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  • Lilian Brøgger:Denmark Illustrator

As a child I dreamed about being able to lump all the languages of the world. It was the imagery. I will never finish finding new opportunities to create images. It's like inventing a new language.

Lilian Brøgger

Lilian Brøgger was born on the island of Fanø in Denmark in 1950, but moved to Copenhagen at age 5. She studied at the Copenhagen School of Arts and Crafts (now the School of Design) from 1967 to 1972. At that time it was mostly a school for graphic designers and advertisers, and she was the first woman to graduate with a degree in illustration.

Her first book, Where Linda Lives, was published in 1975. Since then, she has illustrated more than 100 books and has influenced a generation of Danish artists called the "Young Wild Ones of Kolding" through teaching at the Design School in Kolding.

Over the last decade, Brøgger has become regarded as a postmodern illustrator in that she refuses to accept the rules of motif, proportion, and representational method. She is unconventional and indiscriminate, drawing a toilet or cigarette with the same care as an apple or a tree. Although she tries new techniques with each book, her choices are always dictated by the needs of the story and sometimes veer into the surreal. Unlike other illustrators, she has no immediately recognizable style; instead, with each project, she develops a new form of expression and a new technique.

"Before Lilian Brøgger there weren't as many long noses and big hats, distorted forms and surprising perspectives in children's books," observed the critic Steffen Larsen. She never loses sight of what appeals to children, nor does she merely depict the text. Lilian Brøgger adopts an open approach to fantastical figures, animals, everyday objects of all kinds. Nothing is too beautiful, nor is anything too ugly to appear in her drawings. The power of her artistic creation is found in a refreshing contradiction between extreme seriousness and playful ease.

Lilian Brøgger is also an activist in her profession, pushing for equal funding and opportunities for illustrators and authors. Internationally, she has served as a judge of illustrations at both the Bratislava and Bologna exhibitions. Brøgger lives in Christianshavn in Copenhagen, among the boats on the canals and the 18th century houses.

Selected Bibliography

Den fattige dreng fra Odenseen bog om H.C. Andersen (The Poor Boy from Odense: A book about Hans Christian Andersen) By Hjørdis Varmer (2002) Copenhagen: Forum.
Anton elsker ymer (Anton Loves Junket) (2006) Copenhagen: Politiken.
De skaeve smil (The Wry Smiles) By Oskar K (2008) Risskov: Klematis.
Hallo! flere hundrede historier (Hello! Hundreds of Stories) By Louis Jensen (2009) Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
Nattekjolen (The Nightgown) By Thomas Winding (1999) Frederiksberg: ABC. [End Page 17]


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