Øyvind Torseter

Portrait Øyvind Torseter
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The Norwegian artist, illustrator and comic-book author Øyvind Torseter was born in Hamar in 1972. By 1998, he had studied art and graphic design at the Merkantilt Institutt, at the Skolen for Grafisk Design in Oslo and at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Maidstone.

Torseter has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1999. As an illustrator, he works with both traditional and digital techniques. His images serve to illustrate texts, but they also invite readers to explore details and stories in a playful and experimental way. For example, for »Eg kan ikkje sove no« (2008; Eng. »My Father’s Arms are a Boat«, 2013) by Stein Erik Lunde, Torseter worked with photographed and computer-processed paper structures that look like sets from a theater stage. The book was nominated for the 2011 German Children’s Literature Award, whose jury praised »the extraordinary stage-set-like illustrations«. For »Historia om korleis hunden fekk våt snute« (2012; Eng. »Why Dogs Have Wet Noses«, 2015) Torseter illustrated a story by Kenneth Steven about Noah, whose arc gets a hole and threatens to sink. In »Brune« (2013; Eng. »Brown«, 2018) and »Svartle« (2015) by Håkon Øvreås, Torseter’s images underscore the subtle humor of the text. He creates simple faces with light and easy strokes and designs objects and environments with extensive attention to detail. He makes sparing yet effective use of color, and his soft tones complement and enhance the mood of the book. In »Hullet« (2012; Eng. »The Hole«, 2013), Torseter illustrated his own text about a mouse in search of a hole that evades him time and again. Together with the mouse, readers try to find the hole on each new page: it is indeed found on all pages, starting from the center of the book cover, sometimes in the floor, causing the mouse to trip up, and sometimes in a washing machine door. Torseter’s most recent book »Mulegutten« (2015; Eng. »The Heartless Troll«, 2016) for children ten years and up is a satirical and graphically dark hero’s journey based on a Norwegian fairy tale inhabited by trolls, spirits, princesses and animals. In that book, the seventh brother saves his siblings and sets out on a journey to find the heart of an evil troll so as to destroy it.

Torseter has received many awards for his extensive oeuvre, including the 2004 Picture Book Prize of the Norwegian Department for Church and Culture, the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2008 and the 2012 Illustration Award for Children’s Books. He lives and works in Oslo.