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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.

Golden heart

Happy Valentine┬┤s Day! ­čĺŚ

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 goldÔÇŽ?

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 thenÔÇŽ? 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! ­čží

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

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 newÔÇŽ 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 headÔÇŽ 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 ÔŁĄ´ŞĆ

Awakened for the Halloween!

She awakened for the Halloween! ­čÄâ

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 styleÔÇŽ 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 partyÔÇŽ?

Wishing magical and happy Halloween to you all!

Choosing boots

Which one is your favorite, romantic or more dramatic style? 1or 2?
(You can leave a comment on Sandcastle.fi Instagram or on Facebook pages)

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

Wearing the heather flowers. Welcome autumn! ­čĺÜ­čĺť

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!

Blooming dress under the midnight sun

On the Midsummer's Eve she walked along the lake shore in Finland. And during that nightless night, under the midnight sun, her dress was made of blooming wildflowers ­čî╝

This floral dress above was designed for the Midsummer┬┤s Eve and was especially inspired by the magical colors and moments under the midnight sun.

The floral trail of the blooming dress was designed to resemble a path along the Finnish lake shore. A path, where white wildflowers shine like the white night and where those purple blue flowers of the tufted vetch resemble the mystic lake that the midnight sun has colored with purple blue tones. Below is a close up from that blooming trail of the floral dress.

Under the midnight sun I was fascinated by that beautiful light purple color of the lake and therefore also the shadow colors of the drawn character were designed to embrace that same magical color.

The character was designed to have a traditional midsummer style and the drawn upper part of the dress was then also completed with small flowers as a decoration. A special detail was to find also light purple wildflowers for those small flower decorations in the upper part of the character. In this case the heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) was a perfect color match to the magical light purple lake as well as to the violet shadow colors of the character.

The small and delicate flowers of the heath speedwell were like a hidden treasure waiting to be found under the other midsummer flowers and plants.

In the creative process those small flowers were then magical... Below you can also see the flowers compared to the size of a colored pencil. Fitting those small flowers together into the character┬┤s decorations seemed like building a miniature flower arrangement.

For the small flower decorations in the upper part of the design I also used a few of those light blue flowers of myosotis. The clear light blue colored flowers were matching nicely with the character┬┤s eye color. And as a result her eyes were then celebrating the midsummer night┬┤s tones - eyes more like the light blue flowers of myosotis and shadow colors of the eyelids based on heath speedwell like that light purple lake.

During the Midsummer┬┤s Eve there┬┤s that magical moment under the midnight sun, when the sunrays highlight the white night with orange tones. That is why this floral dress design required also those stronger orange and yellow touches to lighten up the whole character and floral design. For that reason the floral dress has yellow flowers of the meadow vetchling and buttercup included in it.

In addition also in the drawn character those yellow and orange colored layers are reminding those warm rays of the midnight sun. In the detail pictures the orange sketchy lines as well as the warm tones in the character┬┤s facial area can be seen more clearly.

During the Midsummer┬┤s Eve enchanting things can happen. Under the midnight sun the colors may have magical tones, and even the lake seem to be light purple.

Wishing magical midsummer moments to you all!

Surrounded by tulips

Surrounded by tulips... and waiting for the spring! ­čĺť­čĺÜ

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.

­čĺť Wishing happy spring moments to you all! ­čĺÜ

New Year┬┤s dress 2019

Happy New Year dear blog readers! ­čÄë­čĺÖ

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...­čĺÖ

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

Last days before the snow.
A glimpse of green in the dark... That last longing for the verdancy ­čĺÜ

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 eyesÔÇŽ 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!

Halloween dresses

Halloween dresses ­čÄâ

Which one is your favorite ? Left or right?
(You can leave a comment on Instagram or on Facebook)

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.

The orange character had also a bit sketchy style in the sleeves of the dress and in her hair. Those sketchy drawn lines are more visible in the picture below. In the detail picture one can also see more clearly the green eyes of the character. That added green tone was a nice small addition into to the otherwise orange look of the character.
On the other hand the character on the left had her dress built of the darker deep red leaves. Some of the leaves also had those interesting brown tones and gray faded areas that were blending well in the halloween theme.
In addition the more vivid deep red tones of the leaves were repeated on the character┬┤s hair and in the bowtie, but also in the other little details of the upper part of the dress as well as in her lips. In the detail picture below one can see the mentioned details but also spot her brown eyes.

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!

First sunny summer days - and hazel eyes

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 daysÔÇŽ 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 eyesÔÇŽ 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 eyesÔÇŽ  That burst of warm golden colors in middle of the greenish brown colors.

Wishing warm and sunny summer days to you all!

Vintage portrait or illustration - or both?

Below is a selection of older vintage and flower themed drawings.
Which one is your favorite? 1,2,3 or 4?
(You can leave a comment on Instagram or on Facebook)

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 ÔÇťWearing RosesÔÇŁ 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.

Rose dresses for Valentine┬┤s Day 2018

Happy Valentine┬┤s Day to Sandcastle.fi blog readers ÔŁĄ´ŞĆ

Here┬┤s rose dresses for Valentine┬┤s Day 2018ÔÇŽ  Which one is your favourite, left or right?

Some days are just fulfilled with rosy thoughtsÔÇŽ 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 ÔÇťmakeupÔÇŁ 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! ­čî╣ÔŁĄ´ŞĆ

 

 

New Year┬┤s Eve dress 2018

Happy New Year 2018!
Wishing you joy, positive energy and creative moments ÔŁĄ´ŞĆÔťĘ

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!

Maiden of Finland and the dress for the Finland 100 - celebrations

­čĺÖ Today Finland celebrates 100 years of independence ­čĺÖ

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 MaidenÔÇŽ 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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Maiden

The drawing was created with gentle color layers, where the shades of blue and white were playing together.

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.

Because the Maiden┬┤s chrysanthemum dress was such a strong element, I wanted to add something to balance also the top of the dress.

For that reason the smaller blue flower found its place on the top. That flower in the illustration is blooming right in the area of the Pallas-Yll├Ąstunturi National Park. For that reason the small flower was also a special way to emphasize and honour the Finnish unique nature - and the amazing national parks of Finland. And today when Finland celebrates 100 years of independence, the pure and beautiful nature feels so precious.
It┬┤s always nice to share information about inspiring places and below are links and more info of those beautiful places in Lapland. Those places, where that small blue flower blooms in the illustration. Especially now in December those places are extra magical.

The small flower is blooming in the illustration in the area of the Pallas-Yll├Ąstunturi National Park:
http://www.nationalparks.fi/en/pallas-yllastunturinp

And in the region of Levi:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi,_Finland
http://www.levi.fi/en

And also in the Pulju wilderness area:
http://www.nationalparks.fi/en/pulju

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 gratefulnessÔÇŽ

When the words are not enough.
Thank you Finland.

Where the wild strawberries grew


Only she knew where the wild strawberries grewÔÇŽ.


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!
 

Victorian dreams


When you just want to stay in your Victorian dreamsÔÇŽ

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...

Mythical floral dress designs with Finnish wildflowers

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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Rose dresses for Valentine┬┤s Day


Happy Valentine┬┤s Day to Sandcastle.fi blog readers <3

Here┬┤s rose dresses for Valentine┬┤s DayÔÇŽ  Which one is your favourite?

Some days are just fulfilled with rosy thoughtsÔÇŽ 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

 

It┬┤s raining roses on Valentine┬┤s Day!

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

Something old, something new... or maybe after all something surreal?

In the beginning of the New Year it┬┤s nice to look back by sorting out old images and files. And after doing that I can now share with you also some pictures of the old drawings from the past years. So, let┬┤s start with this fairy tale themed fantasy portrait of a cat.

Into this portrait the aim was to combine a fairy tale feeling and illustrative approach with a bit (pop) surreal twist.  As a result this drawing could then be seen as a fantasy portrait of a cat or as a fairy tale illustration - or both.

It was interesting to explore the fading boundary between portrait and illustration. Playing with the style and level of realism is always extremely fascinating! In this case the drawing process was like a journey to fantasy and flower world.  Being surrounded by flowers you can easily get carried away and even lose the sense of time.

The composition to this portrait was designed to be very symmetrical. Along with the symmetry it was important to keep all the elements in balance, and therefore for example all the flowers were drawn as unique variations.  The symmetrical approach was also an effective way to emphasize the stillness, but also highlight the illustrated viewpoint. The imaginary posture of the cat along with a bit styled whiskers were also leading the way to more fairy tale feeling. The fantasy theme with flowers had also a special meaning referring to the portrayed cat. And by drawing a layer after layer all those stories from this cat were captured too. Almost like this one portrait could tell the whole fairy tale story.

I wanted this drawing also to resemble the style of the old portrait paintings with vivid colors, especially in the red dress - although in this case I drew the portrait with colored pencils. The finished drawing was commissioned to be a part of a playful and pop surreal interior design. And for that reason the chosen colors were strong and bright.

I designed the historical dress style from imagination. The aim was to convey the feel of different fabrics and lace in the dress, but also the sense of fragile flowers. Like that the portrait would present not only the grandeur, but also the fragile sensitivity at the same time - describing that way also the different sides of the portrayed cat.

Lady with the wistful eyes

On a sunny summer day
lady with the wistful eyesÔÇŽ
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.

Wearing the roses

Just a brief passing moment.
Wearing the roses before they fade...

The drawing called "Wearing Roses" is a sketchy portrait, but in the same time the theme of this portrait was a beauty illustration. The aim of this drawing was to create a portrait that would have the likeness, but would also have only just few pencil layers, and only a bit of pink color. In this kind of sketchy and smaller portrait the facial features can still be drawn so that they are having also the likeness, in case it has been commissioned to be a portrait.

It was a special wish that this portrait would be very light and have a style of a beauty illustration. Because the portrait had already a ready chosen place waiting, near other illustration prints and artworks, it was important that the work had the same light and sketchy atmosphere than the other works in the same space. Therefore the style of this drawing was created only with pencil lines and very subtle pencil layers, and also with a few colored pencil layers.

This drawing was created in a small size around 12cm x 17cm (approx. 5x7 inch). And when the drawing is compared to the real roses in picture below, the small size is more obvious. Those real roses were also as a a color model and reference for this work, but they were drawn into the final drawing in a much smaller size.

Over all drawing this work was fascinating. Creating a very small, sketchy and light portrait into a style of beauty illustration was also a lot of fun! It was all about exploring the fading boundaries between realism and illustrative style.

Fantasy cat portrait with pencils

The pet portrait can be also a bit different and fantasy themed!

Fantasy pet portrait with pencils. This is an older work in progress picture from my personal project. After sketching all the symbolic elements are here starting to find their own places in the portrait.


Close up from the fantasy pencil pet portrait. It felt almost like I would have been sewing the fantasy clothes, when I was drawing the details in to this pencil drawing :)

Shiny light purple from Milan Fashion Week

Here is another favorite from Milan Fashion Week (Spring/Summer 2015 Collections). This outfit is a wonderful combination of black, white and shiny light purple elements.

Black in Milan Fashion Week

Great styles have been revealed during the Milan Fashion week! Here is a drawing from one of my favorites. This one is for all you loving black clothesÔÇŽ Oh, combination of black outfit and wonderful long boots <3

Fashion Week in Milan

The Milan Fashion Week starts today (September 17th ÔÇô 23rd). There┬┤s excitement in the air... What kind of surprises the Spring/Summer 2015 collections are revealing during the Milan Fashion Week?

Could it be light and pink dreams with imaginative embroidery...?


And here┬┤s a close-up from the drawing. In this picture the miniature detailing is more visible, especially in the facial features and in the embroidery of the dress. Colored pencils are also revealing the size and scale of the original drawing.

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