Recent work and a few words about pricing and mentoring

Recent work and a few words about pricing and mentoring

It’s been way too long since my last update, but I have good reasons: I’ve had so much work the past 10 months!

During the Autumn 2018 I started work with a film project, and it is still not finished, although the ending is in sight now. I joined a team making five short films about medieval times in Finland, Ostrobothnia to be more precise. I’m illustrating the films, and as soon as they are out on the web, I’ll tell you more about them.

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Helena and the bear. From the first film in the series.

In January I joined an amazing company called MiTale, where I will be doing Narrative Design. We are continuing the work with a speech therapy application, that we started already in 2015. But we are also cooking up some other very exciting narrative games, playing around with mixed reality, and visual storytelling is our focus. I’ve found my creative home and my team, and finally I get to realize my dreams about working with visual storytelling and games.

Parts of our team took part in the Energy Hackathon in Turku last weekend, and we got an honorary mention, especially for the narrative design of our game concept and presentation! This felt very encouraging for the future.

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Taru, the main character in our game concept at Energy Hackathon 2019.

I am also particularly proud of being part of a book project: editing, illustrating and designing the book We see you. The book contains texts by thirty writers with different backgrounds and their experiences with being refugees, asylum seekers or being engaged with volunteering or human rights. The book was published in the end of March 2019, and the other two editors and I are now doing interviews and visits at events talking about the book. I hope the book will spread out and be read by many.

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Book cover, We see you, Schildts & Söderströms 2019.

For me personally it is very important that my work reflects my values, and currently human rights and the climate crisis are the two most important challenges we have. All of my work is connected in different ways to these two issues.

I am still welcoming new projects, and especially if you are interested in collaborating with MiTale. If you are interested in working with me as an illustrator, I am interested in hearing about your project. But since I have no acute need for more work at the moment I only take on very special projects, and they also need to be well financed.

I have also updated my pricing (and I still believe being open about it is the best way to go!): My hourly wage for illustration, graphic design, writing or consultations is 75 euro / hour (+ 24 % VAT).

When it comes to talks and workshops it is now possible to book me through Läscentrum/Lukukeskus (information in Swedish)!

However, if you are a young aspiring artist, feel free to contact me! I am open to mentoring, and love to help people out in this tough business… I try to answer all requests, and also if you are in Turku, a lunch meeting is a fun way to pick my brain 😉

And as always, if you want to contact me, send an email to jennykwiik@gmail.com

Have a great summer!

Those who do not move, do not notice their chains

Those who do not move, do not notice their chains

That is a quote by Rosa Luxemburg, and since I saw it last year I have been thinking it is very descriptive of my attitude towards life. I move on and I need to be free. I also keep creating new things.

It’s time for a blog update, enjoy because they don’t come very often, haha!

Last Spring I finished work on the Literature game I was working on with a writer and a programmer, and a larger team of experts and support organizations. The game itself will be launched next month, so I will write more about it later. I have been using this experience of co-creating a serious game for my Master’s thesis in Service Design, that I hope to complete this Autumn. The thesis writing got delayed because I simply had too much work and big changes in my personal life in the Spring to focus on it. But now it is moving onward.

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A visualization of the thesis process

I also have a new studio and work space from July onwards. It feels amazing to have a large room all to myself.. white walls to fill with ideas and works in progress. But the funny thing is that I currently mostly work digitally, so I still sit cooped up in one corner of the room with my laptop. I hope I can take time to paint more at some point and really use the space that I have now.

My current large project is illustrating a history book. So far the work and collaboration with the writer, AD and editor has been amazing and so much fun. But also hard work. The past week I have put in hours on creating an old 17th century map. It really brought out my perfectionist streak when it comes to visual design…

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Searching for the right style for the history book – some fictional parts of the text bring out nature and animals…

 

Meanwhile I am also doing the layout of another easy to read adaptation of the Moomin books, and drawing simple illustrations for a web based language learning material.

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I also really enjoy drawing in this simple and colorful style 🙂

And as always some exciting and very secret projects are bubbling under and moving along in their own pace in my mind and together with some awesome people (usually it’s writers). What I have noticed over the years is that what I really love about illustration is that it is collaborative. I get inspired by others, by meeting new people, and forming new work partnerships. They shape me and push me into new directions, and I hope they feel the same excitement I do when we work towards creating something new together.

So. Moving forward with renewed energy and passion for my work.

Concept Illustrations – My Little Light

Concept Illustrations – My Little Light

Last summer I worked on illustrations for one of my personal projects – an art game/visual novel-kind of thing. It has been on a break the whole of autumn, but I took some time now to finish up 10 of the images. The project is still very open and developing organically. I’m not sure what the end result is going to be, but I want the story to be a branching narrative, where the reader can choose between different paths. But I think I at least have the visual style ready. For now, the project will take a rest again, and I will see when I have more time to develop it further (since I have some very exciting other projects this Spring to focus on). The next task would be to finish the script completely. And I noticed that while making the illustrations, I felt a need to change the story too. So the two elements of text and visuals are going to develop together.

Summer of serious games

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It is time for a summer update, before I take a small Midsummer break from work (and I mean small, just a few days; I don’t have time or need for a longer vacation this year – my passion for my work and business burning a hole in my belly).

From March to the beginning of June I worked mostly with a group of special education children in an afternoon club. This was a new experience for me, and I learned very much about myself and about what children like this need. And of course, getting to know these wonderful kids was a huge privilege. I will miss them. A lot of the observations I made will be very useful when I continue working with serious games.

So, serious games, that is my focus from June and onwards. I have started working on a Literature game with a team of teachers and educators. I also got some experience in recruiting, as I was able to find and lure in the perfect candidate for the technical implementation of the game. The plan is to go with pixel art on this one, and I am looking forwards to creating the graphics and visual feel of this fun project. It will continue on in the Autumn, and the goal is to present a demo in January.

I am also focusing on my own art game, that I received a grant for in March. The image in this post is one of the first background images for this game. The game starts with a stormy ocean… a very symbolic image for me personally. It also represents my emotional life this year. This is something I aim to truly live up to: my art and work living in symbiosis with experiences and emotions in my private life and in the way I experience world events. The working title for the art game is “My Little Light”, and it is about survival on a symbolic level. But the background for the story lies in the harsh reality of the political situation in Europe today – the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding, and that is so disastrously and shamefully dealt with in my part of the world. I will present the project more in depth in August, when I plan to have a demo ready. I am quite nervous about developing this game, because of the political undertones, but I will just have to trust myself and go ahead and do the best I can.

Speaking of a demo: I will be developing the game myself in html/css/javascript, while I attend Boost Turku’s Summer of Programming. I was very happy to be accepted to the study program that is being run by volunteers (I salute you, I am so amazed at people who will give their free time to teach others), and I have already been working my way through the CodeSchool assignments for three weeks. I can really recommend CodeSchool, it is very rewarding to go through the exercises, and you learn new things with ease. So 23rd August we have a demo day, and I will be presenting my game project there. I feel extremely motivated at the moment, and happy to finally learn more about programming. It is definitely something that I will want to develop further in the future in connection to my focus on serious games.

I am also writing on my Master’s thesis in Leadership and Service Design, now with a focus on the three serious game projects I am working on, touching on the areas of art, learning and health. My hope is also to say something about the future of the industry, and of course, securing a place in the industry for myself.

I am also still doing graphic design for books, one project is very soon finished. I am now doing the last rounds of corrections in the script. Hopefully I will get more book design projects in the future also, as it is very rewarding work.

As always: If you have some interesting collaboration ideas for me, or freelance gigs, please get in touch! For example by sending me an e-mail: jennykwiik [at] gmail.com

Currently I am also interested in hearing about social entrepreneurship projects and specifically things that have to do with refugees, asylum seekers or climate and green values…