‘I draw on the floor, not at the desk.

The critical me won’t start telling to do this or that.’

Liisa Kallio


I feel that many artists are most revealed in their drawings, where sensitivities to pressure, breadth and speed can create lines that leap in transcendent gravitation or dig deeply like a plow into wet clay. A simplest drawing can tell you a lot about the artist and his or her ways of seeing the world.


Liisa Kallio, Gravitation, 2020, charcoal on paper.


Drawing is one of the best ways through which a human being can give shape to his or her thoughts and emotions. It is a process of materializing one’s personal observations. Through drawings, your imagination and thoughts start to exist in a real world. They are no more in your mind but in front of your eyes and can be seen by the rest of the world. What is best in drawing is that it’s open to everyone—artistic skill and expensive tools are optional. It is simple, powerful and fast. This is where the curator comes in.

Masters thesis of curator Anastasia Isakova is a great thesis. It’s called Dark Lines. Works by Ian Bourgeot. Arkadia International Bookshop, 5.11.-12.12.2015. After reading it, everything I have seen in art theory courses became even more trivial then they were before to me. It is a story of a drawing based exhibition Dark Lines and it’s curator’s active personal engagement in the artist Ian Bourgeot‘s artistic work and life. Learn more about his work here

Our hands and eyes are profoundly connected, but in the Yoga Series (2019), Liisa Kallio has consciously forgotten about the act of looking and explored instead the connection between physical experience and drawing, by capturing her first impressions after a yoga session. ‘It’s been a very significant discovery how the experience of drawing is formed in the body. The sense of touch begins somewhere deep inside and flows to your hands,’ she describes. When you’re in a sensible and open state while drawing, also your illustrations can breathe, be open and leave room for interpretation and thought. Not pointing, depicting, or explaining.



Today I’ve let my mind fly to the past.

I learned to love drawing already as a child thanks to my parents.  I spent a lot of time drawing together with my dad, who used to buy us the most colorful markers and watercolor sets. My father actively observed his environment, especially people, in his working place and at home by drawing, and my portrait below is drawn by him. Later, as a young art student,  I grew to appreciate the drawing medium even more. One teacher who had an impact far beyond the classroom was Markku Hakuri, who was not only a teacher, but an awakener. Learn more about his work here



For the past three years I’ve had the great privilege of working with many great illustrators—among them, the experimental and inspiring drawers Emmi Jormalainen, Anna Sailamaa, Marika Maijala and Liisa Kallio.

They all use drawing to access the unconscious; a method you could call “free drawing”. The process is similar to free writing. They are able to draw without a goal. This open thought brings forth imagery that you could not find without an undeveloped approach. I greatly admire this talent in them, because it means you stop letting yourself be limited by goals—even the idea of having concrete, achievable goals seem to be deeply ingrained in our time.


‘I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for lies.’

Le Corbusier



Further reading:

Drawing. A blog designed to help students think about how to contextualise drawing within a Fine Art practice.

Isakova, Anastasia: Dark Lines. Works by Ian Bourgeot. Arkadia International Bookshop, 5.11.-12.12.2015. Master’s Thesis. Praxis Master’s Programme. Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki 28.1.2018

Johnson, Robert Flynn and William Boyd: Anonymous: Enigmatic Images from Unknown Photographs. Thames & Hudson. 2004.

Wilkinson, Chris: Thinking Through Drawing. Essay. The Architectural Drawing. Nov 4, 2016.