EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with Jirka Väätäinen

Photo: Jirka Väätäinen Jirka Väätäinen, a Finnish graphic student, made impressive real-life images of Disney princesses which we love!...

Jirka Väätäinen, a Finnish graphic student, made impressive real-life images of Disney princesses which we love! Read on for more photos and our interview with him!

Hi Jirka! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I am a 22 year-old guy originally from Finland, now studying Graphic Design full time in Bournemouth, UK.

How long have you been studying graphic design for?
This is my third year of studying Graphic Design at the Arts University College at Bournemouth and I am looking to graduate in the summer.

Tiana from 'The Princess and the Frog', personal work.

Pocahontas, personal work.

We saw your photo manipulation work on (notably) the Disney princesses. What made you want to make real-live versions of the characters?
I have always been interested in character design, as well as the way people look real and what makes them unique. So I guess I just wanted to explore that. Disney characters are something that I grew up with, so it made sense to challenge myself by bringing them to life. All for fun of course.

Aurora from 'Sleeping Beauty', personal work.

Ariel from 'The Little Mermaid', personal work.

Jasmine from 'Aladdin', personal work.

Can you tell us who you've referred to create the real-life Disney characters?
I have referred to close to a hundred people now, celebrities and what not. I don't base the characters on only one real person, so I end up going through a lot of photos to find the perfect mix of inspiration for my characters. Some of them do end up sharing a likeness with my original influence, for example people do always notice Jasmine's likeness to Kim Kardashian, by whose features I was some what inspired.

'Orient', personal work.

Your portfolio looks amazing! Are there any clients you've dealt with?
Thank you so much! Yes, I have been working for various clients for almost two years now, and continue to do so as much as my university work allows me to.

'Arctic Whale Tours', commissioned work.

Who or what is/are your biggest inspiration of design?
That's a difficult one. I guess I just take my inspiration where ever I can, not limiting that to any artist or style.

'Political Postcard', university assignment.

A visual system for Models.com, university assignment.

Finally, let's move on to some fun questions: If you had to work with one color, what would it be?
Even though it might not be considered a colour, I would have to say black. There's a sense of drama and sophistication in that colour.

Any pet peeves?
People assuming I'm a female if they only see my name.

What would you do if you had a lot of money to spend on?
I would pay back all my University loans!

Jirka Väätäinen's blog
Jirka Väätäinen on Facebook
Jirka Väätäinen on Behance

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