Beloved, multi-artistic Marika Maijala is Illustrator of the Year 2024


Marika Maijala (b. 1974 in Haapajärvi) has been selected as Illustrator of the Year 2024. This is the sixth time that the Finnish Illustration Association (Kuvittajat ry) is awarding this recognition, which is the biggest prize in the Finnish illustration industry. The prize, worth €10,000, is funded from the copyright remunerations collected by Kopiosto. The Illustrator of the Year is chosen by an expert jury convened by the association and composed of different members each year. This year’s jury consisted of illustrator, graphic designer and AD Sofia Pusa, Illustrator of the Year 2023 Antti Kalevi, Senior Lecturer of graphic design Marion Robinson, graphic designer and AD Tuukka Tujula and Programme Manager at the Finnish Institute in Stockholm Hilla Tuominen. Producer Veera Pekkinen acted as secretary of the jury.

According to the jury, Marika Maijala’s distinctive, unique visual language and casual line delight viewers time and time again, and her work has resonated with friends of children’s books around the world. The translation rights to the books, published by Etana Editions, a publishing house founded by Jenni Erkintalo and Réka Király, have already been sold to the United States, France, Italy, Spain and South Korea. Maijala has illustrated books by such authors as Hannu MäkeläTuula KallioniemiEssi KummuRiikka Ala-Harja and Juha Virta, in addition to writing and illustrating three picture books of her own. Her latest works include illustrations for the walls of the children’s psychiatric ward at Satasairaala Hospital, built in Pori in 2023, and illustrations for the website of the Kone Foundation.

The new Illustrator of the Year will be celebrating her 50th birthday in June. She lives in Suomenlinna, works on the Harakka Island, is currently studying at the Free Art School and plays in a band. She has previously won e.g. the Rudolf Koivu award in 2008 and 2018, the State Award for Illustration Art in 2020 and the Grafia Gold Top Award in 2016 and 2023.

Despite all her merits, winning the Illustrator of the Year 2024 award still came as a surprise to Maijala. She is delighted by the recognition given by her colleagues, which allows her to continue to focus on her artistic work. Marika Maijala’s award exhibition will be on display in the Ahjo Gallery at the Espoo Cultural Centre in November and December.

The winner of the award was announced on the evening of 29 May, at the spring celebration of the Finnish Illustration Association in Lauttasaari.

Further information:

Veera Pekkinen, Producer & Curator, Finnish Illustration Association 

tel. +358 44 775 0509 (weekdays 12 noon – 5 pm)