Eili-Kaija Kuusniemi is an illustrator, typographers and graphic designer based in Helsinki, Finland. Her swirling watercolours bring to life food, plants, characters and places for international publications and brands.
Kuusniemi graduated from the Helsinki School of Art and Design, Aalto University, with an MA in Graphic Design. She has since worked in a range of creative roles, challenging herself in areas of illustration, art direction in ad agencies and web design. Over the years she has worked for clients Eurostar, Kiehl’s, Dove, Fazer, Johnson & Johnson, Random House, Sunset Magazine, and Elle.
She works traditionally with the difficult medium of watercolours, occasionally combining coloured pencils and inks, then she finishes her artwork digitally. A stand-out element of Kuusniemi’s illustrations is her beautiful linework, free-flowing and energetic, complimented perfectly with watercolour splotches. Here is what Kuusniemi had to say about her lines,
“Line has always been important to me, I enjoy its curvy nature. […] I don’t like to force my lines, as impression and atmosphere are too important”
Kuusniemi has created sentimental scenes of family and friendship, spiced up worldly cuisine, added adventure to maps, all while exploring pattern, typography and colour. Her images seem to flow naturally, they are loose, tender and cheerful. A couple of her project I particularly love are Eurostar and Get a Life!. It would be great to one day see her illustrate a children’s book in either one of those styles.
You can see more of Eili-Kaija Kuusniemi’s work on her website, and Behance. You should also watch her work in this hypnotic video, The journey of blood to patient for The Finnish Red Cross.