Artist of the Month : Fredrik Skavlan

Aug 2, 2021

Fredrik Skavlan (1966) is known to most as a journalist and host of talk shows on television, but in his extensive careers he has also always been involved as a cartoonist. He has worked as a cartoonist for Dagbladet and Morgenbladet and is now a regular cartoonist for Dagens Næringsliv and Aftenposten. Skavlan paints situation pictures from everyday life that most people recognize themselves in. A good dose of humor and satire characterize his work and the line in the drawings is in a distinctive Skavlan style. He has published the wallet Nå skal det koses (2021), Caviar in the keyboard. 101 encouragements for parents (2020), Skavlan's collection (2015) and Skavlan's ark (2008). Skavlan has published drawings in comic books such as Pondus and Rutetid . He has also illustrated about 20 books for other authors such as Klaus Hagerup and Unni Lindell. Skavlan recently became a member of Tegnerforbundet and we welcome him to us.

TF: Fredrik, can you tell us a little about your artistic work?  

FS: I have always looked at myself as a draftsman, not as an artist. Through my grandfather, who was a set designer, I met Gøsta Hammarlund and Pedro as children, and was a nerdy preoccupation with the Norwegian newspaper cartooning tradition before I was ten. I started selling stripes to Dagbladet and Aftenposten in my early teens. When I later became a writing journalist, I got in both Morgenbladet, Aftenposten and Dagbladet the chance to combine this with a line - and continued after I started in TV 25 years ago. But whether I make jokes, political satire or book illustration, I am a commissioned artist. If I do not have an assignment, very little happens, beyond the drooling that may be left after tedious meetings.  

TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process!

FS: My drawing life is lived in the no-man's land between anxiety and longing. That is, the fear of "making mistakes" and the longing for spontaneity. In practical terms, this often means the degree to which I sketch my drawings with a pencil first. My "cartoons" that I make for Aftenposten are always just drawn straight on white, acid-proof paper (Imagine from Canson, for example) with pen split and permanent marker. Then I put on the watercolors of Old Holland, which do well through most varieties of newspaper prints. I do not work digitally.

TF: What inspires you? Do you work from a theme?

FS: Here the answer is short: Nothing inspires me more than a deadline.  

‍ TF: What are you currently working on?

FS: I try to get an overview of many decades of drawings that I have lying around. Some of it is quite timeless, while other things feel hopelessly old-fashioned. Humor can age quickly. Under the corona, for example, it was natural to let my Aftenposten drawings gravitate around this, but hopefully in the future these jokes will be completely incomprehensible. I therefore gave these originals as a collection to the National Library, where I have been purchased before. Then possibly future researchers may wonder why in the world we think this was funny.  

TF: What does drawing mean to you?  

FS: Peace of mind and immersion, and for me something as rare as alone time.  

TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!

FS: I usually sell my works through, but selected six more photos Tegnerforbundet which shows the excitement of what I'm doing. The drawings from Dagens Næringsliv accompany Fridtjof Jacobsen's Saturday column, and the theme is given. These are painstaking and elaborate, pencil first and then my usual technique. The Aftenposten drawings are simpler, faster, drawn completely freehand and completely independent in relation to idea and text. It's more about what falls into the shower the morning I deliver.  


See available drawings by Fredrik Skavlan in our online store.