Pirita Tolvanen is a Helsinki-based illustrator. She works mainly on commercial and editorial illustration, but has just published the first childrens picture book she’s illustrated. Main themes in her illustrations are women and men with troublesome feelings.
Pirita grew up in a house full of wood sculptures of women and black and white photography - all made by her father, a professional photographer and a sculptor. Artists that have influenced Pirita the most have all one theme in common: women. Early pin up artists like Gil Elvgren, poster artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and pop artist Niagara Detroit to mention a few have all made an impact on her. Women have always been a frequent theme in Pirita’s work, and it has caught the eye of many her clients.
Pirita decided to become a graphic designer in the age of 15, after seeing an exhibition of paper-cut pop up art by graphic design students. She studied graphic designing in Karelia University of Applied Sciences in eastern Finland. An exchange period in Bulgaria’s National Academy of Art with studies on poster art influenced her a lot. Studies with emphasis on ideas made her realize she wanted to create illustrations as a profession.
Pirita fell in love with vector graphic probably the first time she was introduced to it around the year 2002. Vector graphic has been Pirita’s main technique throughout her career. She loves the logic and their wavy nature.
With her illustrations Pirita wants to tell stories and evoke feelings. She wants to bring to life characters feeling loneliness, confusion, uncertainty - all the emotions we all feel and often believe we are the only ones feeling them. Pirita is working on a picture book with a theme of overcoming fear. It’s an unlikely princess tale, dark and gloomy. It happens in a jungle similar to one where Phantom lives.