Jenna Kunnas

Name: Jenna Kunnas
Place to live: Helsinki, Finland
Interests: Poster art, mid-century glass design, cats and british crime tv-series.
Favorite Color: Bold orangy-red and pale pink, when it comes to my designs. Black if I need to wear it.
See the Designs!
Jenna Kunnas is a Helsinki-based illustrator who graduated from the Aalto University in 2015. Jenna’s style is bold, vivid and witty, filled with peculiar creatures and colourful patterns. Often depicting mystical places filled with colour, there is a playful rhythm to her work. This is particularly seen in her strong and ambitious patterns. Previously, among other things, Jenna has illustrated books for the Finnish book publishing company Otava, and worked as a designer for Finlayson (Finnish textile manufacturer). She is currently represented by Napas Arts & Licensing Agency.

Interview with Jenna Kunnas

How did your journey as an artist begin?

I come from a family of artists; illustrators, writers, architects and carpenters. Art has always been a job as good as any. I’ve been in different art schools growing up and later studied jewelry design, interior architecture and furniture design, but illustration and drawing has been the one that stuck with me. Now I’ve been a freelance illustrator for nearly a decade, happily so, creating mostly books, patterns and posters.

We see you use many different techniques. What's your favourite method and why?

I feel that there are two methods that are most natural to me. Freehand drawing with a very thin black felt tip pen on plain white paper and digital painting with bold and simple shapes with no outlines. They contrast each other and with combining these two I can keep myself interested and creative.

Patterns seems to be a strong point in your artwork. What are you inspired by, and what trends do you follow right now?

The biggest inspirations come from nature, animals, and words. Funny or strange sayings or even the headlines of interesting articles stick in my head and I want to visualize them. I spend a lot of time taking care of my own flower gardens during the summer. Flowers are a big inspiration to me. I also love the Finnish forests. During the autumn, I arrange my schedule so that I’m able to go mushroom and berry picking almost every weekend. Humour and strange dreamlike creatures can also be seen in my patterns and illustrations. I don’t know if I follow any specific trends on purpose. However I feel that trendy colours and styles are pretty impossible to avoid, especially in social media.

How long does it take you to create a new piece? What is your art-creation process?

It depends greatly on the piece. However when it comes to creating patterns, as soon as I am inspired, I start to create it almost immediately and can’t stop before it’s done. Sometimes I draw, scan, and sit on my computer for a whole day and forget to eat. I usually create patterns with Adobe Photoshop. Maybe strangely, I usually use the lasso tool when I create areas of colour and combine them into shapes and objects. I don’t sketch or even think too much in advance, I let the pattern come together.

“Plant Boutique” seems to be the most liked design by our users. But… what is your favourite of your work featured at caseable and why?

For me it’s got to be ”Fern”. The pattern is one of my own all time favorites and I was glad to see it featured at caseable. It’s also the one I have on my own phone case. I like the fullness of it, as well as the colours of late summer.

In the future, what kind of art could you see yourself creating?

I enjoy creating patterns and I hope to see them on lots of different products and places. Book illustration takes about half of my working time and I feel like I still have to lot to give there. One thing I still haven’t had the chance to do, is wall art on a big scale, that would be amazing.

Tell us something that might surprise our readers

I have illustrated four books for children with my little sister Noora, who is a writer.