Artist Perspective by Ana Salopek, Exploration Creation

The Artist's Perspective, written by Illo artist Ana Salopek.  Ana, based in Croatia, is an award winning illustrator and writer exploring the world. Silently writing and loudly drawing she creates colourful artworks following the rhythms of nature and telling the stories about what’s written between the lines. After her first two published silent books; in her new book 'Hands' she plays with silence and words to remind us how magical and creative humans are, this is still in progress but do let us know what you think.…


The world is big and spacious, shaped to perfectly fit differences. 

From the first days of our life, we use our hands and we don’t think a lot about them. One of the first communications with the world is coming from our hands. First, we touch then we draw, only after that we learn how to use words. 

From the first day of my life, I used my hands to create just like everybody else, and I always had that huge fear of blank paper. It was like if I messed it up there wasn’t a way back and something bad would happen. So most of my life I was afraid of blank paper till I noticed that something calm and peaceful was in it, a new world with endless possibilities. Like a gentle hug of silence. The whiteness of blank paper can be something that most people are afraid of just like me but after all those years I decided that I would see the joy of endless possibilities in it. It’s an everyday choice, will I be afraid or joyful brave?

During the last few years, I experienced the bottom and the top of my world, collecting every single second of my time to embrace the wisdom and courage to use my voice in the best possible way. And I learned one huge thing, everything is coming from my heart and my mind, it is the rule of life. I’m an illustrator and writer and it’s natural for me that I think a lot with my hands. Blank paper and sharp pencils are tools of my thoughts and heart. When I create, I’m connected to the earth and the sky and there isn’t any better meditation for me. We live in a dualistic world most of the time focused on material, touchable things like books, clothes, bodies, houses, etc. It’s easy to forget that all those things, material things, are created by someone’s hands. We are the creators of the world we live in, we shape it with our hands, thoughts, and hearts. What have we created till now? What will we create next? In my book Hands, I use the whiteness of the paper, skillfully fluctuating silence and dialogues, to bring the reader into the unlimited world of possibilities and creativeness. The whiteness of the paper in the book symbolises the journey of the revelation of what we are capable of. Introducing the Girl, the Bear, the Bird, and the Boy alongside their journey through the whiteness of possibilities, I try to remind us of the importance of our hands, making us think of how skilful and talented our hands are and all the things we can do with them. Step by step we discover more and more of our world, the nature that was created by the life force itself, and all other things that human created with heart and hands. Emphasising the uniqueness of the inhabitants of the Earth, their differences, and abilities, we travel originally through a world of acceptance, respect, and love between each other. I want everybody to know that we all are creatives and that we create every day, even if our day isn’t so great and we feel like we didn’t achieve a lot on that day. 

“Hands are the tongue of our heart and a perfect extension of the heart. What you carry in your heart, you carry in your hands.”

“And in your thoughts,” added the Bear, “hands can build or destroy, hug or inflict pain. We decide what to choose.” - Excerpt from Hands

We are creative beings made for creating, this is something we shouldn’t forget. With our hands, we hug, we love, we play music, we build houses, we heal, we eat, we read, we speak. In our hands, we carry a universe, everything that exists or yet will be. For sure hands are extensions of our hearts. When we create with love we can create amazing things and the best part is that we are all different and that we all create the uniqueness of this world.

- Ana Salopek

If you’d like more info, please contact: [email protected]

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