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The Drawings of Jii Jaakola

If I were to give a description of myself of who I am, and what I do... I am a Finnish mostly self-taught artist and used to make a living by doing animation but I do not have formal education to that.

I'm not a native English speaker so if some of my answers don't make sense - please do tell, and I'll try to word them differently.

Q. How did you get started in your medium?

A. I started drawing as a very young child. I think I was about couple of years old. I wanted to draw a dog. I have no idea where I got the urge to draw it, but that is how it began.

Q. What is the biggest influence on your art?

A. That is a hard question to be answered. I think I get influences everywhere through films, television, architecture, music, literature and visual arts made by other artists.

Q. Did art play a role in your childhood? (Were you exposed to artists, did you enjoy making art)

A. I wasn't really exposed to artists, but I used to draw and also make clothes for my dolls as a child. Those were very important hobbies for me.

Q. Who is your favorite artist?

A. Another hard question to be answered. There are so many. I am mostly gravitated to styles such as art nouveau, expressionism, impressionism. I also love aestethics and architecture of Victorian and Edwardian era and steampunk. If I should name a few artists who I like - I would say Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. Though there are many more. It's so hard to choose.

Q. How does art impact your life?

A. Art gives me joy. I enjoy to make it myself, and I enjoy art made by other people.

Q. When you make your art is it planned or do you just see where it goes?

A. When I make art, I get an idea and I have some sort of visual picture imagined inside my head which I am going to implement, but it's not crystal clear. I do some sketching beforehand. So I guess there is some planning but I also let it lead me to where ever it will go during the process.

Find more of Jii's work on Instagram.

All of the above images are copyright Jii Jaakola and shared here with permission.

Try it yourself

Draw a Self Portrait

You will need:

  • pencil

  • ballpoint pen

  • colored pencils or markers

  • paper

  • mirror

Look in the mirror and draw yourself (this is called a self portrait) lightly with the pencil. Pay attention to where your features are on your head. Eyes are about halfway down, nose halfway between the eyes and chin, mouth halfway between the nose and chin. Don't forget hair, clothes, and accessories.

When you have it the way you want it, go over the lines with the ballpoint pen, you can make dots or lines where there are shadows. Notice how the shadows look darker the closer the lines and dots get to each other. When you are done inking your drawing, color it.

My new coloring book is available now on Amazon.

The Harriet Powers Coloring Book has 27 illustrations of Harriet and her work. Harriet Powers was a black quilter in the late 19th Century. Born enslaved, she was freed after the Civil War and went on to create two of the most important quilts in art history. A great companion to A Gallery of Our Own: Women of Art History.

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