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.

Kätlin Vainola

Kätlin Vainola
Bicycling to the moon
 

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Kätlin Vainola was born in 1978, and studied Estonian philology at Tallinn University. She has written over a dozen books, including the memorable Lift, published in 2013 by Pegasus, which has been translated into Russian, Lithuanian and German. She is married to Allan Vainola, a musician. She says:

‘I started writing stories for children when I rediscovered children’s literature during my first pregnancy. Inspiration can come from anywhere – you never know in advance. I’m mostly interested in people and in life itself. That combination always gives you food for thought and opportunities for thinking further. But I certainly carry my own childhood along with me at all times: it’s like a filter that all of my thoughts and ideas pass through. What I write somehow always meshes with my own life and experiences.’