In top 10 shortlist for the Rudolf Koivu Award


I'm honoured that my book Tuhat ja yksi otusta (A thousand and One Creatures) made it to the top 10 in the prestigious Rudolf Koivu Award, given bi-annually to the best children's book illustration in Finland. The shortlisted books are on show at the Helsinki Children's Book Fair this weekend. Congratulations to the winner Sanna Mander and all shortlisted books!

My Thousand and One Creatures book is a White Raven 2017!

"Thousand and One Creatures" (orig.title: Tuhat ja yksi otusta) book by Laura Merz and Aino Järvinen has been listed on the White Ravens 2017!

The "White Ravens" label is given to books that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and often innovative artistic and literary style and design.

“Tuhat ja yksi otusta – the book title says it all: This large-format picture book celebrates wildlife. However, it does not simply introduce whales, polar bears, or camels via ordinary factual texts. The authors rather employ poems, the contents of which form a felicitous and suspenseful symbiosis with the full-page watercolour illustrations. The texts frequently point out the humorous aspects of the animals’ cohabitation, such as the poem about crocodiles and Egyptian Plovers (aka as crocodile birds), the feathered “dental helpers” who clean the reptiles’ teeth. The minimalist images, accentuated with just a few boldly coloured highlights, are impressive: spontaneously brushed onto the page, of sketch-like quality, they result in truly expressive, large animal drawings. The creator of these pictures, Laura Merz, was born in Finland and now lives in Berlin, where she creates works of fine art in addition to illustrating books."

Photo © Etana Editions

Photo © Etana Editions

Blog post about my Benin artist residency experience

I spent two months at the Finnish-African cultural centre Villa Karo in Benin on an artist in residence programme earlier this year in search of inspiration for my next children's book. Here are a couple of pictures and some of my thoughts in writing about the experience, about the stories I heard and how they have influenced my book project.

Unfortunately the blog text is only in Finnish. Google translate will surely add another layer of absurdity to the crazy West African tales I came across.

Tuhat ja yksi otusta wins third prize in Mikkeli Illustration Triennal

I am honoured to receive the third prize in Mikkeli illustration triennial for my book Tuhat ja yksi otusta. Congratulations to the 1st prize winner Eero Lampinen and 2nd prize winner Daniel Stolle and everyone who got an honorary award!

My illustrations will be on show amongst a great selection of best Finnish illustration at Mikkeli Art Museum until the 10th of September.

My first children's book given an honorary award in Punni literature prize

Tuhat ja yksi otusta (Laura Merz & Aino Järvinen, published by Etana Editions) has been awarded in the Punni prize for debut books. Thank you Finnish Institute for Children's Literature!

Here are the jury's comments in Finnish:

"Kuvittaja ja tekstiilitaiteilija Laura Merzin kuvittama ja hänen yhdessä Aino Järvisen kanssa kirjoittamansa Tuhat ja yksi otusta (Etana Editions 2016) on aivan uudenlainen tietokirja lapsille. Rakkaus eläimiin sekä lapsena luettuihin eläinkirjoihin näkyy. Mustalla, juoksevalla tussilla ja erilaisilla käsiin osuneilla välineillä luodut mustavalkoiset, tyylitellyt eläinhahmot tuovat raikasta ilmettä suomalaiseen lastenkirjakuvitukseen. Ne vertautuvat myös kansainvälisesti tunnettuihin taitajiin. Leikkisä, mutta tiukasti faktoihin nojaava ja sopivan lyhyt teksti houkuttelee lasta kysymyksiin ja poimii esiin myös hupaisia, vähemmän tunnettuja yksityiskohtia eläimistä. Kirja on kuin pieni taidegalleria, joka houkuttelee lasta kokeilemaan rennolla otteella taiteilua itse. Kirja on poikkeuksellisen ansiokas ja lajia uudistava esikoisteos."

You can read more about the prize here:

Photo by Etana Editions

Tuhat ja yksi otusta book shortlisted for Vuoden huiput (Best Finnish Creative Design Awards)!

The illustrations from my debut book Tuhat ja yksi otusta (A Thousand and One Creatures) are shortlisted for Grafia's Vuoden huiput (Best Finnish Creative Design) awards in the image category. The gala where the final winners are announced is held in Helsinki on the 27th of April. Very exciting!

Photo © Laura Merz and Etana Editions 2016. All rights reserved

Drawing workshop at the Berlin Wilmersdorf refugee centre

Yesterday I gave a drawing workshop at the Wilmersdorf refugee centre, organised by Pass the Crayon, a Berlin-based NGO. The kids loved drawing animals and we had a lot of fun.  I hope to do more projects with Pass the Crayon in the future, they are doing wonderful work. You can check out the organisation

Photo © Sevin Ozdemir and Pass the Crayon.

My illustrations are on show at the Natural History Museum in Helsinki

Anyone in Helsinki should go and check out my show at the wonderful place that everyone in Helsinki calls 'The Animal Museum'. The show is on until the 16th of October. I am delighted about the opportunity to exhibit there, it is a place that I used to love when I was a child and where I used to come and draw whilst studying art in Helsinki. The exhibition is curated and funded by The Finnish Association of Illustrators. My drawing project has also been funded by the Alfred Kordelin Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

The 'Tuhat ja yksi otusta' book launch party will be held in Helsinki on the 16th Aug

If you are in Helsinki next week, come and celebrate the launch of my book and the opening of my show on Tuesday the 16th Aug.

My ink animal drawings, including illustration originals for the book, are on show at the Finnish Museum of Natural History in Helsinki from the 16th Aug until the 16th Oct. This Tuesday is a day of action for children and parents! We celebrate the opening of my show at the museum from 11.00 until 12.30 with a free drawing workshop for kids, drinks and a welcome speech. Later in the day we will celebrate the launch of the children's book Tuhat ja yksi otusta at Restaurant Palema, from 17.00 until 19.00. Aino Järvinen who wrote the book's stories based on my original idea, will be reading excerpts from the book, I'm doing live drawing, there are animal-shaped snacks and drinks. You can buy the book as well as my art prints at special prices at both events.

Come and invite your friends, too!

You can check out the event on Facebook here

Tuhat ja yksi otusta book is fresh from the press!

My first children's book, Tuhat ja yksi otusta (A Thousand and One Creatures), published by the wonderful Etana Editions, is out of the press! You can find it in Finnish bookshops. The book combines my illustrations with curious facts about wildlife, written by Aino Järvinen and myself.