Photo: Leif Hansen
Ilon Wikland is a Swedish artist who has illustrated the largest number of Astrid Lindgren’s books. In 1944, Wiklund escaped the second Soviet occupation of Estonia with a classmate’s family and arrived in Sweden as a refugee. Almost a decade later, she met the author of Pippi Longstocking, who was about to publish Mio My Son, the story of a boy adopted by a couple who dislike children. While Astrid Lidgren often observed that she wrote for her inner child, Wikland said she drew for the child within herself.
Her drawings are characterised by clear, clean lines and colours, and often reflect a warm, idealistic sense of childhood. However, darkness is never far away. She has illustrated The Six Children of Noisy Village, The Brothers Lionheart, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, and many picture books by Lindgren and other writers.