Ilon Wikland is an Estonian-born Swedish artist and illustrator. In 1944 she escaped the Soviet occupation of Estonia and arrived in Sweden as a 14-year-old refugee.
She was later educated at Swedish art school Konstfack and in 1953 Wikland applied for a job as an illustrator at Stockholm -based publisher Rabén & Sjögren, where she started working with Astrid Lindgren. Wikland has said that Astrid’s writing makes her see inner pictures. She also derives inspiration for her pictures from real life. Wikland illustrates in the the same way that Astrid Lindgren wrote – for “the child within her”. Ilon and Astrid worked together for many years and Ilon has illustrated some of Astrid’s most appreciated works like The Children on Troublemaker street, Mardie, Karlsson on the roof, Ronja the Robber’s daughter and many more.
Ilon Wikland has donated over 600 of her original illustrations, now to be enjoyed at “Ilon’s Wonderland”, a gallery and theme centre for children and families in Haapsalu, Estonia.
Born on February 5, 1930 Ilon Wikland celebrates 90 years in 2020. In honour of her work, an anniversary logo is available from Rights & Brands. The logo may be used freely for any books, campaigns and events celebrating Ilon and her beautiful illustrations. A treasure of illustrations in a variety of techniques, with over 1 000 images in the style guide, is available from Rights & Brands. Please contact us for any publishing, licensing or image enquiries.
“Light, air, warmth, feeling and colour. That’s when the image comes alive.” -Ilon Wikland
Photo of Ilon Wikland by Leif Hansen
- The Elsa Beskow Plaque 1969
- The Swedish Publishers Association Honorary Award 2003
- The Swedish Publishers Association Honorary Award 2018
- Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award prize nominee 2019