The Norwegian illustrator and children’s book author Svein Nyhus was born in Tønsberg in 1962. His twin brother is the cartoonist Egil Nyhus. Svein Nyhus studied at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry from 1981 to 1985, after which he worked as a freelance illustrator for newspapers and magazines.
In 1995 he began writing and illustrating picture books for children, including »Drømmemaskinen« (1995; tr: The Dream Machine), »Pappa!« (1998), »Verden har ingen hjørner« (1999; tr: The World Has No Corners), »Lille Lu og trollmannen Bulibar« (2001; tr: Little Lu And Bulibar The Wizard), »Opp og ut« (2008; tr: Up and Down), and a series about Lars the elephant, which conveys philosophical content in a humorous and original way (2011 ff.). The illustrations are usually caricatural and show schematic figures. Nyhus works mainly with pencil, watercolors, paper collages and markers, and also utilizes the possibilities of digital image processing. Stylistically, he mixes language with caricatures and amazement with seriousness. In this way, he conveys a wise view of the world and of life that appeals to children and adults alike in its depth and complexity. His children’s book »What Does the Fox Say?« (2013), which is based on a song and video by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, was a 2013 »New York Times« bestseller.
Nyhus has often collaborated with his wife, children’s book author Gro Dahle, with whom he published »Snill« (2002), »Sinna Mann« (2003; Eng. »Angryman«, 2019), »Tikk takk, sier Tiden« (2005; tr: Tiden Says Thanks), »Håret til mamma« (2007; tr: Mama’s Hair) and »God natt, natt« (2009; tr: Good Night, Night), among others. »Sinna Mann« deals with a virulent theme: the experience of domestic violence. The protagonist is a boy named Boj, whose mother lives with a violent man. The book, which won the Norwegian Ministry of Culture’s picture book award in 2003, describes the insecurity, the inner resistance, and the drama that the situation causes for the little boy. Several smaller theater productions are based on »Sinna Mann«: the animated film of the same name by Anita Killi (2009) and a Danish children’s opera with music by Steingrimur Rohloff. Nyhus also illustrated »Moro-vers« (2000), a collection of children’s verses by André Bjerke (1918-1985), and the children’s book by Märtha Louise of Norway called »Hvorfor de kongelige ikke har krone på hodet« (2004; tr: Why Kings and Queens Don’t Wear Crowns).
Nyhus has received numerous awards for his illustrations and has been nominated for many prizes. He lives with Gro Dahle on the island of Tjøme in Vestfold. They have three children, among them Kaia Dahle Nyhus, who was born in 1990 and is an illustrator and children’s book author.