Olli-Pekka Jauhiainen is based in Helsinki, Finland, and he has experience of creating work mainly in print and illustration, as well as website design and coding, including CSS, PHP and Flash. The 26-year-old is currently finishing his studies for the TAMK university of applied science, where he specializes in digital media. A prolific designer, Do Not Cross This Line is one of his recent pieces.


“I created this piece for Evokeone’s ( online art exhibition, which was released in summer 2008,” says Olli-Pekka. “The exhibition theme was Unity, so I got this idea of human bodies connected to each others with some nature elements involved. The concept is about the relationship between human and nature. We as humans should be more concerned about the wealth of the nature because without it, humans won’t survive.”


“I wanted to do a colourful and surrealistic piece that contained a lot of painting, so Salvador Dalí’s work inspired me,” says Olli-Pekka. “I usually get my ideas when I’m not sitting at my computer and this wasn’t an exception. I remember seeing a hot-air balloon on the sky and that’s how it all started to build up in my mind.”


“I didn’t do that much pre-work for this piece, apart from finding good human stock images in different positions,” says Olli-Pekka. “Human bodies are from the excellent stock photo library Marcus Ranum ( Some of reference photos and the background stock are from Stock.xchng ( Stock images are used to build up the main elements, but everything else just comes along in progress. I don’t do sketching that often, but when I do, the final piece is always quite different compared to the sketch I made before starting. I have noticed it’s very useful to keep a notebook and pencil with you, so you can write down all the ideas and finally adapt the best of them to the piece.”


“The first thing I did was the creation of the main forms,” says Olli-Pekka. “The next phase was adding the bodies and blending them into the main forms. After I got these right I started painting the rest. When all elements were in place, I paid attention to details and added the background. I was bit unsure about the background, so it was made in the end. Finally, I made some adjustments to get the light and shadow right.”


“Work in high resolution and zoomed in close so you get the best detail. This will take more time, but you’ll be rewarded at the end. Remember, patience is a virtue.”

1. The background
“Actually, the background was the easiest part of the image, but at the same time the hardest part, as it was difficult to get the right background to fit the image,” reveals Olli-Pekka. “I tried many different backgrounds before I ended up using this one, so that really was a challenge. I used a stock photo for this, so the easiest part was getting it right by using adjustment layers such as levels, colour balance and the channel mixer. I also used the Blur and Sharpen tools on some parts to make the details more visible and give a bit more depth to it.”

2. Image elements
“Most of the elements are painted, but some of them are stock photos that I manipulated and then painted over to get them to fit the overall style better,” says Olli-Pekka. “The pelican was made this way, while the balloon and its cage were both painted by zooming in closely on the object. I actually made the balloon and cage much bigger at first, and then resized them to the current size. “The ants were made this way as well – and I used the Dodge and Burn tool to give more depth to the elements. For the sunlight rays, I made strokes coming from the light source and then added Gaussian Blur to them in different percentage and opacity values. I also played with blending modes to get the right effect. The biggest challenge here was getting the light strokes and perspective right.”

3. Central forms
The main central forms were made with Photoshop’s Pen tool, says Olli- Pekka. “To get the bodies blended with the forms, I used mainly adjustment layers to get the colour and the lightning to match, and the painting and clone tools to get rid of the unwanted spots or edges. “After I got these right I started to paint other forms such as the grass, water, and snakes. I mostly painted zoomed in to 300 per cent to get good details. Most of the painting was done with default round brushes, with adjustments to the opacity, flow and hardness settings. “At the start, I had already decided that the main light source would be in the top-right corner, so when making the elements I needed to remember to keep the light direction in mind. So after I got one element painted, I used the Burn and Dodge tool to boost the shadows and lighting if it seemed necessary. The biggest challenge here was getting the lighting right without burning or dodging the elements too much,” adds Olli-Pekka.

4. The painterly style
“I used Photoshop’s default round brushes to keep the soft, painted feel on surfaces,” says Olli-Pekka. “I also painted lots of detail, but still tried not to go too far with these details. I didn’t really want to make a super detailed look, because then it wouldn’t look as painted and it would also increase the amount of time needed for painting.”