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558 artworks, 45 artists
More than a century has passed since the first manuscripts appeared. Illustration has existed since about then as a drawing to supplement, explain or decorate the text. The first illustrations were miniatures, later they were replaced by woodcuts, engravings, and lithographs. For illustrators of that time, the process of creating paintings was much more complicated than for contemporary artists: their capabilities were limited, and the process was time-consuming.
With the development of printing, illustration has become widespread. From that time, not only books but also numerous periodicals — newspapers, magazines, all kinds of almanacs — have been needing artistic design. Illustrated children’s books were in great demand. In the century when various printed materials became the main source of information, many artists made their living by illustrating, and they quickly achieved their success.
The constantly improving printing process allowed them to create real masterpieces: not just black and white miniatures, but full-fledged colour paintings. The works by many illustrators are rightfully considered outstanding examples of the art classics, despite the fact that the genre of illustration can most likely be attributed to the “low” one, as well as caricature. In Russia, over the past hundred years, prominent artists such as Vasnetsov, Bilibin, Benois, and other artists have been involved in illustration. Their graphics deserve the highest praise, and the created images are easily recognizable, known and popular all over the world.
Famous Russian illustrators
Despite the wide distribution of electronic media, which are undoubtedly convenient and capacious, many readers prefer solid prints. The love of a good, beautifully designed book is ineradicable in society. Of course, children’s literature is especially in demand. It is especially important for children and their parents that the text should be supplemented visually.
Currently, the names of contemporary Russian illustrators are included in the world’s best artists lists. Many of them create fascinating illustrations for children’s books: wonderful fairy-tale pictures that you’d want to view for a long time looking for the heroes of your favourite stories in them. Illustrators use a wide variety of artistic techniques, from traditional to the latest ones. Artists of the past used such media as paints and pencils, charcoal and pastel. Modern creators, however, are not limited in their choice of techniques: the traditional tools can be combined with graphic editors, a camera, or a tablet. For the talented people of art, there are no frameworks or restrictions, and the result of their creative searches are real masterpieces.
Russian illustrators are people of different ages, very young or, on the contrary, experienced professionals who won public recognition. Among such artists known not only in Russia but also in other countries, Gennady Spirin is especially prominent as the talented graphic artist and painter. Despite the fact that he left his homeland long ago, his career began there. Spirin’s artworks are wonderful worlds, unique magical illustrations for well-known tales and stories.
Young graphic artists, as a rule, combine traditional art and modern techniques. Their paintings are characterized by dynamism and originality, vibrant colours and unique images. Max Kostenko, Denis Zilber, Vladimir Kazak, Masha Yakushina and many others are the new generation artists, each of whom works in his/her own unique, easily recognizable style.