Following in her mother’s footsteps, Tove Jansson started contributing work to a magazine called Garm in 1929. Named for the eponymous hound that guarded the gates of Hell, this Finnish equivalent of Private Eye dripped with satire, political and otherwise.

By the early 1940’s, Tove was Garm’s main illustrator – by the time of the magazine’s closure in 1953, she would have contributed over 500 cartoons, covers, frontispieces and caricatures. In fact, from 1943 onwards, virtually every single cover – often in full colour – was crafted by Tove Jansson. In Garm, she found the elbow room to experiment and develop her style. Some of her pictures reflected her earliest work as a teenager, others incorporated the signature strokes and crosshatching that would feature later in the Moomin strips.

Ah yes, Moomin. From roughly the same time, Tove Jansson started signing her work with a little character named Snork, who would become increasingly familiar in the years to come. Snork featured at least somewhere in every issue and on virtually every cover – sometimes in the background, often as an active participant in the illustration.

He wasn’t the only familiar face. Thingummy and Bob made their debut on the front page of Garm before Finn Family Moomintroll was printed, and even Prickina and Fabian from – Tove’s first published strip – had the occasional cameo.

In the course of my research, I found some gems from the archives, which I’ll share over the next few posts. With apologies for the quality, indulge yourself in a game of Hunt The Snork…