Mats Vänehem

I moved from my childhood city Örebro to Stockholm in 1990 to work as an illustrator. I had just completed one year of basic art training at Sörängens Folkhögskola in Småland, Sweden, when I was employed by an illustration studio. Clients came from various advertising agencies, publishers of science and schoolbooks.

A couple of years later I went to Stockholm University, studying the Cultural Studies Program, 180 ECTS, with archaeology and ethnology as my main subjects. The Bachelor´s Degree gave me a job at the Stockholm County Museum. For 15 years I worked as an archaeologist with commissioned surveys, excavations, exhibitions and a number of different projects.

I continued to illustrate archaeology and history part time for various clients like museum exhibitions, publishing houses and popular science magazines all over Sweden.

In 2011 I started working full time as a freelance illustrator. The spectrum of clients now became broader. For example, between 2015 – 2017 I was contracted as an expert illustrator and artistic supervisor for the creation of the scenography in the darkride Ragnfrids Saga, at Vikingaliv in Stockholm.

For shorter periods of time, I’ve worked abroad with foreign partners and my illustrations can nowadays be seen in books, magazines and at museum exhibitions all around the world.

For about ten years I ‘ve been making children’s books, published by Bonnier Carlsen. I illustrate a series of books for early readers called Riddarskolan (The School for Knights), written by Magnus Ljunggren. I have both written and illustrated two books on archaeology for kids: Hitta historien (Finding History) and Vikingar (Vikings). I also illustrate a series of books about a Viking Age boy and a girl called Halvdan & Meia, written by Martin Widmark. 

My own books, as well as Riddarskolan and Halvdan & Meia, are translated to different languages and published in Europe, The Middle East and China. From October 2018 the feature movie Halvdan Viking (Halvdan the Viking) can be seen on cinemas in Sweden.