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Ronia the Robber´s daughter
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About Ilon

Ilon Wikland was born 1930 in Estonia and came as a refugee to Sweden in 1944. She worked for Akke Kumlien at the School for Books and advertising Art in Stockholm. Her background of Estonian artwork enabled her to create a new and unique style. In 1953, Ilon applied for a job as illustrator at the publishers Raben & Sjögren. She was met by Astrid Lindgren, who had just finished writing Mio, my Son. Astrid immediately realised that Ilon could ”draw fairytales”. Ilon did a test-drawing for the book, and after that the cooperation with Astrid Lindgren continued.

 

Ilon worked closely together with Astrid and as soon as new drawings were finished she showed them to Astrid for approval. Astrid only asked Ilon twice to change an illustration because she had another opinion about the appearance of the character. Astrid thought that Karlsson-on-the-Roof first looked like an accountant and Ronia the Robber's daughter like a Samish girl.

 

Ilon has said, that Astrid's writing continually makes her see inner pictures. She also derives inspiration for her pictures from real life; the children's room in her own family inspired her, when she illustrated Smidge's room. A small man in Paris looked like Karlsson on the Roof and she found Ronia's robbers outside the liquor store. To be able to illustrate buildings, houses and environment, it is necessary to do a lot of research. In order to get a clear visual picture for the Mattis Castle, Ilon travelled through half of Switzerland for example. Ilon puts incredible effort into the details of the surroundings. She wants to be sure to interpret the personality of the characters and she is well aware of the emotions her illustrations create. To accomplish harmony between the image she has got in her head and the finished drawing on paper, she has to redo it many times. First she starts with pencil sketches and the final version is done in Indian ink.

 

Just as Astrid wrote for “the child within her”, Ilon draws for “the child within her”.

 

Ilon Wikland is the artist, who has illustrated the greatest number of Astrid Lindgren's books. She has illustrated The Six Bullerby children, The Children on Troublemaker Street, The Brothers Lionheart, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, Mardie, Mio my Son, Simon Small, Ronia the Robber's Daughter, Seacrow Island, The Ghost of Skinny Jack as well as Sunnanäng. She has also illustrated many picture-books, including: The Dragon with Red Eyes, I want a Brother or Sister/That’s My Baby, Brenda helps Grandmother and Simon Small Moves in.

 

Source: www.astridlindgren.se