Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Disney's Nils Holgersson, 1946

Back in 1946 the Walt Disney Studios probably got idea of doing something with Selma Lagerlöf Swedish best seller "Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige" (Nils Holgerssons wonderful journey through Sweden) from 1906-1907. So together with the magazine Filmjournalen and RKO they launched a competition in Sweden to find a good design for the lead character.
Maybe they had no intention of animating Nils Holgersson at all, but it was a good way to get some publicity here in Sweden after the war. And well known Swedish artist Einar Nerman was in the Swedish jury!
A colleauge, Björn Ihrstedt at Egmont in Stockholm, sent me copies of the article that announced the winners.

As you can see the winner was Barbro Isacson who went on to illustrate and write several childrens books. The latest was published in 2003! And two of the runners up are familar for Swedish comics fans: Rune Andréasson and Nils Egerbrandt.
But there's a mystery here too! The four drawings top right won third prize and were sent in by the signature "Östratorp". When the winners were announced the real name of the illustrator was still unknown.
I wonder if they were made by someone who already had a career as an illustrator or animator?
Anyone who recognize the style?
Or knows who the artist is?


-= Steamboat Willie =- said...

The style looks awfully familiar... Nerman hmself? No, propably not... But I HAVE seen something like that before...

Peter Nyrén said...

It looks a lot like Björn Berg, who went on to illustrate Astrid Lindgrens Emil i Lönneberga.
Born in 1923 he would have been in the right age and place in his career.
The resemblance is both in the inking, postures and face design.
If so, they certainly managed to get a bunch of talented artists to compete.
And the winner beat some mighty fine artist. What did she go on to illustrate?

-= Steamboat Willie =- said...

Yes! That's it! It looks awfully lot like Björn Berg! I knew I've seen that style before. If it is Björn Berg - I can't tell - but it is very similar in style and it was Emil that I thought of.

Joakim Gunnarsson said...

Yes! I agree that it's probably Björn Berg.
The style looks a lot like his.

Barbro Isacson changed her name to Sedwall and a biography can be found if you follow this web address:

-= Steamboat Willie =- said...

Well.. there is no mistaking the Rune A style at least.. :-) I spotted him even in the thumbnail... But Per-Hugo Hörnfält, has he done something else?

Håkan / Wakuran said...

More info about "Emil i Lönneberga" could be found on Wikipedia:


Håkan / Wakuran said...

Hmmm, the last name is Börnfelt, not Hörnfält, and it'd appear it's the same Börnfelt that got famous as a dollhouse designer for Lundby.


Heh, quite interesting...

Håkan / Wakuran said...

Here's the info from the PDF. I can't translate it right now, but you could probably Babelfish it or use some other online translator:

Född 1926 i Skövde, bosatt i Åkersberga.
Vann 16 år gammal första pris i teckningstävlan mellan alla Göteborgs läroverk.
19 år. Fick fjärde pris av Walt Disney i en teckningstävlan. Startade 23 år gammal
en dockmöbelsfabrik. Erhöll Sveriges Leksakshandlares pris "Brunte" för årets
bästa leksak vid en bankett på Operakällaren 1968.
Som ung startade han den välkända leksaksaffären Lundby. Han har under några
år varit en världsledande designer av dockskåp och dockmöbler. Harrods i London
diplomerade Pär 1978 för att vara en av de tre mest framstående formgivare av
leksaker i världen.
Slöjdföreningen i Göteborg, där studerade han
modellmålning och skulptur.
Kurser i landskapsmålning på Västkusten, Öland
och Gotland.
Sjukhus och institutioner i Stockholm.