Best known for his series about the old farmer Pettson and his talented cat Findus, Sven Otto Rickard Nordqvist originally wanted to be an illustrator but was rejected by several art schools. Instead he studied architecture at Lund Institute of Technology, and worked for a time there as a lecturer in architecture. At the same time he continued to look for work as an illustrator working on advertisements, posters and picture books. In 1983 he won first prize in a children’s book competition and since then has worked exclusively as an author and illustrator of children’s books.
During his career, Sven has been given awards in both Sweden and Germany. His Pettson and Findus books are especially popular in Germany, where the characters are known as Pettersson and Findus. In Danish they are called Peddersen and Findus, in Norwegian Pettersen and Findus, in Finnish Pesonen and Viiru, while in English, they are Festus and Mercury, though English translations of the books exist with the original names kept. Pettson and Findus was adapted for television in 1999.