Arizona Coyote

by Essi Kimpimäki

I have always been really into nature documentaries and books with photos of people and places from all over the world. I love imagining how life might be in those far away places and strange landscapes, and naturally this is also a big source of inspiration for me. I know I’ll never manage to visit all those places, so in some way drawing them has become the second best thing, allowing me to travel to these foreign lands in my mind. While researching for a piece I get to look at photos of all these wonderful places and imagine how it would feel like to be there. And that is also my aim, to create images that will hopefully convey the atmosphere and feel of the place, and take the viewer there.

The inspiration for this piece came from an old book from the Life Nature Library series that I’ve found in a charity shop. When I’m looking for inspiration, I sometimes take these books out and browse through them, just looking at the beautiful photographs. Internet can of course be a never-ending source of visual inspiration, but sometimes it can also get too overwhelming when you don’t even know what you’re looking for, so I feel that it’s often easier to get started with something more contained, like a book.

There are always some photos that for whatever reason really catch my eye – for this illustration, it was this old and grainy (the book is from the ’60s!) photo of a desert during a hail storm. The photo doesn’t have much else than some cacti and bushes and sky in it, but there’s something about it that I find super captivating. I don’t want to replicate any existing locations exactly as they are, that’s not the point at all, for me it’s more about imagination and the ambience of a place. I love how an illustration can take you into another world, I think sometimes even better than any photograph can. So based on this photograph, I started doing research and drawings of plants and animals that live there, trying to find a way to simplify the scenery while still maintaining that mysterious desert feeling.

There have been moments when I’ve felt that maybe my illustrations should be deeper, more thought provoking, in order to be meaningful. However, now I think that as long as you yourself feel connected to the work you’re creating, and the inspiration behind it means something to you, then that’s absolutely enough! And the chances are that if you feel passionate about your art, it might evoke emotions in other people too.

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