Ritva Voutila was born in Nokia, Finland. After finishing high school in Nokia she moved to Helsinki to study art at the School of Art and Design. 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 and it became a great success, having been reprinted several times, and is still in print. 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).