Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reykjavík's Literary Prize, two poodles, new work and San Francisco!

This past Wednesday on Iceland's official last day of Winter (yay!), I received Reykjavík’s Literary Prize for the Best Illustrated Book Published in 2015.  It’s an incredible honor, I’m humble and grateful for the acknowledgement my work received.  

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the book I illustrated ,,Ugla & Fóa og maðurinn sem fór í hundana” by Ólafur Haukur Símonarson was the one receiving the award this year.  It was nominated amongst four other beautiful books that deserved the title just as well.  Although I’m not much of a dog-person, I really enjoyed getting to know and illustrate the two poodles, Ugla & Fóa.  I did not contribute to the design of the book or the cover, and must admit I’m not a huge fan of how either turned out (but that’s another story).  But every project is something to learn from and I’m very grateful that the award committee spotted my two poodles :)

Seeing peoples reaction to your work, to that something you created with a simple pencil at your desk, from some idea in your head is so rewarding.  Sometimes you feel like your stuff is total rubbish, sometimes you feel like it’s actually quite good, sometimes you feel like you must be at least a little bit insane to have chosen this career.  But sometimes someone says “hey, you’re doing the right thing” and then it all comes together.  The knowing you are where you should be.  And I’m not just saying that awards make you feel like that.  It has everything to do with the support you get from the people around you and the feeling you get from creating the work.  

And when it all works out,…girl, it feels good.

Here are a few illustrations from Ugla & Fóa
They say dogs are your best friends, in sickness and in health

Walking the dogs

Walking the whale

A few different ways to get your nights sleep


In other news - I have a bunch of stuff is on my drawing table!  Nothing to share quite yet but a few sketches from an upcoming book...

Oh, and I finally visited San Francisco again after almost six years away.  

It was a great visit.  It is the best city.

  But it always feels good to come back home ;)  

Happy Summer y'all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

All good things go by three

The third and last book in the trilogy about Mói Hrekkjusvín by Kristín Helga Gunnarsdóttir just came out!  It's been a pleasure to illustrate and get to know this character and his friends.  He's priceless really, and such a pain!  Salute to his parents for bearing with his constant pranks.  But people like Mói make life more fun and unpredictable, I mean, what's the fun about having peace and quiet all the time? 

Here are a few interior illustrations from Mói Hrekkjusvín - Landsmót Hrekkjusvína.  
Now go, get a book and read it for a little prankster ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Book ,,Dúkka" & the sweet summer of 2015

It's been quiet here lately!  But that's all gonna change now.  Fall is here with its long shadows, the fresh air, leaves everywhere, crazy wind, heavy clouds and most important of all; routine.  I like routine.  I like vacation too, but routine is good.  So, here I am, back at the drawing table, excited for winter (well, mildly excited to be honest) and ready to draw and draw.  Just before I jumped on my lovely vacation in August, I finished illustrating a book by the brilliant author Gerður Kristný.  I've been a fan of her work for years and to have the opportunity to illustrate her story was a dream!  It's a scary story for kids and adults as I'm sure you can imagine from the cover here above.  It's called ,,Dúkka", ("Doll" in English).  It hits the shelves this fall, so, get it!

 Summer was good!  I biked and drew and biked and drew some more.  And then I jumped on a plane with my gang to Paris and from there to Spain.  It was our first long family vacation.  So we did a bit of culture and big city strolling in Paris and then we did the lazy ass vacation in Spain where we just ate and jumped in the pool.  

Every fall, when I'm back in routine like now, I throw in some photos here on my bog from my summer.  Even if it's just for myself to look at once and a while when there's a blizzard outside, just to remember how great it was.  

We rented a cute little apartment in Paris via airbnb.  It had 98 steps to be exact up to the fifth floor.  But we were a ok with that, cause we were in Paris!

We played tourists and checked out the must sees like the Arc de Triomphe...

...and biked around the Versaille (which caused the two huge band-aids on Lára's knees...

..I bought a hat and Lára took a gazillion photos of yours truly...

...and I took a bunch too (The Notre Dame is in the background).

We went to the Bastille Market and bought some gourmet stuff for a proper Paris picnic.  The paté was the absolute best I've ever had, too bad that all the bee's agreed with me.

And then the view changed once we hit Spain. Chardonnay and a sketchbook. Should be the everyday view, right?  Or not..

We visited the beautiful village of Altea.

An ok view from the hill in Altea.

My precious.  I just noticed they actually do look a bit alike. 
This guy appeared in the sand.  I wonder if he's been sunbathing for too long...

Lára didn't hate the beach. 

And now, back home...

playing cards with daddy and back at the drawing table.

I hope your summer was pretty spectacular and that the winter ahead will be as spectacular, if not even more spectacular then the summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nordic Watercolor Society Award 2015 - and a Stork on a bike!

Last week I was honoured by receiving the Winsor & Newton Nordic Watercolor Society Award 2015! The association held their annual meeting at the Nordic House in Reykjavík where the award ceremony took place.  I'm kind of speech-less by this.  It really is wonderful to receive this kind of recognition for your work - it definitely gives me the boost to continue on this roller coaster ride it is to be an artist.  My heartfelt gratitude to the Nordiska Akvarellsällskapet board & members.  

Nervous me at the ceremony with the Icelandic board member Ninný.

Delighted me after the ceremony in front of the Nordic House.

The Nordiska Akvarellsällskapet held a few watercolor workshops around the annual meeting.  I was lucky to attend the workshop taught by Björn Bernström.  It was great getting out of the studio for a day and watch another artist work.  Make sure to check out his beautiful watercolor paintings.  

Usually I use watercolors for my illustrations, but at the workshop I played with painting an imaginary landscape.  

Then this little Stork was born the other day when playing some more with my watercolors. I think he's a friend of the pelican I did for the 2015 calendar.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Eitthvað illt á leiðinni er... horror stories by kids,for kids(and grown ups)!

Put your heart into it.  It's just that simple.   

I am grateful to be trusted to be the one illustrating someones words and ideas into pictures for everyone to see.  The projects I get can be very different, most of them very enjoyable, but there are those few projects that come up once and a while that feel just 'extra special'.  Projects I know are different.  It's a privilege to work with people who are passionate and ambitious.  And this project is definitely one of them.

Eitthvað illt á leiðinni er...  is a project driven by Markús Már Efraím and his writing workshop with 19 authors at the age of 8 - 10 years old.  During that workshop they read and wrote their own ghost- and horror stories.  The outcome is something truly amazing - they decided to publish a book and have it illustrated by professional illustrators (including yours truly).  It is beautifully printed and designed and full of stories that will for sure give you the chills and might even force you to sleep with the lights on for a while...  

The young authors were a part of the project every step of the way.  They had their stories edited, they visited the printer, saw the proofs and had a fancy party with flowers and drinks and strawberries when the book came out.  

It's just beautiful,...and scary that's all I can say.  Here below you can see my three illustrations from the book and photos from the group visit to the printer and from the fancy party.  My congrats to everyone involved!

And voila!  The Book!

The book in the making!

Visiting the printer.

Proud authors and maybe an even prouder mentor.


The Party!

I think I'm not the only one thinking that seeing kids reading books is one of the prettiest things.

ps: you can support the project here!

Photos by Erla María Árnadóttir, Grímur Kolbeinsson & Kristina Petrosiuté.