Nøkken Paper Illustration - Katrine Hesselberg

I love seeing brand new art by a brand new artist... meet Katrine Hesselberg from Oslo, Norway. She very recently was awarded a BA in graphic design and wrote to tell me that she became interested in working with paper during her last year at school. This project is her interpretation of Nøkken, a character in Norwegian folklore.

Nøkken Paper Sculpture Interpretation by Katrine Hesselberg

Katrine describes him as a "shape shifter who is portrayed as a handsome young man, a wild and beautiful horse, and a sea monster in different tales."

Nøkken Paper Sculpture Interpretation by Katrine Hesselberg

"He lives in a pond in the dark woods and lures young women and children down to the water to drown them." Yikes... Nøkken sounds like a nightmare inducer to me!

Nøkken Paper Sculpture Interpretation by Katrine Hesselberg

I was curious to learn more, especially when Katrine mentioned working with paper "to see if it was possible to give Nøkken a new face, using new (but old) material."

Nøkken Paper Sculpture by Katrine Hesselberg - Detail

You mentioned using new (but old) material to create this project. What do you mean by that?

I meant that paper is an old material, but I am using it in a new way compared to how our folklore is usually portrayed. Artist Theodor Kittelsen is famous for his illustrations of Norwegian folklore. And whenever it is mentioned, I believe most people think of him because he has created this big, beautiful universe. Everyone should take a look at his work!

Nøkken Paper Sculpture by Katrine Hesselberg - Detail

Are you experimenting with paper with the intention of becoming a full-time paper artist or do you prefer graphic design work?

Currently paper is a hobby, but I am really enjoying using my hands more and thinking a bit differently when I am in the paper zone! And I do love to illustrate. Because I just finished my degree, I am trying to find my place in this business. For the time being I want to do both graphic design and paper; maybe a mix? We are so used to the digital part of the design business, but I think graphic design could be much more than it is today if we start thinking about other materials as well.

Nøkken Paper Sculpture Scene by Katrine Hesselberg

Nøkken sounds like quite the scary fellow! Does the tale have a happy ending?

Yes, he is meant to be scary so children won't go near the water by themselves or talk to strangers. Nøkken is a really sad and lonely character, and is actually mentioned in several tales, not just one.

Nøkken Paper Sculpture Scene by Katrine Hesselberg

What's next for you, Katrine?

Soon I will be updating my Behance page with additional paper projects. I can be found on Instagram and via my website, Katrine Hesselberg.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

This is a short biography of the post author and you can replace it with your own biography.


  1. Ann, I am always amazed at what people can create with just paper. My favorite one is the horse. Thanks for sharing Pat

    1. Completely agree, Patricia! Thanks for your comment.


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