them into the floral dresses.
When I searched the wildflowers for this floral dress, the sunny day was changing already into early evening. The strong yellow color of the buttercups was beautiful in the evening light. And when I was picking up the last flowers for the dress, the dandelions were already starting to close up for the night. I wanted to add also a bit of the atmosphere from that moment to this illustration.
And for that reason in this floral dress the dandelion flowers are also closed and allow that way the buttercups to be more in the centre point. That was also a way to keep the amount of yellowness in balance, because the bright yellow of the buttercups was such a strong element in this work.
The closed dandelions were also having those nice darker color that are seen only when the dandelion flowers are closed. That particularly shade of color also matched with the faded gray and brownish leaves, and the same color was also repeated when I was coloring the character´s hair.
In those closed dandelion flowers there is also that a bit of striped look, like the yellow and dark brown would be playing together. I also aimed for that same striped look in the character´s hair. In addition the hair is also having very light highlights, like the parts would be sun lightened. Also the softer light brown tones were important when coloring and finishing the hair of the character.
In addition I designed this character to have a special colroed skin tone, not only pale like in the first sunny summer days… but already starting to have a bit of those golden tones from the sunlight. That was also a one way to emphasize that mood of first sunny summer days in this illustration. In the end also the other colors of the character were adjusted to match the floral dress.
This time the character was designed to have hazel eyes, following that warmer summer theme and at the same time matching also with the colors of the floral dress.
The aim was also to capture a bit of that mystery of hazel eyes… When one can´t really tell whether the eyes are brown, greenish brown or even a bit golden? In this drawing I was aiming to color the character´s eyes with that special tone that one might see when the summer sunlight reaches those hazel eyes.
And in the end the whole character with her floral dress was having that same impression than her hazel eyes… That burst of warm golden colors in middle of the greenish brown colors.
Wishing warm and sunny summer days to you all!
And through decayed leaves the spring arrived… ?
Farewell faded leaves and yesterday´s memories, because the wood anemones are already blooming!
With this floral dress I was trying to capture that moment when the spring finally arrives through last year´s faded leaves... The spring themed dress was created with layers of decayed leaves that were then combined with fresh blooming wood anemones and wood sorrel flowers. Those faded gray and brownish leaves gave that extra sense of layering to this floral dress.
Creating this floral dress took me into the Finnish forests and right into those moments when the spring wins. For this flower dress I picked up those very first nordic wildflowers of the spring. Especially the wood anemones are that special sign of the spring and upcoming summer. For this floral dress the beautiful white flowers of the wood anemones were important, but also the green leaves of the anemones were giving that sense of spring and powerful growth.
Another special choice for this spring themed dress were those fragile wood sorrel flowers.
There´s that enchanting moment in the Finnish forests, when the wood sorrel flowers are blooming for a short period of time before the another plants are taking over the forest. For that brief moment the forest treasures that beautiful carpet of wood sorrels.
And it feels every time so magical, searching for the first wood sorrel flowers and walking around in that fairy tale forest. Being surrounded of that spring light and witnessing how the nature wakes up.
And that change happens so suddenly... When the bilberry plants are starting to flourish and begin to winn the forest over with a different shade of green.
Those Finnish bilberry plants with that vibrant green color are so strongly reminding of that special spring moment, when there´s new beginnings everywhere. And for that reason I wanted to add also few of those bilberry plants and unripe bilberries to the spring themed floral dress.
So I searched for some bilberry braches from the fairy tale forest...
And on the way one more certain sign of the spring and summer was those Finnish mosquitoes... They sure were keeping my company in the forest... Telling (anxiously) of the secret places where the bilberries grow.
After picking from the forest all the right flowers and elements for the dress, the drawn character had then her spring dress built.
Below are few moments from the creative process.
Especially the unripe berries and beautiful green leaves gave a nice contrast to the floral dress, when they were combined with the white wood anemone and wood sorrel flowers (below).
Also the colors of the drawing were adjusted to match the floral dress. For example green eyes for the character was an obvious choice in this drawing. But also the character´s hair with green shading was designed to match with the green elements of the floral dress.
In color choices also the white highlights of the character´s hair along with that pale skin was styled to go together with the white flowers of the floral dress. Even the color of the character´s lips was chosen based on the color of those gentle pink stripes in the wood sorrel flowers.
One more small detail was to include a touch of yellow to this work. That was reminding of the first sunbeams of the spring, when the sunlight feels warm and promises already about the upcoming summer. Also in the center of both of the anemone flowers is seen that refreshing bright yellow. In the drawing I used few yellow color layers here and there to make those small touches of yellow to appear in the character.
Also that another special shade of color can be found in the fragile stem of the wood sorrel. That color mixture was an inspiration, especially for parts of the character´s hair color. Below in the pictures there´s few details where one can see also that more yellow toned green layering in the character´s hair and also the parts where the small stem was a color reference for drawing.
As a result the spring themed floral dress was built of all those small little pieces of spring.
This character with the spring themed floral dress stays now in that moment that otherwise goes by so fast. That special moment when the nature awakens after winter.
Wishing you all joyful moments and breezes of spring!
In the picture above there´s a selection of vintage drawings from the past years. And this time I wanted to write a bit more about the realism in these drawings.
The works from the first to the fourth are in ascending order according to the amount of layers and the level of realism (picture below). Therefore the first drawing, number one, is the smallest drawing with only few pencil and colored pencil layers. The amount of drawn layers and the size of drawing then increases towards the number two and three - and as a result the number four is the most realistic and largest of the drawings, and has also most of layers and shading in it.
One can explore the differences, but also the similarities of the selected drawings. The number one and four for example are both once designed to be also portraits.
Because the works number one and four (picture below) were initially created to be portraits, the drawings have unique proportions and likeness in their features. It is also interesting that the likeness is possible to achieve with such different styles. The number one for example was created with more modern beauty illustration style, when instead the number four has more traditional portrait style with orchid and vintage theme.
In addition the drawing number one called “Wearing Roses” is more like a sketchy portrait, but it can also be seen as a fashion or beauty illustration. It is also created with fewest layers and less shading compared to the other drawings. It is also an example of a drawing in a smaller size, because the size of the original is about 12cm x 17cm (approx.5x7inch). You can see the small size more obviously when the work is compared to the real roses in pictures below.
Overall this particular drawing was a fascinating task, because the aim was to draw a very small and sketchy portrait into the style of fashion and beauty illustration. As a result the number one can then be categorized as a beauty illustration themed portrait. In these kind of sketchy and light drawings, the facial features can still be drawn so that they are having also the likeness, in case they have been commissioned to be a portrait.
It is interesting how the likeness is achievable only with few lines and plainer style - or with reduced shading.
On the other hand one can also compare the pictures number one and three (picture below), and see how adding layers and shading is effecting the style and atmosphere of the drawing - and also explore how much the style changes from sketchy illustration towards more realistic approach. Also in the drawing number three, the real hydrangea flowers are completing the drawing and bringing a whole new level to the work.
Usually it has been the purpose of the work that has defined the level of the realism of the drawing - whether it has been about creating a portrait or instead an illustration - or even both at the same time.
Some of the drawings have been about exploring the fading boundaries between realism and illustration. And sometimes the differences have been quite subtle. It´s also fascinating how small changes can have such an impact when aiming either realistic or more illustrative style.
When looking at the selected works in the collection, for example the work number two has more stylized approach in the features (picture below). The drawing number two called "Yesterday´s Flower" was created for illustration purposes and is aiming for a bit more stylized character - with imaginery features. Although this theme would also been possible to draw with a likeness if needed, for example if it were commissioned to be a portrait.
The level of realism in the drawings has always fascinated me. And I have enjoyed to play with different styles - whether it has been fashion or beauty illustration, more playful character design or even a highly detailed realistic drawing or portrait. And above all aiming for certain level of realism in the drawings has been exciting!
And creating different themes has also been giving a lot of inspiration to drawing, especially the vintage and flower themes with reduced colors. Adding that extra theme to the portrait has also given new ways, how to draw that traditional portrait a bit differently.
I have also listed below the links to the previous blog articles, where there´s more information about these spesific drawings and the creative process behind them.
One, two, three flowers of hydrangea…
And look, suddenly there´s a path to yesterday!
Could one even time travel through that flower path... and then meet the Queen of yesterday?
The work called “Yesterday´s Queen” was created many years ago. This drawing was designed to have vintage style that resembles a bit of those old recolored vintage photos from the past. This work became also a combination of both vintage style and flower theme.
In addition this drawing also had a bit of mythology twist in it. And what an inspiring subject it was! Trying to imagine that Queen of Yesterday when drawing...
This drawing was created with pencils and selected colored pencils like the orchid themed vintage drawing from the previous article (mystic glow of the orchids). Also this drawing is presenting grayscale facial features with colored flowers.
It is always so exciting to see what the partial coloring does to the drawing! The balance between grayscale and color is a great way to affect the atmosphere of the drawing and emphasize certain elements. In this case especially the flowers and the crown were really highlighted by coloring only them in the drawing.
After the drawing was completed, I added some real hydrangea flowers on top of the drawing. That gave then a complete new dimension to this work!
I also wanted this vintage drawing to have light blue color combined with the gray, and hydrangea flowers were then selected to complete this drawing. Not only the hydrangea flowers are blue, but they are also associating strongly with flowering - and that way they are also reminding of those past blooming moments that will become vintage memories.
At the same time the hand drawn flowers in this drawing had a bit different style compared to for example the previous orchid themed drawing. In this work I was aiming instead more for the look of a bit artificial or "fake" flowers. Like the ones one could see in some of the old vintage photos. I wanted the Yesterday´s Queen to have few of those fake flowers that are a bit "unreal" and ageless, so that they would also symbolize the time that seems to have stopped. In some old vintage photos there´s that mystic atmosphere, like looking into the yesterday - and in the same time not being so sure if the flowers in the picture are real or fake.
For that reason the flowers were also left quite more plain comparing for example to the orchid themed drawing. In the detail pictures below that more rough and almost a bit imaginery style is seen in the approach, for example in the lines and shapes of the flowers.
Following that same mentioned rough style I have also drawn few of imaginery decayed leaves into the drawing that are left gray and uncolored... Those yesterday´s decayed leaves were a little detail and addition into the drawing, telling story of those already faded yesterday´s flowers. They are almost like a hidden message from the past. And in this case that´s also a message from the year 2012 when I created this vintage drawing.
Also the yellow and bit darkened golden crown was a symbolic addition to the drawing. Below in the picture there´s detail where one can see the hand drawn crown, parts of those drawn "fake" flowers and gray decayed leaves - as well as those fresh real hydranges flowers on top of the drawing.
Creating this work was like building a collage. And in those moments, when all the elements are finally coming together, it feels like the real and unreal could merge!
Remembering this work today with you was like walking that path of hydrangea flowers...
And that fragile path of flowers was taking me there again. In to the yesterday.
Wishing you all a wonderful and inspiring moments that some day just might be, your most precious vintage memories.
Happy Valentine´s Day to Sandcastle.fi blog readers ❤️
Here´s rose dresses for Valentine´s Day 2018… Which one is your favourite, left or right?
Some days are just fulfilled with rosy thoughts… and again this year the Valentine´s Day became a day of roses.
To this Valentine´s Day illustration I designed the two characters and their dresses with traditional Valentine´s Day colors and completed the dresses with real roses. This year I chose four different colored roses for the dresses including both warm and cooler colors.
Creating the rose dresses was almost like entering the rosy fairy tale world of the characters...
The character on left had her dress completed with deep red roses and lighter roses with shades of orange. The dress of the another character on the right was created with roses that had more cooler shades of pink and purple. I designed the dresses to have a bit of extra sense of layering when combining the different colored roses together.
The dresses were this time designed to have longer lace sleeves. The embroidery of the dresses was also hand drawn and the sparkling style started to remind a bit of the details of figure skating dresses... Maybe the ongoing Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang gave that extra twist also to the Valentine´s Day dresses 2018.
I designed the character on the left with the deep red roses to have also darker hair with deep red highlights on the hair ends. That way also the hair is almost like having a bit of balayage effect. Also the top of the dress was colored with deep red color layers.
In the same time the lighter and a bit orange roses of the dress were lighting up the whole character. And a small detail was to add also that same brighter orange tone from the colored pencil as a makeup to the character´s eyelids.
And in the middle of all those roses, one can suddenly become aware of that one unique rose.
Like in the moment captured in picture below, when the lighter and a bit orange colored rose draws the attention and brightens the whole character - and the studio too.
The bright pink roses of the dress were lighting up the whole dress also in the design of the another character on the right. In this case the top of the dress was colored with cool pink and purple color layers to match the rose dress.
I designed this another character on the right to have blond hair with pink highlights. Also this character is having a bit of balayage effect on the hair ends, but in this case it is created with pink color. Some of the petals of the pink roses were also having that nice soft color that gave a lot of inspiration to the color choices and gave that soft tone also to the character´s hair. Those same colors could also be seen in the subtle changes of character´s skin color. The eyes and eye “makeup” for this character were colored with light blue tones that were amplifying the cooler tones of the character and the dress.
The both characters were having their own style and look. But in the end it was also important to keep the both characters similar enough when presented together in the same illustration. Again it was all about unifying the characters but also to join the cool and warm roses into a one rosy story.
Finally the illustration was completed with the surrounding roses, petals and rose leaves.
Wishing a wonderful and rosy Valentine´s Day to all blog readers! ?❤️
Happy New Year 2018!
Wishing you joy, positive energy and creative moments ❤️✨
One year. Just a chain of days...
Like a fragile path made of flower petals.
And just like orange fireworks on that path... a New Year´s Eve dress!
For the New Year´s floral dress I wanted to create something colorful. This time the dress was made of carnations. The mixture of orange and yellow colors in the petals was giving energy to the whole illustration. The colorful play reminded me of the fireworks and all those joyful New Year´s celebrations.
I wanted to give a bit more contrast to the illustration and added some blue-green layers to the drawing with the colored pencils. As a result the character has turquoise color on her orange dress - and turquoise on the eyelids too. I chose those more blue-green shades as a special color effect to this drawing, although the exact complementary color for orange is primary blue.
In the drawing there is also green shades on character´s dress. The layers of green in the drawing were matching with those green parts of the carnations and that was also helping to unify the character with the floral dress.
Orange carnations gave that boost of energy into the start of the year 2018 and colored the first days of the New year.
The start of the New Year is also a perfect time to thank you all for reading Sandcastle´s blog...
A big thank you! And a special thank you also for all the likes, comments and support in the social media.
Happy New Year 2018!
Let´s be creative!
? Ode to the Finnish forests ?
Every season you can walk into the fairytale storybook - and maybe even see some fairies...
I have had so many adventures in the magical Finnish forests. And in those forests I have been inspired every time... Inspired by the incredible nature and animals - and of course about the forest myths and mythology.
And several years ago, mesmerized by the magical midsummer in Finland, the Dryad (below) was created. That forest maiden iIllustration, which was then completed with Finnish wildflowers.
Could those sweetest summer memories bloom forever?
Thank you Finland for the great forests and for the wonderful wildflowers - and for all the inspiration.
Today Finland celebrates 100 years of independence!
What would the Maiden of Finland wear for the most important celebration?
Definitely something blue and something white for the Independence Day celebrations.
Which flowers would she choose for the most beautiful dress?
Maybe some chrysanthemums?
And there she was, almost ready for the celebrations...
Finnish Maiden… that fascinating symbol and the national personification of Finland.
The Maiden of Finland can also refer to the shape of Finland on the map. And for that reason I designed my character´s outlines to follow precisely that shape on the map. As a result my maiden became a combination of the one I see on the map - and of the one I see in my imagination.
You will find more info about the story behind the symbol for example in here:
The dress was completed with real flowers - this time with seasonal cut flowers.
Festive flowers in the floral dress was also a way to emphasize that sense of Independence Day celebrations. During the celebrations one might see beautiful flower arrangements everywhere, but also in the flower shops around the country all those blue and white flowers are creating that extra magical atmosphere.
In the illustration the Maiden tries to fit that smaller flower together with her dress. Maybe she is longing to put that final touch to her outfit just before the great celebration starts?
On the Finland´s 100 year celebration even the most beautiful dresses don´t feel fabulous enough. Almost like that final touch would always ask to be completed a bit more. For me that incompleteness represents the whole process of illustration - and that endless series of those final touches when building a drawing or illustration.
But on the Independence Day that incompleteness expresses also the stream of life itself. This constantly changing world and open story we live in. But above anything, it represents the future - and the continuation of the Finnish Maiden´s story.
And today on Finland's Independence Day, there´s also silence near the great words:
independence, freedom and gratefulness…
When the words are not enough.
Thank you Finland.
Only she knew where the wild strawberries grew….
Cherishing the last wild strawberry flowers of the passing summer. Could those flowers bloom forever on her hat...?
The character´s clothing was a combination of Victorian style and a fairy tale atmosphere. The illustration was completed with Finnish wild strawberry flowers and the floral dress was created with strawberry leaves. Some of the leaves were vivid green and some instead in deep red autumn colors.
There´s always magical things to explore in the nature. When collecting the material to this floral dress design, the wild strawberry flowers were still blooming - and even fragile new berries were trying to resist the autumn. There were green leaves, but at the same time red and rusty autumn colors were already slowly winning over. Beginnings and endings, or just circles?
But what can you do when the autumn leaves are fading away? Before the deep reds turn into rusty colors, collect memories. Place the most beautiful leaves between the pages of your favorite book and treasure your sweetest memories.
Or then you could just dance with those autumn leaves. Just like she did, in her tiny Victorian boots...
But where were then all the wild strawberries? Well, she must have eaten them all... After all she might be the only one who knew where those wild strawberries grew.
Happy and creative autumn moments to you all!
When you just want to stay in your Victorian dreams…
Quick sketch of Victorian dress. The dreamy pink colors were created with colored pencils.
Finnish wildflowers were again giving a lot of inspiration.
Those last wildflowers of the passing summer - and a sketchbook that will hold all the summer secrets...
Collection of mythical floral dress designs with Finnish wildflowers. Midsummer Dryad, Naiad, Eve or Love Spell... which one is your favourite? 1,2,3 or 4? Join the discussion on social media and comment your favorite... or just stop by and make an adventure into the world of Finnish wildflowers.
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Today the fourth mystic maiden is joining the Midsummer Eve celebrations…
She is whispering midsummer love spells. Those ancient magic words.
It is the Midsummer again.
Pink dreams, heart-shaped clouds.
Secrets of the midnight sun and the magic of the wildflowers
- Hmm, maybe also a touch of purple…?
But could that Midsummer spell, indeed,
even make those centaurea flowers to bloom?
Magical Midsummer Eve to you all <3
Above is the sketch of the Finnish "Midsummer Love Spell". This illustration was once designed together with the Midsummer Dryad, Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Naiad. Can you still remember those mythic characters from the previous blog posts? Together they are creating a series of mythic midsummer illustrations.
All these illustrations were inspired by the Finnish midsummer mythology and mythical creatures from the Finnish folklore. And of course the amazing Finnish nature, wildflowers and midsummer magic were giving me a lot of inspiration on the way.
For the fourth “Midsummer Love spell” character especially the pink, magenta and purple colors helped to create a unique theme. And also for this illustration I collected the wonderful Finnish wildflowers to match the selected theme colors. Stunning pink and magenta colors were guiding the way when searching the right flowers for the floral dress. Especially the red campion just had that right mood for the midsummer love spell theme...
Red campion flowers were a lovely source of inspiration when creating this illustration with the midsummer love spell theme.
And how magical, suddenly everywhere seemed to be heart-shaped reminders of the romantic theme.
In this illustration I wanted to emphasize the mystic sense of the midsummer and love spells. For that reason the chosen flowers for this illustration were red campion, red clover and fireweed. The selected wildflowers had romantic pink tones, but especially the purple hues gave that needed strength, saturation and mystic sense to the illustration.
The flowers of the fireweed even looked like small magical spells themselves...
There is something mystic in the Nordic white night. Being surrounded of that magical glow is like experiencing the fairy-tail dream world, but fully awake. In this illustration that dreamy and magical midsummer glow influenced again the color choices. I emphasized the cooler pink shades in characters skin color. And also the white color in the highlights was a way to describe that magical moment in Finland when night and day is merging together during the Midsummer Eve and the night is white.
In this illustration the aim was to combine that sense of Nordic white night, the pink romantic nuance and on the other hand the strong and colorful vision of the Midsummer love spells.
Those purple colors in the wildflowers emphasized the theme of Midsummer love spells. The color balance was adjusted with some violet tones from the Centaurea flowers (knapweed).
And how the Centaurea flowers were already blooming right during the summer solstice...? Well, that must be midsummer magic! The myths and stories about a spell that could make the flowers grow faster also gave an extra twist to this midsummer love spell themed illustration.
When creating the illustration the green leaves of the red clover were reminding of the growth and midsummer verdancy, and eventually helped to unite all the ideas into a one blooming floral dress.
Overall wildflowers have a fascinating role especially in Finnish Midsummer celebrations. The traditions of Midsummer Eve go way back to olden times. Old beliefs have included traditions of midsummer spells, like for example collecting different wildflowers and placing them under a pillow for a night. Those wildflowers had then a special meaning and for example consequences to dreams.
If you want to read more about the midsummer love spells, check out the Visit Finland link below to the fascinating article and the beautiful video that tells more about different love spells from Finnish folklore. And of course the amazing site is visual experience for everyone interested of Finland.
So, what does it mean to collect those different Finnish wildflowers – or roll in dew…?
Happy Valentine´s Day to Sandcastle.fi blog readers <3
Here´s rose dresses for Valentine´s Day… Which one is your favourite?
Some days are just fulfilled with rosy thoughts… And creating this illustration meant diving into the reality made of roses.
Even the rose petals can tell stories.
To this illustration I designed the two characters and their dresses with very traditional Valentine´s Day colors and styles. Pink and red roses and rose petals were giving just that right atmosphere to the illustration.
The dress made out of pink roses... Valentine´s Day just like a fairytale.
The character with the pink dress had final touches to her style with a twist of fresh green. That small touch of fresh lime green gave that extra twist into the colors of the character. That same green can be seen in some of the petals of the pink roses. But I also emphasized those same lime green shades when drawing especially the eyes of the character.
As a result in the picture below you can see that lime green shade from the rose petals matching with the greenish colors in the eyes of the character.
The character with the red dress had a different style with strong red colors combined with the brown and warmer orange shades in the drawing. The dress was completed with deep red roses.
The both characters were having their own style and look. But in the end it was also important to keep the both characters similar enough when presented together in the same illustration. And this time it was all about unifying the characters but also the pink and red roses.
Finally the illustration was completed with the surrounding roses, petals and rose leaves.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Valentine´s Day <3
Today she is having wildflowers in her hair. And the golden crown is just like the midnight sun.
She is wandering through the meadow and suddenly all the wildflowers are blooming on her dress.
That mystic sense of midsummer, all those voices like ancient spells.
Is this real - or just a midsummer night’s unbelievable dream?
On the sky there are dreams written in pink shades.
Light blue stays awake when the bonfires light up the sky.
Mesmerizing flames are celebrating the Midsummer Eve
- and warm flaming colors are merging with the cool shades of the nature.
That mystic dance captures all those midsummer colors in one moment.
Tonight there is no darkness, only white night.
Joy of existence... It is Midsummer´s Eve.
And just right before the dawn the Nordic night is pure and white.
Tomorrow the day will be already shorter and slowly all those vivid colors
will turn into yesterday´s memories.
But the sun stays in the sky… Was it real?
Magical Midsummer Eve to you all <3
Above is the Finnish "Midsummer Eve". She was once designed together with the Midsummer Dryad and Naiad, the two characters from previous post. Stronger colors of yellow and magenta created unique flaming theme for this third character. Together the Midsummer Eve, the Dryad and the Naiad are creating a series of mythic midsummer illustrations.
All these illustrations were inspired by the Finnish midsummer mythology and mythical creatures from the Finnish folklore. And of course again the amazing Finnish nature, wildflowers and midsummer magic were giving me a lot of inspiration on the way.
For this Midsummer Eve illustration I collected wildflowers that were blooming in Finland right during the Midnight sun. Midnight sun is celebrated on the weekend after 19th june and the Midsummer Eve is called “juhannusaatto” in Finnish.
In Midsummer Eve the bonfires are lit up to celebrate the midsummer. Midsummer bonfire is called “juhannuskokko” in Finnish. I designed this third fairy-tail styled character to have a more flaming appearance resembling that way also those bonfires in Finland during the Midsummer Eve celebrations.
Bonfires are very common in the Midsummer Eve celebrations and the bonfires are usually burned at lakesides and by the sea. For that reason there´s also hints of light blue in the illustration, bringing that Finnish Lakeland feeling next to the burning vivid colors.
Close to midnight on Midsummer Eve the bonfires are ceremoniously lit all over Finland...
And that magical dance of the flames in the bonfire is mesmerizing…
Also in the drawing the strong yellows and orange colors emphasize that atmosphere near the midsummer bonfires. For that same reason I also chose wildflowers in vivid colors of yellow and magenta when completing the floral dress. The magenta color from fireweed and red campion (silene dioica) was also a way to unite the magenta colored wildflowers to the drawing character´s lighter pink skin tones. Those pink shades also describe the midsummer sunsets and midsummer evenings in Finland.
In this illustration I wanted to capture all the flaming and vivid colors of the Midsummer Eve… but at the same time so that they would be in a harmony with the more subtle and cooler colors from the Finnish nature and Lakeland. As a result the illustration became a celebration for the Finnish Midsummer Eve.
There is something mystic in the Nordic white night. Being surrounded of that magical glow is like experiencing the fairy-tail dream world, but fully awake. In this third midsummer illustration that dreamy and magical midsummer glow influenced also the color choices. The white added to the otherwise strong warm colors was a way to describe that magical moment in Finland when night and day is merging during the Midsummer Eve… That enchanted moment when the night is white. Therefore also in the drawing there is that pure white in the center and in the highlights. Just like the Nordic white night would give that finishing touch to the entire illustration.
Midsummer decorations are a way to celebrate the beginning of the summer. An old tradition during Midsummer is also to decorate houses and doorways with young birch trees and flowers. That old belief also found a way to the illustration, not only through all the wildflowers in the flower dress, but also when some birch leaves were added to the floral dress design. The birch leaves in the bottom of the character´s floral dress brought that extra Finnish twist into this illustration.
Also the nature revealed few amazing miracles when creating this dress. Below is one detail of a small miracle during the creative process. Nature is a great artist - and we are surrounded of all those miracles and artworks. Even when the small Finnish birch leaf couldn´t decide whether to grow separately - or stay united, the result is simply beautiful…
Over time those leaves grown together became also a symbol of these midsummer illustrations. A serie of illustrations, that eventually grows from individual pieces into one story.
Old traditions about birch leaves and midsummer decorations were added to this illustration also in the form of the miniature green leaves and flowers drawn to the character´s hair. The impression of flowers in the hair reminds of all those verdant and flower-rich Midsummer Eve decorations.
Overall wildflowers have a fascinating role especially in Finnish Midsummer celebrations. The traditions of Midsummer Eve go way back to olden times. Old beliefs have included traditions of midsummer spells, like for example collecting different wildflowers and placing them under a pillow for a night. Those wildflowers had then a special meaning and for example consequences to dreams.
If you want to read more about the midsummer love spells, check out the link below to the fascinating article and video that tells more about different love spells from Finnish folklore. And of course the amazing site is visual experience for everyone interested of Finland.
So, what does it mean to collect those different Finnish wildflowers – or even roll in dew…?
A path through the forest is leading to the forgotten pond.
Wildflowers are guardians of the secret way.
Myosotis, tufted vetch, wood cranesbill… Shades of blue and purple.
All the bluish flowers are whispering that in the midsummer night
you might see the Naiad near the pond – or even in the stream whirls of the forest creek.
But what if the Naiad is just a reflection on the water?
A mirage in the midsummer´s night, dancing with the water sparkles... and then diving just before the dawn.
Or could you see that water spirit on a serene lake in a magical land of a thousand lakes?
And would you then follow her steps through the Nordic white night
into the mist of a midsummer morning?
During the midnight sun everything is possible, and the Naiad has been here too…
The Midsummer Naiad (above) was once designed as a sister to the Midsummer Dryad (below). Do you still remember her from last year´s midsummer article?
Initially these mythic fairy-tale styled characters were inspired by the Finnish midsummer mythology and
mythical creatures from the Finnish folklore. Visions of the Finnish Midsummer Dryad and Naiad started then to develop in my sketchbook, based on the old myths and transforming into new ideas and illustrations.
Over the years the beauty of the pure nature in Finland has been a great source of inspiration for my illustrations. In these midsummer illustrations the Finnish nature, lakes and wildflowers played again an important role.
First I drew the fairy-tale styled characters and then I created the flower dresses by completing them with real Finnish wildflowers. I chose wildflowers that were blooming in Finland right in the summer solstice. The Midsummer Dryad and Naiad had then their unique blooming floral dresses designed into the forest and water themes. Together the shades of blue and green tell a story of the enchanting Midsummer in Finland.
I collected particularly bluish wildflowers when completing the floral dress for the Midsummer Naiad. Tufted vetch became like waves on her dress, and myosotis were giving the fresh light blue touch to the entire flower dress. I wanted to emphasize fresh blues also in the drawing and describe that way the pure clean waters in Finland. Cool shades of blue along with the white reminding of the sky and lakes – was a way to add also the Finnish Lakeland twist to the traditional water nymph theme. The hints of green and purple helped to make the entire illustration more diverse, but at the same time those colors also illustrate the reflections on a serene lake and midsummernight´s shadows. Especially the strong purple from the wood cranesbill created that mystic sense of magical midsummer to the blue dress of the Naiad.
It is interesting to ponder how mental images and ideas are forming. Sometimes it is all about certain feeling or memory, a view that was once forgotten, inspiring color, music - or even a voice. In this case the Finnish language and certain words had just the right magical atmosphere when designing these midsummer illustrations. Some Finnish words seem to create visions by themselves.
I know many of you are reading this in English and usually also my illustrations are named only in English. But in this case some of the words in Finnish just have that mythic poetry in them… Like for example the Finnish word “vedenneito” that can be translated as a water nymph or naiad, although the Finnish mythology shapes that concept uniquely. The word “vesi” means water and “neito” translates as a maiden.
The entire Finnish word “vedenneito” by itself sounds already like a calmly flowing stream in a forest creek, where syllables are like a chain of small bridges over the water. You can almost see that mythical water spirit while listening to that softly flowing word “vedenneito” in Finnish. Some words are like music, like mythic whispers... Maybe those same ancient stories that gentle lapping waves are telling on a lake in midsummer evenings.
The official translation for naiad in Finnish is “aallotar” and that word also waves like water. The word “aalto” itself translates as a wave. Based on that flowing Finnish word also my Midsummer Naiad eventually had waves on her hair. As a result elements from several mythic words were that way united in one illustration.
If you want to listen how the Finnish words are pronounced, you will find them below linked to Forvo. As a largest online pronunciation dictionary in the world Forvo is a treasure to all you interested in different languages. Those of you who work or travel abroad – or study new language, may find the site useful. And of course Forvo inspires all you, who just want to cherish and enjoy the beauty of your own native language.
The Finnish mythic words pronounced in Forvo:
(words below are opening in a new window, in Forvo press the blue play button for listening)
Vedenneito (water nymph, naiad)
Illustration can be a very complex process that can include many different views – from myths to words. Even certain voice or pronunciation can shape visions and create new ideas. At best the illustrator can be completely engrossed in that creative process, falling into the world of concepts and ideas. And the Finnish mythic midsummer is a very inspiring subject to illustrate.
Midsummer in Finland is made of old mythic traditions, tranquil lakes, beautiful wildflowers - and unforgettable moments. But above all, it is the magical outcome of our own personal visions and experiences… We can all create magic.
I wish magical midsummer moments and miracles to all Sandcastle.fi blog readers!
Wishing to see the summer fairy again and while waiting... here´s picture of the summer fairy from several years ago. Yellow wildflowers were like mini suns, memories that are still radiating warm light.
The first sunbeams of the spring are already playing on her dress….
Happy Valentine´s Day to you all <3
Today the sketchbook is filled with roses and Valentine´s Day thoughts.
It´s raining roses...
And below one more work in progress picture from the creative process. After adding more colors the drawing is finished - and the rose dress is blooming.
I wish you all a Happy Valentine´s day and wonderful moments <3
Today flowers are dancing on her dress.
Even carnations are following the rhythm.
Is there hope in the flower rain...?
Happy Halloween to all you readers!
Halloween mood and heart-shaped pumpkin.
Below detail from the drawing.
On a sunny summer day
lady with the wistful eyes…
Dress made of wildflowers
blooming only in this passing moment.
But the memory will last forever.
And here´s the lady introducing her flower dress. A detail from the drawing, where the miniature features can again be compared to the size of the colored pencils.
I´m enchanted by the magical midsummer in Finland.
Trying to capture those fleeting moments when miracles can happen.
Was it a dryad...? Midnight sun even decorated her dress with the wildflowers.
Magical Midsummer Eve to all you readers!
May the midnight sun bring you light and joy <3
It´s June and wildflowers are blooming again in Finland.
Magical Midsummer Eve to all of you! May the midnight sun bring you light and joy <3 Spending the fairy-tale Midsummer in Finland… and collecting all the summer colors to my sketchbook as a memory.
And below close-ups from the fairy drawing (straight from the sketchbook).