Ritva Voutila was born in Nokia, Finland.

After finishing high school she studied art in Helsinki. In 1968 she moved to Australia, and then to Spain in 1971, where she continued perfecting her drawing and painting skills for the next ten years while working in fields as varied as garden design and computer programming and analysis. In 1981 she moved back to Australia, settling down in Sydney.

For the next couple of years she worked as a computer sales representative, but in 1983 she became a full time freelance artist working initially in jewellery design, graphic design and advertising.

Her first children's book, 101 Excuses for Not Doing Homework by Carly Little (Scholastic), appeared in 1990. Many other books followed. See Booklist.

In 2015 The Stone Lion, illustrated by Ritva and written by Margaret Wild, won the Honour Book of the Year Award from The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA).

Ritva is also an accomplished school performer and has held numerous art workshops. For 18 years she toured her school programmes throughout Australia to annual audiences of over 20,000 students. 

Twice (1999 and 2005) her show has won a
Frater Award for Excellence in School performances from the NSW State Department of Education and Training.

She lives in Ballarat, 100 km north-west of Melbourne, with her husband Richard.

Artist's Statement

Born:        1946 Nokia, Finland

Resides:   1946-1968 Finland
                1968-1970 Australia
                1970-1971 Finland
                1971-1981 Spain
                1981-         Australia

Education: University of Art and Design, Helsinki 1966-1968
                Paddington Art School, Sydney 1983
                Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney 1992
                Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy), Macquarie University, Sydney 1994
                Postgraduate studies in Urban Design, University of Sydney 1996

Fine Art:        Solo Exhibitions:

                2003   'Hellos and Goodbyes', Gallery Lane, Leura, NSW
                2008   'How Long is a Piece of Yo-yo String?' Watling Galleries, Gold Coast, Qld
                2012   'Selfish Giant', MARS Gallery, Port Melbourne, Vic
                2017   'Happily Ever After', Gallery on Sturt, Ballarat, Vic
                  Group Exhibitions:        

                1996        BMA Festival Art Exhibition, Bowen Mountain, NSW
                1997        'Life Journeys', Hawkesbury Creative Arts Centre, Windsor, NSW
                1999        Ozart Gallery, Katoomba, NSW
                2000        Ozart Gallery, Katoomba, NSW
                2003        'By The Book', Stop Laughing Gallery, Blackheath, NSW
                2007        Iesha Stewart Gallery, Townsville, Qld
                2008        Solander Gallery, Canberra, ACT
                2015        'Hello! Australia', Bologna, Italy
                2015        Gallery on Sturt, Ballarat, Vic
                2015        26th Annual Australian Children's Picture Book Illustration exhibition,
                                Blarney Books & Art, Port Fairy, Vic
                2016        'Scapes', Ludlow Creative Space, Orange, NSW
                2016        'The Nutcracker', Customs House Gallery, Hawkesdale, Victoria

Illustrations:         Has illustrated over 50 books including:

                101 Excuses for Not Doing Homework by Carly Little (Scholastic, 1990)                           Midge, Mum and the Neighbours by Phil Cummings (Random House, 1992)
                Poppy's Path by Wendy Orr (Koala Books, 2001)
                Pequeño Cuento de Horror by Alberto Forcada (CIDCLI, Mexico, 2004)
                Lost Island series (33 titles) by Lisa Thompson (Blake Publishing, 2008)
                The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde (Allen & Unwin, 2012)
                The Stone Lion by Margaret Wild (Little Hare, 2014)
                                CBCA Honour Book Award 2015,
                                Koala Honour Book 2016
                Outside by Libby Hathorn (Little Hare, 2014),
                                CBCA Notable Book of the Year Award 2015
                The Nutcracker retold by Margrete Lamond (Little Hare 2015)

Illustrations for several magazines, newspapers and corporations in Australia and overseas.

Her work features in many private collections in Australia and overseas.


I am interested in human nature, human desires, disappointments, joys and sorrows and what it means to be human.

I am often looking at these characteristics in the context of classic fairytales and folklore, because they are rich in symbolism shared by cultures around the world and through history.

Classic fairytales have been around for centuries, but they are still as popular as ever. My aim is to raise questions about the relevance of classic fairytales in our modern society, and discover what are the core elements of human nature that remain unchanged through history even if some beliefs, moral values and codes of social conduct change over the years.