Virpi Talvitie

Virpi Talvitie was born in 1961 in the west of Finland, and is one of the country’s best-known illustrators. She began her career in children’s book illustration in 1998, and since then she has undertaken all areas of children’s book illustration: she has illustrated lyric poetry for children, non-fiction, short stories, novels for children, easy readers and old folk tales, as well as poetry books for adults and a small work of prose.

She has collaborated with Timo Parvela on multiple projects, including 2006’s Keinulauta (Seesaw), which won the prestigious Junior Finlandia Prize. She has also won the 2010 WSOY Literature Foundation Award, the 2011 Mikkeli Illustration Triennial Prize, and was nominated thrice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.

Virpi uses a mixture of oil pastels, crayon, water colour and collage to create her images. Bold, thick layers of oil and wax form the main structures of her illustrations. She scratches and etches into these to produce texture and detail. Watercolors are added to the surface creating patterns of droplets, which offer a sense of movement and also emphasise the mood of the picture.