Miffy’s creator Dick Bruna, full name “Hendrikus Magdalenus Bruna”, was born in 1927 (the year of the rabbit) in Utrecht in the Netherlands, where he still lives today with his wife Irene.
Whilst on a rainy seaside holiday in 1955, Dick Bruna entertained his young son by sketching a little bunny in the garden of his holiday home. Every night he made up stories about the bunny for his son, and soon the bunny had a name – ‘miffy’.
Dick Bruna also created many other picture book characters in his lifetime, including Snuffy the dog, Boris Bear and Poppy Pig. His first picture book, ‘the apple’, was published in 1953, and since then he’s written and illustrated 124 children’s picture books, 32 of which are about Miffy. His books are now published in more than 50 languages.
In his early career Dick Bruna worked as a graphic designer in his father’s publishing company A.W. Bruna and Zoon, creating iconic book covers and posters for the Black Bear paperback detective series, which included stories by authors such as Simenon, Charteris, Fleming and Havank. Once his own picture books became so successful, he left his father’s company to work for himself.
Early book jacket designs by Dick Bruna
Alongside his children’s books, Dick Bruna has also been commissioned to create logos and posters by various charities including The Red Cross, Amnesty International, UNICEF, World Aids Day and World Peace is Possible.
He’s now a widely known and celebrated artist; in 2001 he was decorated by Queen Beatrix as a Knight Commander in the Order of the Dutch Lion, the highest honour which can be given to a civilian. His work is constantly being exhibited worldwide, and he has his own museum, the Dick Bruna Huis in Utrecht, which opened in 2006. His books are still immensely popular and he is the most borrowed author from Dutch Libraries. Miffy is his most famous character, and stars in her own TV show, musical and movie.
You can see Dick Bruna working in his studio here: