Kolobok is an ancient Ukrainian fairy tale. It tells a story of a round loaf of bread. He is a runaway rolling through the forest, trying not to get eaten by those he meets. This kids story actually refers to the initiation ritual. And no surprise that bread is a main character. It has been sacred throughout the whole history of Ukraine, which is and always was a huge agricultural hub.
Since the tale is not that well known outside of Ukraine, I wanted to retell it visually in a single illustration. The plot is a typical quest. My screenwriting teacher used this fairy tale to teach us the plot structure formula. No wonder this tale survived through ages!
Local botanic garden is just 1000 steps from my door. Recently I went their with a new plain air easel I got as a present (thanks, mom).
I felt like a classic French Impressionist there, surrounded by all those blooming flowers.
I took my water based oil paints to try out for the first time. Have you ever used them? Acrylic paints are so much more convenient to use when you have a home studio. But nothing can replace the joyful process of painting with oil paints.
I recently made a trip to Wrocław, Poland. My friends live there, so I am a regular guest of the city.
When in Wrocław, I have one favorite quest. I am looking for dwarfs. Small monuments are all around the city, over 300 of them! It’s a funny seek-and-hide game.
Each time I visit, they inspire me for something new. I was drawing dwarfs for the travel guide at the beginning of my illustration career. I was writing a fairytale about the city of dwarfs for the publishing competition in 2021. It was later aired on the national radio. This time dwarfs are back as an illustration for social media.
A colleague at my former workplace once took a long sick leave due to severe health problems caused by stress.
Another colleague confessed to me a couple of days later how ashamed she felt. They talked just the day before and she could not recognise that person might have needed support.
I also spent a day in training with that colleague just a couple of weeks earlier. She seemed like the most cheerful and confident person. I really could not sense she was going through the hard times.
Reading someone’s soul is a magical skill.
Some people seem week and are willing to verbalise it, but they can turn out to be surprisingly resistant to all the storms in their lives.
Others look calm and tough, but you never know what fire can be burning them down from the inside. Their “I am fine” does not always mean they are.
If you are around for a while, you might remember that I had a channel on Youtube. It still exists, but I say “had” because I did not upload anything there for over a year.
YouTube was always a big milestone for me as a creative.
I found so many great artists through it. Since my Day-1 in illustration they have been a great source of learning and inspiration, both in bad times and in good times. I wanted to join this art community and share my own creative journey as well. Maybe it can help someone too.
The tricky part is that video was never my format. I love drawing, I love writing, but I never was interested in filming. I am not very comfortable in talking to camera or making voiceovers. I have always been making the type of art which did not require me to stand there next to it when the audience was coming.
So during COVID I finally gathered up caurage, launched my channel and started posting my first timelapse and speedpaint videos. It was actually a pre-launch as the idea was that I will start adding vlogs as I will be gradually learn more about filming and editing. That time it did not stick. The launch never happened.
This summer I have a bit more time for personal projects and I decided to use part of it for my YouTube re-launch. For the past few weeks I have been learning to constatnly remember to make videos for vlogs wherever I go. I am also learning some video editing skills, which currently still seems like a forbidden magic spell.
I hope that before the end of the summer I’ll gain enough skill and caurage to make some new types of videos for my channel. For now I am sharing a drawing process video. I hope you like it!
I absolutely love the city from April till September each year. (For the other half of the year I feel like packing my things and moving away to warmer sunnier places though).
For the past few days I was slowly preparing myself for the new larger personal project.
In the next months I will be working on the new picture book! I am now at the ideation phase.
With all the bad news coming from the war, I want this book to be a pleasent and safe place for a child’s mind to escape to. So regardless of the plot, I want to fill it with positive energy, wonders and enough details to capture one’s attention for long.
Last year I wrote few fairytales for a Ukrainian publisher’s contest. One of them was about dwarfs preparing the Christmas market for their town.
Few days before New Year I got contacted by national radio. They wanted to read my tale on their children’s program on the New Year’s Eve.
We listened to it all together that evening. It was read out nicely by an actor, with a lot of special effects in the back. It was a first time in years when I felt that New Year’s Eve is full of magic indeed.
Above is an illustration to that story.
Can you find all seven dwarfs hiding on the Market?
Beside the house, the cherry’s flowering, Above the trees the May bugs hum, The ploughmen from the furrows come, The girls all wander homeward, singing, And mothers wait the meal for them. Beside the house, a family supper, Above, the evening star appears, The daughter serves the dishes here; I t’s useless to advise her, mother. The nightingale won’t let her hear. Beside the house, the mother lulls The little children for the night, Then she, too, settles a t their side. And all is s till. . . Only the girls And nightingales disturb the quiet.
As I started shifting back to creative path 6 years ago, one of the biggest challenges was actually to find that Door to the world of imagination. It took years. I learnt that skill anew, but it did not become as strong of a habit as it once was. It was a tool.
Until last month. When my home country got invaded and as I continued to observe the horrible reality of war at my doorstep, I once again took that Door for what it once was. Not the entry into the world of imagination, but the escape from the real world.