Kuvittaja Riku Ounaslehto

Illustrator of Stoori mobile library Riku Ounaslehto is inspired by fantasy worlds

Illustrator, pattern designer and graphic artist Riku Ounaslehto, originally from Rovaniemi and now living in Helsinki, has designed the new fairytale-like illustrations of the new Stoori mobile library in Helsinki. A qualified visual artisan and graphic artist, Ounaslehto’s dream work is designing illustrations and patterns. His style is full of detail, and his favourite motifs include animals and plants, which are also featured in Stoori’s illustrations.

Illustrating a mobile library was a pleasant challenge for Ounaslehto.

“This is one of my largest works, although my illustrations have been included in large ad banners, and I’ve even painted a few murals in Rovaniemi. It’s exhilarating to think that my illustrations are in constant motion through the city.”

The inspiration for Stoori’s illustrations came from a diverse range of children’s literature, which fascinates both children and adults. In addition to literature, animations by Hayao Miyazaki also provided inspiration. In the mobile library, Ounaslehto wanted to combine the fantasy worlds of children’s literature and animations with urban nature.

“The scenes contain hints of the seaside metropolitan area. The entrance side provides an introduction to the world of plants through a tablet. The other side depicts dreams of flying. Looking at the illustration, you notice that the yard animals intrigued by books have been stealthily joined by rare monkeys and even some fantastical creatures,” Ounaslehto explains, describing the Stoori illustrations.

The illustrator values the library.

“The library is sometimes like the extension of a living room or workstation. For years, I’ve had the habit of going to a library to work if I’ve needed a change of scenery. In addition to borrowing books, I sometimes use the other services, as well. Next, I need to digitise some of the old home videos of my childhood, and this can be done in a library.”

The young illustrator has already achieved much during his career: In addition to Stoori, Ounaslehto has created a design for Walt Disney Company, as well as Stockmann’s winter holiday artwork and the anniversary designs for the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. There are also many interesting things happening in the future.

“A lot of wonderful things are coming up this autumn and next year, which I need to keep secret for a while. I’ll finish a small collection of new designs soon. In addition to that, I’m designing a unique wallpaper for my friends’ house!”

The world of Riku Ounaslehto’s illustrations and designs can also be interpreted through his own favourite books.

“Tolkien’s fantasy world absorbed me as a kid, and The Hobbit is a good place to start. I have the version illustrated by Tove Jansson, who is one of my great favourites as an illustrator, writer and visual artist. Another older gem of children’s literature is the Korppi novel series by Jukka Parkkinen, which I discovered a few years ago and own as a collection. I also collect bird books since they’re my favourite animals.”

You can reserve the books recommended by Ounaslehto to be picked up from the new Stoori mobile library, among other places!

Read more about Stoori mobile library >

Text: Soila Leppäkangas

Image: Riku Ounaslehto