Downsizing big and bold

Two years ago I arranged an exhibition big and bold. 16 illustrations, height 2,3 meters, width 6 meters. Altogether the exhibition was nearly 100 meters wide, it was outside, and it was my first exhibition ever.

No one knows how many people saw it during those 2,5 weeks, but I know several who went and saw it on a motorcycle. I had wished for that, since the illustrations were from a book that told about a motorcycle road racing legend, Jarno Saarinen. The exhibition was following a road that used to be a race circuit, next to the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

After the exhibition was over, I took the pieces down, rolled them up and carried to my storage, washed them (both sides) and rolled them up again. It was a lot of work, they were huge and heavy, and when I closed the storage door there was nothing I wanted more than to forget they existed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love them! Among those 16 were the illustrations that got highly commended in the World Illustration Awards children’s book category 2019. The printing turned out superb, they’re truly impressive with their size. People wanted to buy, I wanted to sell. Until the buyers realized it was actually 6 meters wide we’re talking about.

They were just TOO BIG.

When the lockdown started in March 2020, I knew what my corona project would be: downsizing the big and bold exhibition posters. They had started their siren songs from the depths of the storage (two stories up from my apartment) and I knew I couldn’t hide anymore.

But how? Where should I cut? I started it on screen.

I had to create something new. I couldn’t look at them the same way I had when creating illustrations for the book, to tell the story. And I had to pay attention to the size.

The motorcycles were the most interesting to cut. I had loved illustrating all the small technical parts and to learn how a motorcycle works – even only shallowly. Now all that small technical got to be highlighted better than before.

Photographer Tuomas Kaisti

I don’t think I ever will arrange an exhibition that big again. But if someone asked for my advice in arranging one – if they should do it or not, I would say in a heartbeat: “Go for it.”

Photographer Tuomas Kaisti

And then I would add: “You can always downsize them later.”

Motorcycle Stories

Alongside my very dear book project “The Baron” I drew some other motorcycles as well during last year. You can say I kinda fell for them ❤ Especially in the old race motorcycles there’s such simplicity and beauty. And the thought alone to be illustrating motorcycles for kids charmed me… I could use all the color palettes I wanted, I could illustrate all the tiny bits with as much fun as I only could!

Pirita Tolvanen Motorcycle Stories 02 Ducati 02

This Ducati from the year 2002 is one of my favorites. It just keeps charming me!

Pirita Tolvanen Motorcycle Stories 03 Red Pipe
Pirita Tolvanen Motorcycle Stories 04 Raisu 78

Yes, it was a small and cute one ❤

Pirita Tolvanen Motorcycle Stories 05 Yamaha

Revolution counter – how’s that for a word!

Year 2018 illustrated

Number 106 illustrated; number of illustrations
2018 I finished 106 illustrations.
Pie chart of the illustration type
More than half of the 106 was commissioned work. 28 illustrations was for my children’s book ”The Baron”, and 21 other non-commissioned work pieces.
Number 10 illustrated, number of infographics commissions
Surprising, ha? For me it was! 10 infographics assignments. Such a small number.
Number 8 illustrated: number of animations
8 animations, duration 20,5 seconds in average.
Number 85 illustrated with people's faces
If I were to count all the people I’ve illustrated to crowds this number would be at least 850. But 85 is the number of illustrated people with face features.
Illustration of how many of the 85 people were men/women/other
41 women, 39 men and 5 other.
Number 24 illustrated with motorcycles
But of course.

Onwards. All the best to 2019!

The Baron: Work in progress 1

Pirita-Tolvanen-The-Baron-Tires-Colours

I’m working on a book on motorcycles (and drivers, especially one!) and it’s turned out to be a specifically delicious theme for me to work on. So I’ve ended up doing different kinds of work-in-progress stuff just for the fun of it!

Cogwheels Pirita Tolvanen The Baron