Ilon Wikland was born in 1930 in Estonia and came as a refugee to Sweden in 1944. In 1953, Ilon applied for a job as illustrator at Rabén & Sjögren. She was met by Astrid, who had just finished writing the book Mio, my Son and who could see immediately that Ilon was able to “draw fairytales”. Ilon did a test-drawing for the book and after that her collaboration with Astrid Lindgren continued.
Ilon has said that Astrid’s writing continually makes her see inner pictures. She also derives inspiration for her pictures from real life. In the same way that Astrid Lindgren wrote for “the child within her”, Ilon often also draws for the child within her.
Ilon Wikland is the artist who has illustrated the greatest number of Astrid Lindgren’s books. Here is a list of them: The Six Bullerby Children (aka The Children of Noisy Village), The Children on Troublemaker Street, The Brothers Lionheart, Karlsson-on-the-roof, Mardie, Mio my Son, Nils Karlsson Pyssling, Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, Seacrow Island, The Ghost of Skinny Jack as well as Sunnanäng. She has also provided the illustrations for 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.