Urmas Viik

Urmas Viik (1961) is an interdisciplinary artist and book designer. He graduated in graphic arts from the Estonian Academy of Arts, and worked as a freelance artist thereafter. Since 2005, he has been a professor and head of the Graphics Department at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Viik has illustrated about 30 children’s books. He was included on the 2010 IBBY Honour List, and has received several awards at annual illustration competitions.

As a child, I would find stories in gum wrappers, stamps, picture books, and magazines. Later, they came to me from concert posters, record liners, and art albums. I studied graphic art, but a large portion of my artistic activities fell quite far from children’s books. In retrospect, it seems entirely natural that picture books would re-enter my life one day, because a desire for that has always lain in the deepest corners of my heart.

Profile photo: Piia Ruber

Illustrated books

Translations

Awards

2022
Order of the White Star, IV Class

2021
Edgar Valter Illustration Award, nominee
25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Theodor, the Santa Clause's Lonely Expedition)

2020

Pärnu Common Building art competition, 3rd place
Tabasalu State Gymnasium art competition, 3rd place

2019
Sillamäe State House art competition, 1st place

1999
Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia

1998

Eduard Viiralt Award for Art

1997

Kristjan Raud Annual Award for Art

1995

Vaal Gallery Annual Award

Awards and certificates in the field of graphic book art:
2020
25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Anu Kabur. Vasslis of Muhu Island)
5 Best Designed Estonian Children’s Books, Certificate of Merit (Anu Kabur. Vasslis of Muhu Island)

2019
Astrid Lindren Memorial Award nominee

2018
5 Best Designed Estonian Children’s Books, Certificate of Merit (Anti Saar. Milda, Master Michel, and I)
Raisin of the Year Award (Anti Saar. Milda, Master Michel, and I)

2017

Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Diploma of the Estonian Artists’ Association
International Illustration and Book Design Competition ‘Image of the Book/Obraz knigi’, Moscow, laureate
25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Kadri Voorand. Giving Myself to the Sea)

2013

Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Diploma

2010

IBBY Honour List (Tiia Soasepp. The Little River Man)

2009

25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Tiia Soasepp. The Little River Man)
5 Best Designed Estonian Children's Books, Certificate of Merit (Tiia Soasepp. The Little River Man)

2008

25 Best Designed Estonian Books, three Certificates of Merit (Kadri Hinrikus. Miia and Friida; Heljo Mänd. Little Dandelions, Leelo Tungal. Comrade Kid and the Grown-Ups)
5 Best Designed Estonian Children's Books, Certificate of Merit (Kadri Hinrikus. Miia and Friida)

2007

25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Kerttu Soans. Mari and Jüri’s Ten Professions)
5 Best Designed Estonian Children's Books, Certificate of Merit (Kerttu Soans. Mari and Jüri’s Ten Professions)

2006

25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Eva Laantee Reintamm. Discovering Tallinn: A City Guide for Kids)

2005

5 Best Designed Estonian Children's Books, Certificate of Merit (Kerttu Soans. Unusual Sirel)

2003

25 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Kerttu Soans. Olivia and the First World)
5 Best Designed Estonian Children's Books, Certificate of Merit, Special prize 'Golden Book' of the National Library of Estonia (Kerttu Soans. Olivia and the First World)

Exhibitions

2021
Exhibition of Baltic illustrators "Running with Wolves. Werewolf", Napoli, Rome, Frigento, Italy
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Secret Lives III", Szczecin, Gdansk, Poland; Kondas Centre, Viljandi; Estonian National Museum, Tartu
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial TIT 2020, Moscow; Krasnoarmeysk, Russia
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB 2021), Slovakia
"Leafing Through Estonian Children's Books IV", Moscow, Russia
TIT 2020 & "Leafing Through Estonian Children's Books IV", Mytishchi, Russia
"Fables for Robots", Estonian Children's Literature Centre, Tallinn, Central Library of Lääne County; Haapsalu; Gdansk, Poland
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "Fox Spirit. Fox Charm", Estonian Children's Literature Centre, Tallinn, Central Library of Lääne County, Haapsalu
Children's Books' Illustrations from Estonian artists, Kehra, Estonia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "From the Mountains to the Sea", Haapsalu, Estonia
Exhibition of Estonian artists "Christmas Tale", Syktyvkar, Komi Republic
"Leafing Through Estonian Children's Books V", Pskov, Russia

2020
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Group exhibition of Estonian artists „Secret Lives III”, Warsaw, Płock, Kraków, Poland
International illustrations exhibition "It's Always Tea-Time". Vyborg, St. Petersburg, Russia; Kondas Centre, Viljandi
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Leafing Through Estonian Children’s Books III”, Moscow, Russia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators "From the Mountains to the Sea", Central Library of Saare County, Kuressaare
Solo exhibition "The Unusual Case of Ruve Rääsa", ARS Studio 98

2019-2021
"Brave Bunch in India", cross media project. Pregio media, Poland

2019
International exhibition “Illustrating life IV”, Beijing, China
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “From the Mountains to the Sea”, Kraków, Rabka-Zdrój, Elbląg, Poland
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators  "Once Upon a Time..." (Grimm's fairy tales), Opole, Gdansk, Poland; Tapa Public Library, Estonia
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Leafing Through Estonian Children’s Books II”, Moscow, Kolomna, Russia

2018
"Ruve Rääsk's Odd Incident" (with Sohvi Viik), Draakon gallery, Tallinn
Group exhibition of Estonian artists „Secret Lives II”, Skizza gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators „Tra ghiaccio e fuoco“, Rome, Pesco Sannita, Italy

2018–2020
Exhibition of Baltic illustrators “Running with Wolves”, London, the United Kingdom; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Gdańsk, Wrocław, Białystok, Warsaw, Płock, Szczecin, Poland; Pordenone, Italy; Vilnius, Lithuania

2018–2019
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Running with Wolves”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; selected works, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Russia

2018
Tallinn 5th Illustrations Triennial (TIT 2017), Estonian illustrators, Krasnoarmeysk, Moscow, Russia

2017
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT)
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “A Window into the Fairy Tale World”, Haapsalu Cultural Centre, Haapsalu Children's Library

2016
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Fairy Tales Come to Visit”, New York Estonian House, USA
Travelling exhibition of Estonian illustrators, “A Walk on the Path of Fairy Tale Together with Charles Perrault”, Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Russia
Exhibiton of Estonian illustrators “Neighbours Who Love Reading”, Pskov City Library, Russia

2016–2018
Group exhibition of Estonian artists „Secret Lives I”, hotel Sofitel in Strasbourg, Embassy of Estonia in Paris, France

2015–2020
International illustration exhibition, “It’s Always Tea-Time”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Riga, Latvia; Uusikaupunki, Finland; Gdansk, Wrocław, Toruń, Elbląg, Poland; Berlin, Germany; Szczecin, Płock, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Oxford, the United Kingdom; Moscow, Vyborg, St. Petesburg, Russia

2015–2019
Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, “Once Upon a Time...” (Grimm’s Fairy Tales), Aosta, Anagni, Lagonegro, Bernalda-Metaponto, Corato, Matera, Roma, Lacco Ameno, Irsina, Siracusa, Sassari, Roma, Bologna, Italy; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Minsk, Belarus; Kraków, Łomża, Białystok, Szczecin, Płock, Warszaw, Elbląg, Gdańsk, Opole, Poland

2014
1st Riga Picture Book Quadrennial “Picture Story”, Latvia

2013–2017
Exhibition by Estonian and Hungarian Illustrators, “Crisscross Stories”, Estonia, Hungary, the United Kingdom

2013
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Travelling exhibition of Estonian illustration, “Etelästä tuulee – Lõunatuul puhub” (The South Wind Blows), Finland

2012–2013
Exhibition by Estonian illustrators, “Old Fairy Tales” (Brothers Grimm), Estonia, Russia

2010–2011
Travelling Exhibition of Estonian Book Illustration, Russia, Finland

About the author

2020
Story time with Urmas Viik (video)

2019
Estonian Candidates for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

2018
Raisin of the Year Award Goes to Anti Saar and Urmas Viik

2017
Christmas Exhibitions at the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre

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