Monday, 1 February 2016

The Amazing World of Hilda

Hilda and the Troll first graced our bookshelves back in 2010 (known then as Hildafolk). Since then Hilda has had four adventures, with a fifth out later this year. So what's it all about and why should you buy a beret and dye your hair blue? Read on and you'll wonder how you ever lived without Hilda in your life!

Hilda is the creation of uber talented illustrator and writer Luke Pearson. Pearson currently resides in Nottingham and was born in Stockton on Tees in 1987. He draws comics and does various kinds of illustration work, including illustration for magazines and newspapers, book covers, poster design and development work for animation. More recently Pearson has got to storyboard and write for Cartoon Network's Adventure Time as well as having clients such as The New Yorker, The New York Times and Disney

Hilda's world

Hilda was born out of Pearson wanting to create a comic that drew on low key Scandinavian folklore and a few other personal interests. Ideally Pearson wanted a character who was very positive and who would get caught up in adventures as a result of her own curiosity, empathy or sense of responsibility. In an interview in 2014, Pearson said; "I knew she should be interested in everything and constantly questioning the things that happen to her. She is pretty effortless to write though which makes me think she barely has a character at all sometimes. It just seems obvious to me what she’d do and it’s the other characters I really have to think about and “write” more consciously. The only firm “don’t” I gave myself is that she should be non-violent and that she never resolves anything with a fight". 

Pearson's inspiration for the stories comes from one main source, a book called Scandinavian Folk-Lore: Illustrations of the Traditional Beliefs of the Northern Peoples, by William A Craigie, which was published in 1896. Apart from these myths influencing characters and storylines, Pearson sets Hilda in a purely fantasy world, with not having to worry about things like Period outfits/clothing and technology.

Hilda's desk and findings

Hilda lives out in the countryside, with the nearest city being the fictitious Trolberg. The books are set in an alternative present day, with Hilda being an adventurous child. Her adventures are born out of her curiosity of the world around her, with her eagerness getting her in tricky situations. In a world where she can meet Scandinavian myths like Trolls and Giants. She lives with her mother, who is a single parent and who works mostly from home. 

With Hilda already getting international acclaim and fans praising the work as modern classics, there's no wonder Pearson is getting compared to legends such as Tove Jansson, Jonathan Swift and Hayao Miyazaki. There's also the likelyhood of an upcoming animation series, which can only be a good thing as Pearson has been involved with the best kids cartoon on TV, Adventure Time!

Early sketchbook work for Hildafolk

Hope you've enjoyed this insight into the world of all things Hilda and that a little part of you has become a fan. Throughout the week I will be reviewing all the past titles, with a huge Hilda exclusive on Friday. Fly over to my twitter page where Flying Eye Books will be giving away some Hilda booty to celebrate the release of the paperback printing of Hilda and the Midnight Giant. Coming up next, my review of Hilda and the Troll.

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