Saara Tuomela - Illustrator from Finland

I was born and spent my childhood in countryside near Oulu city. My home was in the middle of forests and fields. I liked to play outdoors but also loved to read and draw a lot. 


We had a big family, so I had always someone to play with me. I think our parents were really wise when they encouraged us in whatever we were interested in: music, art, "scientific tests", sport, games, reading etc. Of course we didn't always have proper equipment, but then we just fixed up one by ourselves.


One of my favourite hobbies was to watch and listen to my big sisters illustrating and writing their own stories. That was something I also wanted to do myself. Luckily my mum always made sure that we had enough blank paper and a lot of pens and colors to use. 





After high school I studied art at University of Lapland. In Rovaniemi I also met my husband Dimitri. After marrying we lived half a year in Hungary, where I studied art and music at University of Pécs.


For now I have been a few years at home taking care of my children. I have also illustrated three children's books while staying home (thanks to my great husband and his flexibility!)


Nowadays we live in lovely house in Haukipudas (in Oulu) next to a river and the sea. I love wandering in forests picking berries, mushrooms and stories. Some fairies I have found too...


Inspiration from nature, children and walking barefoot

Sometimes people ask me what an illustrator actually does. I'd say she pictures the dreams - makes visible thoughts and feelings which would be otherwise hidden.


Illustrating means a lot of work and just as much dreaming. You really need to put your soul into illustrating and not to fear balancing between fact and fiction.


From my point of view illustrating is very much like parenting. Both require you to be incredibly patient... Again and again. It is also a great benefit to be able to see the world as children see it – without taking too many things for granted. Walking barefoot helps me to feel, hear and see things as I did when I was a child.


When I see my little daughters playing in nature, a girl inside me wakes up from her 20-year sleep and gets a wonderful idea! That's what I want to illustrate.



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