Ulla Saar

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 an illustrator as well as the Foreign Relations Director at the Estonian Children's Literature Centre. 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 practices 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 children’s books at home acquired new designs, mostly in a rather abstract form.... Pencils and I have a long history together that may contain blood, sweat, and tears, but we’ve 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. That’s why all the books I’ve illustrated look different – to me, a technique is just a tool that I execute to create a good book.’

Have a look at Ulla's joyful contribution to our What Makes You Smile? project.

Did you know…

  • Ulla once dreamed of being a geologist and started her own rock collection.

  • Long walks make Ulla really happy, especially in dusky summer nights or foggy autumn mornings.

  • Ulla lives in a little wooden house in Estonia with her son and her cat.

Find out more on Ulla Saar's website