To delve into Finnish illustration, we start with the national literary work: the ‘Kalevala’, still the ‘national’ work today. In 1800, Elias Lönnrot wanted to create an epic poem that stitched together the poems, sayings and folk songs of Finnish culture in a logical sequence. Let us not forget that the state of Finland was only formed in 1917 following the Bolshevik revolution, and was recognised the following year by Soviet Russia. Cartoonist Marko Raassina made his debut in 2015 with the comic book ‘Kalevala. The Finnish National Epic’ in a pop style, and was so successful that the following year he produced a spin-off (‘Kullervo’) and launched the first volume of a children’s trilogy (‘Satuja Vienasta I’) in 2021. He is a great fan of Finnish folklore and made his debut in 1979 with an album on Finnish gnome legends, reproducing the old dwellings in the woods, the typical tools of rural life, customs and atmospheres of the past. Worldwide success came in 1981 with the first of the much-loved Father Christmas books, which have been continuously reissued in more than thirty countries. His other works, more than forty, were also a great success, selling millions of copies. The Karelian artist Oili Tanninen is also a highly regarded author: among the numerous awards that have accompanied her career, she has received the ‘Hans Christian Andersen Certificate of Honour’ three times, the ‘Finnish Topelius Literary Prize’ and the ‘Rudolf Koiru Prize’. She graduated from the ‘Institute of Industrial Arts’ in 1953. The use of colours is striking: the two-dimensional shapes, created using the collage technique, stand out against full, bright backgrounds, making the characters come alive. It is certainly one of the most interesting of all the proposals that can be made from very early childhood. It only takes a few more years to fully enjoy Markus Majaluoma’s illustrations. A graduate of the ‘University of Art and Design’ in Helsinki, he was nominated for the ‘Finlandia Junior Literary Prize‘ and has received numerous awards, including the ‘Rudolf Koivu Prize’, the ‘State Award’ and the ‘Adventure Award’. He is best known for the Ulf Stark books: the pairing is explosive, the great Stark’s texts are matched by Majaluoma’s drawings: funny to the core in every single image, the composition and details wring real laughs. His work in Finland also features heavily in magazines and textbooks as well as numerous other books.
Arts, Books, Children's books, Culture, Finland, Literature