Sketch Book Sneak Peek: Anna Emilia

by Maxwell Tielman

If you’ve been a long-time reader of this site, you know that every Monday, we run a series of “Sneak Peeks“—inspiring photographic tours into some of our favorite homes. This month, however, as we celebrate a 31 days of all things color, we’ve been in an art frame of mind. We decided that, instead of just showcasing the inner workings of designers’ homes, we wanted to grant our readers an additional kind of sneak peek— into the sketchbooks of a few of our favorite artists. Some of them fill their sketchbooks with meditative doodles, exercises to rekindle artistic energy. Others use them to precisely plan out ambitious artistic projects. Whatever they case may be, anybody who has ever owned a sketchbook knows what a powerful tool they can be and what sort of promise their blank pages can hold. To kick off this month’s series of sketch book sneak peeks, we’re highlighting the work of one of our new favorite illustrators: Anna Emilia Laitinen. Hailing all the way from Finland, Anna Emilia’s work consists of beautiful, delicate line drawings and water colors, filled with life, warmth, and humor. You might also recognize her work from the header image for our very own Modern Etiquette column! After the jump, you will find 11 images from Anna Emilias handmade sketchbooks along with some of her own thoughts about her sketchbook process. —Max

Why do you use a sketch book?

Sometimes there is so much information to add to one image that collecting the ideas into a sketchbook page first makes it easier to see where to begin. Usually I know the feeling of the image with colours and forms, but the details that build the image might need more thinking. My sketchbooks are also my calendars and sometimes address books, too. They are diaries, with short sentences about my days and feelings, important chats with friends and lists about anything. Usually I paint the final images with watercolours, but my sketchbook images are drawn with a black pen. It is good that the sketches stay as sketches and are done with a different media, giving still enough space for the painting itself.

What are your go-to sketch book supplies? Are there any brands or media that you’re particularly drawn to?

Once I took a bookbinding class and ever since, all my sketchbooks have been created by myself. Even if they’re not the most pretty ones, I get the size and page numbers as desired and I can add my calendar to the end of the sketchbook easily. There might also be pockets or envelopes in the end to keep all the small notes and scraps of paper safe. And bows to keep the books closed.

Aside from preliminary sketches for larger projects, are there any things that you like to sketch just for fun? What are some things that you most frequently fill your sketch books with?

White paper gets filled with leaves of trees, flora and small wooden huts. There are also pressed plants that are picked from walks, dummies that I make of bigger projects before sending the final works, and even sewing patterns that I draw for my own clothes. Sometimes I need to rip pages off and then put them back, that is why there is also a lot of tape on some pages. If I’m feeling silly, there might also be a few talking and smiling cats.

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