Visual Storyteller

posted on Mon, Aug 1 2016 8:00 am by Anya Britzius


Wisconsin-born Max Estes is the author and illustrator of more than a dozen children’s books and graphic novels published in North America and Europe. He moved to Norway in 2009 for love, and currently resides in Lofoten, Norway, with his wife. In the August 2016 issue of Viking, we talked with Estes about his career and inspirations. Check out more from the interview below.

How did you decide to be a children’s author?

By sheer coincidence, good timing, and good fortune. After moving to Oslo in 2009, I joined an illustration studio who’s members were primarily children’s authors and illustrators. They suggested I meet with their editor, and thus began my career in kid’s books.

What career highlight has been your favorite?

It’s always great fun to receive my latest book in the post, but receiving my first book, Søppel (Norwegian for Rubbish), about a day on the job with garbage men, is hard to top. I’m having just as much fun writing and illustrating kid’s books today as I had nearly a decade ago when I first started. In that sense, every book is a highlight.

Where are some locations in Norway you recommend to travelers?

It’s pretty remote, but I highly recommend visiting Lofoten, Norway’s Arctic archipelago. The islands feature some of the world’s oldest mountains, Norway’s most diverse birdlife, quaint fishing villages, and amazing hiking opportunities.

What other projects have you done besides writing and illustrating children’s books?

Most recently, I’ve teamed up with two Norwegians to found Lyng, a Norwegian design brand that produces housewares, such as birch veneer cutting boards and enamel camping mugs. These items feature my designs, which are inspired by Norway’s landscape and culture.

What’s next for you in the future?

My wife and I are collaborating on a non-fiction book for teens. It’ll be the first time I illustrate a book for another author. The book explores mysterious creatures of the sea, such as the giant squid and the little-known colossal squid.