Behind the Design: Pacific Blue Cover Artist Interview with Heikala
The seaside inspired cover of our 2021 Annual Pacific Blue Passion Planner is the art of Heikala, a well-loved Finland based illustrator. We asked her about her creative process, where she finds inspiration, and how she stays motivated to keep creating.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into your art initially?
I've been drawing ever since I was little. My favorite subjects to draw were animals and Pokemon. When I was eight, I enrolled in an art oriented class in elementary school and continued on that path for the entirety of compulsory school. After that I still loved creating art and applied for an art high school in Helsinki and moved forward with graphic design studies in university. At that time I had no idea I was going to be a full-time artist/illustrator. But doing artist alleys as a hobby, attending local conventions and creating my own prints and seeing people enjoy my works pushed me to create my own art and eventually steered me into where I am now.
How has your art evolved over time and what steps do you take to continually improve your craft?
Over the years the biggest change that my art experienced was when I deliberately started doing more backgrounds and applying those to my paintings. Before that my art had been mostly character driven. I think that change also had a huge impact on my personal growth as an artist. I can see that my style has developed over the years but I have been consciously trying to avoid not paying too much attention to ‘the style’ as I know that is something that many people struggle with. To me, I think it is really important to always strive to create better art, whether it be by improving my technique or by creating works with subject matters that are meaningful to me.
Where did you draw your inspiration from for the Pacific Blue Passion Planner cover?
I live in a seaside city and am always surrounded by nature. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood have been on my family’s boat trips to explore nearby islands. I love seagulls, the sea and painting waves so the cover motif is really dear to me!
How do you handle an art block or a creative rut?
I try not to stress about not getting creative work done. If I’m feeling like I’m in a rut, I most likely need a break from drawing anyway and do something else for a while. Although it is good to have a routine and keep a habit of drawing every day (even a tiny bit) sometimes it’s just good to stand back and reevaluate. That way I can give myself space to think what is important to me in creating art.
What keeps you motivated in life or what is your ‘Why?’ in life?
This is something that I have been thinking about a lot during 2020, especially since most of the year I’ve spent in almost complete solitude, not traveling or seeing friends. I think what keeps me motivated is to do things that make me happy and things that make my loved ones happy. I often try to stop and think about the things I like and the things I could do without. I definitely feel like I also need a constant goal in the distance to help me focus on my work, whether it be a convention, a book project or a holiday.
What’s your advice for artists who are just starting out?
Don't be so focused on finding a 'style' for yourself. Concentrate on the basics and focus on learning new skills. You'll find your own visual voice eventually. Always strive to create work that you have fun making and that makes you feel fulfilled!
What’s a goal you have for 2021?
I’m hoping to create a new hard cover book of my work for 2021, and learn more Japanese!
Where can we find more of your work?
My work can be found on my website Heikala Shop: https://heikala.com/
Heikala Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heikala/
Heikala Twitter: https://twitter.com/heikala_art
Love Heikala’s art? Support her cover artwork by purchasing the Limited Edition Pacific Blue Passion Planner! $1 for every planner sold will benefit charity: water, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people around the world through community-owned and sustainable water projects.