Berlin-based illustrator Riikka Laakso has created this screenprinted zine using sparse colour palettes and simple linework. The book’s title, Tove on Klovharu, alludes to Moomin author Tove Jansson and the time she spent on Klovharu, an island off the coast of Porvoo in Finland, which the author called home for 30 years.
“It’s not only about Tove, but more about a melancholic thought of myself, and what living on this island could look and feel like,” explains Riikka. “I was born in Finland but have lived the last 20 years in Germany, so I think nostalgia was a big inspiration for this publication.”
In the zine, Riikka illustrates the day-to-day activities of island life and shifts from large scenes of beachy landscapes and gridded steam rooms to closer cropped details like a happy cat and an abandoned easel.
In previous projects, Riikka has used lino printing as her preferred technique but here she challenged herself by screenprinting the whole zine. “I usually really enjoy the manual printing process, but this time it was more a collaboration with Re:Surgo, a Berlin-based gallery who printed it at their studio in the end,” says Riikka. “I love the printing process as a whole, all that physical work, the smell of the printed colours and the moment of surprise when you see the final print. I really love that!”
Riikka describes her style as something between “2D and linear, controlled and intuitive and digital and analogue”. It’s this slight ambiguity that keeps the viewer engaged and charmed by the illustrator’s uncomplicated storytelling.