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Fairy Tale – original pencil drawings

Research work and pencil illustrations

by Diana Bychkova.

Years of creation: 2004 – 2007


The theme of the research work: “Fairy tale elements in book arts”

Fairy tale elements and their graphical representation in medieval European books were studied. The page ornamentation, and its interaction with handwritten text, how the text

intertwines and transforms into vegetative elements to become the heads and tails of

fantastic beasts- this is what makes a book to cease being just an object on the table, and

allows it to acquire a completely different meaning. It becomes an independent little world, inside a larger world that is more natural to us. I gradually felt a necessity to create a great independent project. While I attentively studied these fabulous images and their outlines, I tried to understand what graphical methods could make them “come alive”, and what techniques it would take to make a ship “sail” on the pages of the book.

  The Italian folk fairy tales, in an adaptation by Italo Calvino, served as inspiration for such a project. Having read many fairy tales, I started to illustrate the characters one by one, without connecting the drawings to any specific text, but adhering to a general concept.

  Thus, thirteen large format sheets appeared that were entirely filled with fairy tale characters. I tried to achieve the maximum expressivity of image in these pencil drawings by using simple tools- I intentionally limited myself to a B2 pencil, to resist the temptation to use colours or other bright effects. I wanted to achieve vivacity and picturesque quality in the image by way of my own artistry, and from the internal strength of character being represented, without giving this character an external mask.

  The drawings were initially planned to be illustrations for a book. However, the contrary happened- rather than illustrating a text, as usually occurs, I had to write a story to fit the completed illustrations. A writer, Oleg Prihodko, helped me write a fantastic story – with good and evil, and with a thorough description of the characters and all their details.

  Work on the project continued for more than three years.



  Publications and awards:

  Winner of the gold-silver medal “Cesare Frigerio”, under the category “for the shown imagination and lighting execution of drawings in pencil technology”. (2005, Corsico, Italy).

  Publication in the historical journal of graphics and art Grafica d’Arte, edited by Paolo Bellini( 2006, Milan, Italy).

  Winner of the personal exhibition at the competition “Polar Expo”. (2009, Bergamo, Italy).

  Participation in the exhibition “Fabularia”. (2009, Milan, Italy).

  Diploma in the competition “Book Image” at the International Book Fair. (2010, Moscow, Russia).


Eight drawings out of thirteen are presented below. More pictures will be sent upon request.

№ 1/13


№ 2/13


№ 3/13


№ 5/13


№ 9/13


№ 10/13


№ 11/13



№ 12/13