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  • Øyvind TorseterNorway ★ Illustrator
  • Lydia Kokkola

Øyvind Torseter (born 1972), the Oslo born and bred illustrator, undertook his formal education at the Mercantile Institute in Oslo (1991–1992) and the School of Graphic Design (1992–1994), after which he travelled to the United Kingdom to study at the Kent Institute of Art and Design (1995–1998). Within a year of completing his studies, he had produced the illustrations for a text by Tor Arve Røssland: Pode. The result was an award-winning book that went on to become the first of a series of four books about Pode resulting from the collaboration between Røssland and Torseter.

Torseter has illustrated books for a number of prominent Norwegian authors, including the other Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee this year, Bjørn Sortland. The collaboration with Sortlund marked a shift in illustrative style. In the Pode books, Torseter produced two-dimensional images. In Plutselig ville eg ikkje laga dorulldyr lenger [All of a Sudden I No Longer Wanted to Make Toilet Roll Animals], Torseter illustrated Sortland’s love story, in which a young boy declares his love for a girl by making her an elephant out of an old toilet roll as a gift for Valentine’s day, using more tactile images of the toilet roll masterpieces. His more recent collaborations with Tore Renberg—Gi gass, Ine [Get Going Ine]—and with Jon Fosse—Spelejenta [The Violin Girl]—take this tactile quality to a new level as he produces photoshopped images of 3D figures.

Torseter’s illustrative technique combines traditional drawing and collage techniques with digital technology. The results are not intended to be realistic; on the contrary, Torseter leaves his rough slots, staples and even fingerprints clearly on display, so that the reader can attempt to copy the techniques. This foregrounding of the construction of the image encourages readers of all ages to reconsider how they make sense of what they see.

Somewhat curiously, Torseter’s illustrations of his own stories, such as the successful Klikk [Click], an almost wordless book in which a young boy gets locked in the toilet, reverts to simpler, two-dimensional painted collages, which are easy for the very young readers of this book to follow. Although Torseter lives and works in Oslo, he has also been commissioned to decorate a number of public buildings throughout Norway. His illustrative style is thus made accessible to those Norwegians who would otherwise know nothing of his work as a children’s book illustrator.

Selected Publications

Klikk [Click]. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2004. Print.
Avstikkere [Detours]. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2007. Print.
Eg kan ikkje sove no [I Can’t Sleep Now]. Text Stein Erik Lunde. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 2008. Print.
Spelejenta [The Violin Girl]. Text Jon Fosse. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 2009. Print.
Gi gass, Ine [Get Going Ine]. Text Tore Renberg. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2010. Print. [End Page 42]


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