Ridley Borchgrevink (1898-1981)

Exciting British-born Norwegian illustrator from the first part of the 20th century who did many troll drawings like the one below of a woman mistreating a changeling in the hope that the troll woman who has taken her baby, will return it to save her own troll baby from further abuse.

Niels Skovgaard (1858-1938)

Danish book illustrator, son of P. C. Skovgaard, Danish landscape painter, and brother of Joakim Skovgaard, famous for his wall paintings in Viborg Cathedral. Niels Skovgaard has illustrated many books, incl. Icelandic sagas and Axel Olrik's collection of Danish myths and fairytales, Danske Sagn og Æventyr fra Folkemunde (1913) - check out his illustrations for the story Skalle here. Here are a few other trolls from Olrik's collection:

See full illustration here

And finally a design for a plate with a subject from an old folk song - the Giant Bermer ('rise' being another word for 'giant') and the young hero Orm.

Jan Lööf (born 1940)

From the pixi book The Mountain Trolls' New Home (1976)

The famous Swedish comic book artist and illustrator of childrens' books, Jan Lööf, has also captured the spirit of the peaceful Scandinavian troll in his own very characteristic style. On this Swedish site you can see his story of the mountain trolls who decide to leave their cold caves and move down to the forest, something the forest trolls are not particularly happy about though, but with the help of a witch and the Nixie they build a house in the middle of the lake. Also notice Lööf's friendly but slightly rebellious reference to John Bauer in this frame where this witch chops down the trees in a classic Bauer painting to build the troll's new home:

John Bauer Tuvstarr 1913
Jan LööfJohn Bauer

Maj Fagerberg

Wonderful Swedish illustrator of children's literature, esp. fairytales, who has her own homepage here, but here is a troll mother with her 11 children all tied safely together:

Brian Pilkington

Icelandic illustrator of British origin, well-known for his illustrations to Icelandic Trolls, that has been translated to many languages.
Here is one example of his cute and funny trolls:

Otto Sinding (1842-1909)

One of the original illustrators of Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian folk tales, though only contributing with one troll picture - from the famous story about the goat and the troll under the bridge. See also Tord Nygren's version of the same motif. Sinding is best known for his oil paintings of landscapes and rural life.

(technique: xylography)

You can see some of Sinding's stunning landscapes here.

Per Krogh (1889-1965)

One of Norway's greatest modern artists and one of the best illustrators of Asbjørnson and Moe's fairy tales:

Boy cutting off Troll's five heads

Mountain Troll

Tord Nygren (born 1936)

Very productive Swedish illustrator, recently (2004) of Asbjørnsen and Moe's tales. Especially known for his great watercolour techniques as in the two troll pictures below:

This kind looking troll is from the book Trollringen from 2002:

Inger Edelfeldt (born 1956)

Swedish illustrator and writer of children books, adult books and comic books plus more. Also known for her illustrations of Tolkien's universe. Very intelligent writer and very talented artist. Here are two drawings of her funny trolls, the pink being a "no troll" and the yellow a "yes troll" (both from 2002):

Torbjörn Egner

Fun Norwegian writer and illustrator, the creator of the following two tooth trolls, well-known from Scandinavian television:

Egner Trolls
Lots more to come!

Gustaf Adolf Tenggren (1896-1970)

Swedish illustrator, replaced John Bauer as the illustrator of Bland Tomtar och Troll (Among Pixies and Trolls), moved to America in 1920 where he later found work as illustrator at Disney and worked on several movies incl. Snow White. You can read more about him here.
Here are three troll illustrations by him:

Trolls descending a hill (1915), watercolour and gouache

"She combed their hair" (Bathing in a lily pond), tempera

Troll being chased out of the village

Finally a beautiful watercolour from 1917 called "The Fairytale Forest" with trolls lurking behind every stone and tree - painted during the horrors of World War I:

Hans Arnold (born 1925)

Hans Arnold, Swiss by birth but living in Stockholm since 1948, has been one of Scandinavia's busiest artists for the last 50 years, also as an illustrator of trolls in the famous Swedish fairytale collection Bland Tomtar och Troll.

Here is one lovely example from his own website that is definitely worth visiting:

(Part of illustration)


Lithography - "I stora stygga skogen" ("In the big dangerous forest")

Andreas Bloch (1860-1917)

Norwegian illustrator and painter, esp. of military subjects. But he also worked for various funny magazines and although obscure in comparison to Bauer, Kittelsen and Moe, his trolls are very original. Birger Sivertsen does however mention in "For noen troll" (2000) that Kittelsen once expressed surprise that Bloch had been given a commission to draw trolls, saying to his daughter : "Bloch draw trolls? But he has never seen any!" Kittelsen is known to have said the same about the other major Norwegian troll painter Erik Werenskiold. It is thus tempting to conclude that Kittelsen felt a strong sense of ownership towards trolls. Only his vision was a true representation.

First a troll receiving electrical treatment (to cure its temperament?):

Electrified troll by Andreas Bloch

Then a troll shouting:

Shouting troll by Andreas Bloch

Then a lovely ink wash of a very sad troll:

Crying Troll by Andreas Bloch

A very thirsty troll:

Thirsty Troll by Andreas Bloch

Then a troll looking into a house:

And finally a troll escaping into his cave:

Inga Borg (born 1925)

Swedish writer and illustrator, creator of this lovely little troll like creature called Plupp who lives in the far north of Sweden among reindeer and mountains.

Plupp has his own club here (but only in Swedish)

Here is a beautiful ink drawing of the Frost Giant in her beloved Northern Swedish environment:

Asgrimur Jonsson (1876-1958)

Great icelandic painter of landscapes and the Norse underworld.

First his famous "The Night Troll at the Window":

Then two watercolours of strong and aggressive trolls fighting respectively a horseman and each other, reflecting the incredibly rough nature on Iceland:

And two fighting troll women:

Finally, here is a drawing of the so-called Mjóafjardarskessan, the Giantess of Mjol Fiord in Eastern Iceland, who according to legend would appear at the local church every christmas eve, presumably annoyed with the service, and make a terrible noise that would agitate the priest so much that he would run out to stop her. She would then take him to her home in a nearby gorge and eat him. Finally, one priest was able to chase her away by having 6 armed men bar the church door while ringing all the church bells. She made a hole in the church wall and swore that it would never be whole again. Here is Asgrimur Jonsson's picture of this giantess with the skeleton of one of her captured priests in her arms - almost like a baby:

And one more mountain troll from the Icelandig folktale Bukolla, showing Jonsson's great drawing skills:

Elsa Beskow (1874-1953)

Swedish children book writer and illustrator. I only know of one troll drawing from her, from one of her books about a tiny family living in the forest, the Tomteborna. Here the children run away after encountering a mountain troll:

Read more about her here.

Elizabeth Nyman

(from "Troll" by Ebbe Schön, 1997)

Contemporary Swedish illustrator

As the pictures above show, Nyman has succeeded in freeing herself of Bauer's overshadowing influence by making trolls more animal-like but thereby also less analogous to humans.

Einar Norelius (1900-1985)

Tree Troll

Swedish artist of classic Swedish comics series, such as 'Pelle Svanslös' (about a tail-less cat's adventures in Uppsala).
Also illustrator of many stories in the Swedish Bland Tomter och Troll-story magazines where he worked for almost half a century. So far only one book has been written about him, but it is difficult to get hold of.

And finally a good drawing of a troll/giant:

Let's finish with this great painting of a rather confused looking troll king being advised something by another, maybe cunning troll. In this painting Norelius has definitely developed his own style though it is clear he is influenced by contemporary advertisement illustration, eg. American Norman Rockwell:

Louis Moe (1857-1945)

"A troll looks like a human and in many cases a human is a troll!"
(Louis Moe in an interview)

A good craftsman, Louis Moe was Norwegian by birth, but spent most of his career in Denmark where he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen and became a Danish citizen in his later years. One of his most famous works is Ragnarok, an illustrated account of the Norse myth of apocalypse or Doomesday (see example). But he also illustrated the beautiful Darwinian fairy tales of Carl Ewald and various children's books incl. picture stories about Santa Claus on the North Pole, the Sea King and the Troll king and his family (see below). He also illustrated Emma Kraft's book of children's songs called 'Mellem Trolde' (Amongst Trolls) from 1896, where you find this little running troll:

Here are some other examples of his great artistic talent, both with etchings and ink drawings. First a troll or perhaps faun (a Greek demigod that was also popular in late 19th century art):

Then a naughty troll child:

Moe was also a great bear painter as the following two works show:

Moe mainly painted troll children (maybe as a result of not having any children of his own?). In this etching from 1933 we see a big brother dancing for his little sister:

Then the cover and one illustration from Troldebogen (The Troll Book), a story about a troll family that doesn't wake up when their cat eats the rooster that usually awakens them at sunset. Louis Moe didn't just illustrate other writers' stories, but also wrote his own while waiting for new assignments. This is one example:

Moe also drew many one page cartoons like the following from 1924 about a poor little troll that noone wants to play with:

Lille Trold by Louis Moe
(click for bigger version)

Moe could however also draw more wild looking trolls like the three sleepy ones on the painting below (from around 1918). are the Trolls awakening after the terrors of World War I:

Awakening by Louis Moe 1918

Let us end this quick exhibition of Moe's great troll art with this etching from 1923 of trolls being swept away by a gigantic brush - held by whom? The artist, history, Christianity? You decide!

Trolls Being Swept Away 1923

Robert Högfeldt (1894-1986)

Swedish illustrator with quite a Disneyesque style who created a troll world fit for children's books and postcards but quite detached from the trolls of rural folklore. "Urban trolls" one might call them - cute and posing no risk to anybody. He may be said to be the best of the Scandinavian troll postcard artists.

First a bathing male troll with very long beard and hair and quite a stupid look:

Then some trolls teasing an angel (Högfeldt loved playing with the subject - beauty vs. beast - in many versions)

Trolls Teasing an Angel

Followed by some more rough looking trolls discovering a hot bowl of porridge:

Trolls and Hot Porridge

A small troll with two birds:

And finally a detail from a troll painting called "Jealousy" with two male trolls fighting over a troll girl:

Tove Jansson (1914-2001)

Here are two beautiful examples of this wonderful Finnish-Swedish artist's simple black and white drawings of the Moomin creature, a creature originally invented by her uncle to scare her from going in to the dark basement:


And finally a lovely gouache demonstrating her great colour understanding:

Copyright Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson cooperated with her brother Lars Jansson on the comic book series based on her books. Here is a lovely watercolour of the Moomin troll by him:

Rolf Lidberg (1925?-2005)

The last great Scandinavian troll painter Rolf Lidberg died Februari 2005, 74 years old. He was an expert of Swedish orchids and guided many botanical walks in Sweden and also produced watercolour illustrations of Swedish flora, but is probably most well-known for his funny trolls that did more or less the same as people in those parts of the world, they just lived longer (say 500 years), in complete harmony with nature and had tails and longer ears and bigger noses. His paintings were lighter than John Bauer's, both in technique and subject-matter, but the influence is obvious. The photo of Lidberg painting flowers is copyright Hjördis Lundmark.

Two alterego trolls:

A skiing troll:

And finally a cover from his story Trollromans about two trolls getting married and having a little troll baby:
Lidberg Trollromans book cover

Ib Spang Olsen (1921-2012)

Danish illustrator, who was a great friend of and never forgot the dirty, rugged naked man-eating troll of early folklore.despite a very busy career spanning many decades.

Here is one of his (as usual quite scary and hairy and very un-Bauersque) trolls:

Plus a smirky couple:

and another scruffy troll from his and Halfdan Rasmussen's now classic ABC:

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