Finnish Comics – 1


I live in Finland and in Finland there is a huge comics culture. I got involved through a place called the Comics Center, or rather the Sarjakuvakeskus as you would say in Finnish ( . It is a hive of people giving workshops for children and adults, with a cafe, a gallery and a place to work and meet new people. They have a huge festival once a year with guests, panels and people travelling from all over to participate. They also have a huge section called Pienlehtitaivas or Small Press Heaven where anyone who has printed comics or wants to can get a table for free and hock their wares. Everyone from webcomics to indy comics to people who draw fanart come.

One of these talented individuals from Finland is a friend of mine who I met through the Comics Center. She is a wonderful person who I greatly respect and I admire her for her perseverance in doing what she wants to do.

I now open the floor  to Kukka! (Which means flower by the way.)

  1. Who are you and where do you live?

Hi there! My name is Kukka-Maria Aurora Kiuru, I’m a visual designer and comic maker. Currently I live in Helsinki, Finland. At the moment I’m in the process on publishing my first graphic novel (Noin satatuhatta solmua/A Hundred Thousand Knots) and working with Blue Boots comic strip and character project.


  1. How did you start making comics?

Since a kid I’ve always read Aku Ankka, Nakke Nakuttaja, Liisa aku20ankkaIhmemaassa and Rasmus Nalle comics besides countles other picture books. I also drew a lot since I was 2 or 3 and Disney, Peanuts and Warner Bros animations and characters were my inspiration. As an early teenager I found Sokal, Comes, Pratt and Loisel from my local library and something got started. From those comics I found something visually so facinating that didn’t exist anywhere else or in any other form. Also the stories were better than in Aku Ankka. If I remember right I did my first comic when I was sixteen. It’s a large sunday strip format and it’s about a dog called Laina (Loan). It was a good moment – to be able to tell a story, illustrate it and make it fit in a single piece of paper BY YOURSELF.

After that I drew comics for our anthology called 66°:25°, issues II-V, while studying art and design in University of Lapland during 2002-2006. Then there was years that I only worked and lost the connection to drawind and myself, but I started drawing again in 2012. Something opened and I realized that there was something coming out from me and that was Blue Boots (Siniset saappaat in finnish). Blue Boots came to stay. It’s a comic strip and a story about a former animal-testing beagle who survivers outside world only by wearing the boots. There’s no cursing, mocking or violence in Blue Boots. It’s a safe place and I’m so glad it came to my

I think it came when it came because quite soon after I needed a safe place while I was working with my autobiographical graphic novel about alopecia, being a bald girl and woman. Process of writing and drawing was difficult because I had to face things that I thought I had already left behind.

It took time to allow to call myself a comic artist but now I look back and hey; four anthologies, one self-publication, one group exhibition in Pictoplasma, another coming up next month, a bunch of characters, several short animation scripts, a blog and graphic novel coming up soon.


  1. What inspires you?

Animals and art supplies. Flora and Fauna. Seagulls. I love seagulls. Outdoor life. Experiencing something for the first time. And in art supplies stores I can spends hours. Playing with stuff is a great source of inspiration.


  1. What materials do you use?

For my graphic art mostly acrylics, experimental tools, like ice scraper and such, and different surfaces. For digital experiments 3D and illustrator/photoshop combo.

For my comics it’s always the same. For sketching Faber Castells blue Polychromos crayons, Faber Castell Perfection 7056 and 188121 erasers and copypaper. For inking Talens Indian Ink, few different nibs or Sakuras Pigma Microns and for coloring Faber Castells Pitt big brush pens. Originals are drawn to Schoellershammers Markespapier 75g/m2 or Fabrianos Bristol 250g/m2. I love good materials.

I play with different pens and find different characters with help of them. I have a nice collection of both. Some of the newest characters, a bobcat twins called Ludwig and Sara, were born by sketching UniPosca markers. Sometimes feel and trace of pens really inspires to certain kind of characters.

  1. What is your favourite personal project?

Blue Boots.


  1. What do you do when your creativity has run out?


  1. What are you doing now?

Preparing a exhibition piece for our Monstradamus Show in Berlin, White Concept Gallery. We have a multinational collective called We Dance Like Monsters and we met in Pictoplasma Academy in 2014. We’re 27 people in 24 countries and we love characters.2268690-4256427608_b6e045702f

  1. What is your favourite beer? Because Beer.

Karhu of course. Because of simple illustrated

  1. What is your favourite comic?

Peanuts and Corto Maltese. My grandmothers maiden name was schultz by the way 🙂

  1. Any advice for people trying to make their own comic?

Take long walks by yourself. Carry your pens and notebooks with you. Eat lunch alone and pay attention to other living creatures. Write the scripts before you start to draw. Draw by hands and try out different materials. Good idea can take years but just start somewhere. Start with something small. Be happy about it.


And finally how can we look at your work?

Blue Boots blog:

Blue Boots in facebook:

My portfolio and information about the upcoming graphic novel:

(I’ll most probably make a blog about the book and write also blog posts about being bald woman.)

Instargram: kukka_m_kiuru

We Dance Like Monsters:


Thank You!

Comic Review: Levi Levi and the Time Machine

LLTimeMachine001CoverI’m happy to say that today I’m doing a review of a fun webcomic called Levi Levi and the Time Machine by LeEtta Schmidt aka leemsmachine.

LeEtta, the writer and artist of this comic, is an incredibly talented creator. Her website which displays her plethora of art which ranges from crafts, drawings, comics and fabric is well put together.

Levi Levi and the Time Machine is also well put together. Levi Levi, (that’s his full name by the way) according to his creator ‘ runs a detective agency/project manager consultant/anything you need fixer. He’s happiest when he’s on a job, and, when he’s not, needs someone to keep him in line.’  He is a dashing young man whose manner and willingness to get wrapped up in a mystery helps to draw you into the story from the beginning. Cute and easy to read, the comic’s art is wonderful, keeping the reader invested in wanting to know how it all ends.


The artwork is heavily stylized, the initial use of green, empty white space and heavy black lines reminding me of something akin to Dick Tracy, although the storyline more imitates Dirk Gently’s mysterious ways. If you liked reading about Douglas Adam’s detective then you’ll enjoy this story just as much.

The handwritten speech bubbles give it a down to earth slightly gritty tone that adds to the overall feeling of the story.

The change of art to show a different time period is fantastic and very well done, showing forethought by the artist and making the entire project feel more complete.

In my opinion this wonderful comic ends much too soon! There is so much potential for more story development including new lines of detective work. Some questions are not answered which leaves me hankering for more. I wanted to see what more trouble Levi Levi would get into and was very interested in seeing how his relationships developed with the other characters, but it seems for the moment what’s there is what you get.

Overall it’s a great little comic and I enjoyed reading it a lot. Some pages are just beautiful and it’s definitely worth a read! On top of that I’ve found that all of LeEtta Schmit’s work is worth looking into!

Check out LeEtta’s Esty shop!


The Creative Life: Juggling a million and one things (and how to make a shirt covered in pockets)

Hello, my name is Geneva and I’m a compulsive creative project maker. I’m one of those Renaissance women who have their sticky fingers in many different pots. I’m a Dancer, an Artist, a massage therapist and more. I usually end up giving people who meet me the first time a long list when they ask me the dreaded question, “And what do you do?” It usually starts off with giving them a wan smile in return, sighing and saying, “Well…”

I always feel a sense of embarrassment mixed with pride. I’m proud of all the things that I can do, but to some degree it’s embarrassing that I’m not satisfied just doing one thing.

I currently live in Helsinki, Finland although I grew up in California with a bunch of awesome creative friends. We would do all sorts of stupid things together. For example once to make a point as to how shitty the weather was we brought deck chairs, a fake sun and palm tree, cans of pineapples as well as a ukulele,  to have lunch in the corridor together. We were all wonderfully weird and proud of it. I think we still all are.

So, I’m creative. Great. The problem is, is that I tend to have usually more than one Project going on at once. The keyword Project has always been a part of my life. I’m sure other people also have projects, plans and all sorts of things that they work on in their lives in their spare time when they’re not at their job. I know most of my friends are jugglers, trying to balance work with the fun things that they wish to do to keep themselves sane. I find that I always need to be creating. It annoys the hell out of my girlfriend, (She says she loves it but would really like there to be less…stuff…around the house) that I always have something on my mind. My brain will usually be contemplating one of the many current projects that I have on standby. Sometimes it’s hard to just do nothing. It’s my greatest challenge although it’s amazing how Facebook can help with that…

My current ‘Projects’ are ranked roughly in the following order of priority: (Does anyone else do this??)

1. Dance Performance (Actual work)
2. The book I’ve been writing since high school
3. My Croquis Course (I organize it and lead it)
4. Comic number 1
5. Comic number 2
6. Colouring book
7. Comic number 3
8. Jewellery making

(Note: I also usually have work but right now it’s summer so I’m more free to do my own crazy things.)

My focus tends to change pretty fast, putting one project on standby to work on another to later switch to something else when my creativity for that particular project runs dry. I’m one of those annoying people who are always ‘busy’. Usually when I’m ‘busy’ it’s because I’ve been watching The Hobbit all day and sewing a shirt for a costume, or editing music, working in Photoshop or doing any sorts of other things that keep me occupied. Being ‘busy’ is me being not bored. Even though it can be difficult, it is possible for me to stop what I’m doing and go socialize.

So with my introduction of how frickin’ crazy I am, out of the way, I’ve been working on a costume for the Dance Performance (at the top of the list) that was I asked to do about a week and a half before the actual show. So I’ve been having to come up with a fifteen minute Dance Performance out of my ass. It is something which both scares the shit out of me as well as excites me. It’s going to be fun even if it doesn’t go spectacularly.

So, planning needed to happen. I have a plethora of costumes, some of which I’ve made myself and some which I’ve happened to pick up along the way. For the moment I’ve decided to go with this dress.

Geneva RH Dress     I’ve used in in past performances and it’s just awesome. It’s very…large.

But, as much fun as it would be to faff around in a dress for fifteen minutes it doesn’t have any development as a performance and despite my own confidence in my prowess as an artist I fear the possibility of what’s going on getting old really fast. The attention span of people these days are rather short.

I needed another idea. I’ve been working with dreams and memories in most of my projects and the dress I chose to use has played a big part in those themes so I figured let’s roll with that. I started to ask everyone to send me their dreams and eventually I had fifteen short dreams on colourful bits of paper. All ready to be given out. My idea was to hand these dreams out to the audience as little mini presents, a memory of the entire festival. It’s a great idea but the problem was that I had no way to carry them. Thus enter the shirt to wear under the dress with fifteen pockets made out of socks. I’m a problem solver.

I like to sew everything by hand because I like the look of slightly messy and very visible stitches. (As an example to my dedication I sewed the dress entirely by hand. I’m nuts. Really.)


Find your shirt.

This one had a hole in the side and I’ve used it to wear under the dress before, so thus shirt found. blankshirt

Choose your fabric.

I have this box of scrap fabric filled with single socks, old socks with holes, single gloves, and well normal scrap fabric. I’m a fabric whore. This is just the crappy small things not on gigantic rolls… I choose Socks!sockpile20150718_001

Make your patterns.

I drew mine from hand on paper then cut them out. I made three sizes! Options!Turn your socks (if they are socks) inside out and draw your pattern onto the fabric, then cut them out!20150718_002patternsandpockets

Pin them onto your shirt.

I put it on and looked in the mirror to figure out where the hell I wanted them to go, considering that I wanted them on the sleeves, my mannequin wasn’t going to be of much help. It’s also good to be aware of where your elbow bends when choosing where to put the pockets.  pinnedpinned2

Watch something on your small ass computer and sew all pockets! I did 15.

I also have my little dreams already ready inside the pockets.

20150718_011 20150719_007 20150719_006 20150719_005

As a nerd, sometimes I enjoy dressing in a rather eclectic fashion. I usually wear large earrings that I’ve made myself, happy to tell them when I someone tells me that they like them. I have to say that this shirt itself is pretty cool and could totally be used for every day excursions into the real world. It’s definitely more exciting now. Might even get a few compliments.

For the performance, I still need to figure out the music and other bits and bobs that I will be adding 20150719_004from my arsenal of shit that I’ve made, but hopefully I’ll be able to put something together that’s worth watching.

Now you can go and make your own extra cool pocket shirt! Just for shits and giggles! Imagine all the cool nerdy ways this could be made! AHH.

Oh no, I might start adding pockets to all my clothes. Shit, what have I done!?