Artist of the Month in the sales department - Anja Dahle Øverbye

Apr 1, 2024

Artist of the Month is a monthly interview series where Tegnerforbundet introduces a member who is represented with artwork in our Sales Department. With this initiative, we want to give readers an insight into the members' artistic work and highlight the importance of drawing in their work.


Anja Dahle Øverbye is an acclaimed cartoonist, author and illustrator known for her realistic style and sensitive line. Through her work, whether in the form of comics or other illustrations, she creates characters and stories that feel alive and poignant. Øverbye has a remarkable ability to convey stories that resonate with other people, and her work is characterized by a deep understanding of universal emotions. She explores themes such as love, loneliness and hope with an emotional depth that hits readers on a personal level. Øverbye's passion for storytelling is clearly reflected in her artistic expression.

Øverbye was educated in England, with a BA in visual communication. In 2016, Anja was awarded the prize for Comic Book of the Year for her debut book Hundedagar. Her success continued with her second book Bergen, which won silver at the Most Beautiful Books of the Year in 2019. She has also published the picture book Lykketanna, and the latest Tarjei, 13 years old, which was featured in the exhibition Tegnerforbundets utvalgte 2023.  

TF: Anja, can you tell us a bit about your artistic work?

ADØ: I work primarily with books, and have drawn and written three graphic novels and a picture book. Otherwise, I draw and paint a lot just for myself. I make my own watercolor paint, and my favorite thing to do is to paint aimlessly in my sketchbook. Now I've started to paint a bit bigger too, and it's nice to get out of the book format. 

TF: Why do you draw? Tell us a little about your work process.

ADØ: I draw because that's what I know how to do! And that's what I've always done. So that's the short answer. The long answer is that I'm very fond of storytelling, whether it's in words or pictures. So telling a story through drawing is my way of storytelling, and also what I'm drawn to. I usually have a story, a theme or a feeling that I want to communicate, and then I build on that. Very often it's just a sentence that is the starting point. There are different processes behind a whole book and a simple drawing, but a lot of it is the same. The joy of drawing is at the heart of everything I do, and I prefer to work completely analog. This is not a protest of any kind, but for me, drawing is a physical process that I enjoy most when I work tactilely with the material. If I'm doing quick illustrations on assignment, I like to work digitally. 

TF: Can you name any cartoonists/illustrators who inspire you?

ADØ: This changes all the time, but right now I'm looking at these artists: Ruth Smith and Stefan Danielsen from the Faroe Islands, Jockum Nordstrøm, Mette Hellenes and Vanessa Baird. 

TF: What themes concern you as an artist?

ADØ: I've always worked with those slightly hurtful, human emotions that we all recognize. The basic emotions, you could say. You so often feel lonely as a human being, but in my books I've always told stories that make the reader feel less alone, and perhaps seen. That's often the feeling that underlies my work, whether it's a whole book or a simple landscape drawing. 

TF: What is the role of illustration and drawing today?

ADØ: I think we're going to be drawn more and more towards seeing art in the viewing room again, rather than digitally. To be able to see marks, coats and materials, as a counterpart to everything we see digitally and flat. I hope and believe that the pendulum will swing in that direction. That buying original art and surrounding ourselves with tactile works will be something we are drawn to. 

TF: What does it mean to draw for you in your work?

ADØ: That's all, my work would be nothing without drawing. I've never been involved in any other artistic practice, apart from painting now and then. Now I write a lot, but until now all the text I've written has been accompanied by drawing. But now I've started to write more and more texts that stand on their own without the visuals, so we'll see where it goes!

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

ADØ: There are two drawings made with oil pastel chalk on a gouache primer. I drew them during the Easter vacation last year, at my parents' home in Romsdalen. There's a motif that recurs a lot: the view from the kitchen and living room in my childhood home. It's a lot for practical reasons, it's the views I have, sort of. But now it's getting exciting to see the development of the houses and landscapes, as well as my drawing style over the years. On the sheets you can see traces of chalk and some finger marks. I think that's just nice, when there are traces of the artist. And I think the person studying the drawing can also benefit from that, since so much of it is digital. This is made by hand, with all the lines and marks that entails.


See available drawings by Anja Dahle Øverbye in our online shop.