Ulla Saar

Ulla Saar

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Ulla Saar is an illustrator, product designer, graphic artist, and interior designer. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in product design, and is currently working as a designer. Her first illustrated book, Lift, immediately received widespread recognition, and was listed in the 2014 White Ravens catalogue. Since then, every one of her books has gained international attention. Saar practises a contemporary, design-like approach to book illustration: her spirited and playful art is often more a part of the book’s overall design than free-standing pictures.

I started illustrating books from about the age of three, when many of my childrens books at home acquired new designs, mostly in a rather abstract form. A short break happened in the meantime, during which I dreamed about becoming a geologist instead. Back then, one of my favourite books was Anatoly Chlenovs Geology in Pictures inspired by it, I started putting together my own personal rock collection. Over time, it became clear that field didnt suit me, and I turned back to art.

Pencils and I have a long history together that may contain blood, sweat, and tears, but weve come a long way and we know each other through and through. By now, we get along swimmingly. When I work on a book, I try to proceed from the text and catch the tone of it in my drawings; to support and elevate it rather than compete with it. Thats why all the books Ive illustrated look different to me, a technique is just a tool that I execute to create a good book.