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Please tell us a little but about where you live and what you love about it?

I live in an island with about 900 inhabitants just out of Helsinki. I love many things about the place, the sea and the shores, the fact that it’s so close to the city but you can feel the nature there. I love that you can see the stars in the sky.

If you could live anywhere else in the world where might it be?

I can imagine living in so many places for a short period of time but at the moment I wouldn’t actually want to move anywhere permanently from my home. Last spring we stayed in Paris for two months which was very nice, but I think two months was enough for us then. We have lived in our current home for seven years so we are quite settled here.

Your ideal weekend is spent...

My ideal weekend would be sailing trip to some little island, I would swim in the sea and just observe the nature. But in Finland there are not that many months in the year when you can actually do that, so in the spring, autumn and winter I would do something else outdoors with my family, and maybe meet some friends.

Can you describe your interiors style to us?

Natural, functional, simple, a bit rough. We choose new things carefully but we don’t like our home to look too designed, and I don’t like to think of decorating as a hobby. The interior can progress slowly while our needs and ideas take shape. We have quite many things that I and my husband have made, for example ceramics and furniture.

As a creative person do you do any other crafts asides from print design and illustration?

I do ceramics, I knit, sometimes I sew.

You must be asked about what inspires you all the time, we want to know WHO inspires you in your work and life?

My family. And I also have very inspiring colleagues who are my friends. My husband is a graphic designer and illustrator and we share out studio, so we constantly inspire, motivate, criticise and comment on each others work.

Tell us where it all started and what you felt at that time?

I’m a freelance illustrator and designer and I think it all started when I was a very little child, I have been drawing ever since I can remember. I just kept drawing and in the end turned it into a profession.

Your last project was...

I have usually many things going on at the same time. The last projects I finished I think were some prints for Marimekko and a new book for Wide Eyed Editions that will be called First Words, Art Charts.

What do you love about designing/illustrating?

I love being able to challenge myself, I love to evoke feelings and thoughts in people and I just love drawing and painting.

Does children's illustration interest you in particular?

Yes, I remember dreaming of illustrating children’s books when I was quite young. I love good children’s books, I think it’s extremely important that there are well designed books available for children.

How did your work with Wide Eyed come about?

My publisher Rachel William contacted me and asked if I would be interested in making books with them.

Do you have advice for aspiring illustrators or designers?

I believe you can achieve a lot if you work very hard, don't look at or think about what others do too much and find your own way of doing things. Being original is important.

Huge thanks to Aino-Maija Metsola for lending us her time and for the images courtesy of herself and her husband Georgi Eremenko.


Aino-Maija Metsola's amazing baby and toddler books are available from Smallprint now,  - Traffic Jam Puzzle Book, Animal Parade Puzzle Book, Colours and Counting.

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