Tove Marika Jansson was a Finnish born, Swedish speaking artist and writer. She was born on August 9th, 1914 in Helsinki. Other than writing and artistic work, she was also a comic author, painter, and illustrator.

Tove’s family was a Swedish speaking family and lived as a minority in Finland. Her family had an artistic background, therefore, she was also raised in such environment. Her mother, Signe Hammarsten-Jansson was an illustrator and a graphic designer while her father Viktor Jansson was a sculptor. Her siblings were also in the same field.

Study and Interest

Tove’s parents raised her in a complete artistic environment, therefore this developed her interest in arts. She then pursued her studies in Stockholm at the University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design. It was this time when she started to display her artworks in exhibitions which lead to her first solo exhibition in 1943. Other than her first university, she also went to Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and L’École d’-Adrien Holy and L’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.


Jansson was only 14 when she first illustrated her book “Sara och Pelle och näckens bläckfiskar” or Sara and Pelle and the Water Sprite’s Octopuses. However, this book was not published until 1933. In the 1930’s she toured and visited several European countries to showcase her art work. From the 1930s to 1953, her work for Garm, a Swedish language satirical magazine, was very much praised. She worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for this magazine.

Tove Jansson achieved international fame for her work as an author as well. She is principally known as Moomin books author. She created a family of trolls with round and smooth white appearance and named them Moomins. Her first Moomin book was written in 1945.

Although she was notably known and famous as an author, she gave importance to both her writing and illustration careers. She displayed most of her artworks during the 1930s and 1940s. In these exhibitions, she depicted her whole life through paintings.

Notable Works and Awards

Some of the most notable works of Tove Jansson include The Moomins book Series. Moomin Picture Books, Comic Strips like Mumin books are highly appreciated. Her books and novels Sommarboken, Solstaden, and Stenakern are also widely recognized.

Tove Jansson received numerous awards during her lifetime for her highly appreciated work. Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1966, Order of the Smile Award in 1975 and Pro Finlandia Award in 1976 are some of them worth mentioning.

Death and Legacy

Tove Jansson died on June 27, 2001, in Helsinki. She is buried in Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki. Her work is highly recognized even after so many years of her death. Numerous theatre productions have been staged on her novels and books. Her books have been translated into more than 45 languages. In 2004, she was selected as the main motif for the 2004 minting of a Finnish Commemorative Coin. Many other documentaries have been made on her work and life. The most recent one being the Moominland Tales: The Life of Tove Jansson by BBC.