Readers consider this a photo blog, and that is indeed what I post most often. Of course, just a few months ago, I occasionally shared my digital illustration or other kinds of artistic pursuits.

As of late, however, the workflow has been such that much of what I do is a lot less glamorous, such as the diagrams below.

And the layout for the whole book.

And the text translation.

Everything other than writing the book, in other words.

"This will hopefully be in libraries—it is for posterity," is how one convinces oneself to continue something so time- and effort-intensive. ;)

Yeti and a Girl (WIP)

I am a bit of a perfectionist, so it's uncomfortable for me to post a work in progress ("WIP")--a poster segment, in this case--when the final result is nowhere near in sight. 

On the other hand, I think it's important for those who create images to post blogs like this. After all, I've lost count of how many times I've heard the assumption that illustrations who, gasp!, use the computer, have some sort of a "magic button" that automatically generates the end result.

Not quite:


We can't always be sensitive artists nourishing the soul by creating beauty. Sometimes, we have to leave the clouds to engage in commercial imagery.

Okay, that happens most of the time.

Here is one of my simple vector illustrations on the subject of autumn. Though, instead of captioning it with "Fall sale! Amazing deals!", I'm displaying it with a Pushkin quotation.

You know, for the soul.


Raven Ravenson and the Crescent Moon

My purpose here was to create a simple, heavily stylized illustration in the realm of Slavic mythology--as if for a children's book--using natural materials, in this case, wood, golden buttons (tansy), and tea leaves. 

This illustration features, you guessed it!, two of my favorite characters  as part of a recurrent motif.

Raven Ravenson and the Crescent Moon--they meet again! 

Slightly modifying a particular tale from Slavic folklore, we have:

Simargl, having lost his first-born, died of grief, his heart aching like that of a wounded bird. And he turned into a black Raven Ravenson known as the Iron Beak. And he took off and landed atop the Crescent Moon made of copper. And he began to oversee human affairs, becoming a god.


Whenever I create images out of natural materials, photography is as important as the original. You can see the difference between the pictures above and below: the latter was shot outside, with sunbeams lighting the tansy Moon as if it were its real equivalent up above.  

The Sun, the Moon, and Raven Ravenson

The other day, two fellow Slavs with a similar taste in underground forms of music reminded me of a classic Russian fairy tale, The Sun, the (Crescent) Moon, and Raven Ravenson.  

Perhaps, it was due to the natural elements present in the latter more so than, say, Koschei the Deathless, that I couldn't get this strange tale out of my head. So much so that I decided to pull together a quick illustration, as if for a children's book.

(If interested, I found an English translation on Google books. For those who don't bother clicking on the link:  I must specify that all three characters are masculine, whereas I'm used to personifying the Moon in the feminine.)

In the last little while, I've been reexamining folk culture, particularly my own, through the lens of sociologie de l'imaginaire. The latter is a method which combines the scholarship of Carl Jung on the collective unconscious and that of David Émile Durkheim on the collective consciousness, respectively. This research area refers to the sum total of surface-based cultural features as the logos, whereas mythos stands for the symbolic and archaic undercurrents pushed into the unconscious, the Dreamworld, in the Modern period. Unlike Europe, this is a relatively new field of expertise for Russian sociologists, according to Alexandr Dugin.

By analyzing various traditional attributes, such as the types of folk-tale characters that are prevalent in a particular culture, the sociology of the imaginary allows one to determine its collective functioning regime. I bring this up now because I've realized that

Russians are the Moon People.

That's what I'd call us, that is. With the exception of the Cossack soslovie, Russians, by and large, operate according to a nocturnal feminine system (as per Dugin's Logos and Mythos, untranslated). (For instance and by contrast, Germans, collectively, are diurnal masculine types.)

The above makes Russian tales and legends a particularly fruitful area for me to pursue creatively.


Fishing Pin-up

In light of what I normally post on this blog, it might be somewhat surprising to see a blonde bombshell show up amidst all the wildlife and Heideggerian (!) imagery (albeit in cartoon form)! Yet I also enjoy creating lighthearted illustrations within the realm of pop culture, such as this one.

My client requested a remake of a vintage American pin-up with a fishing theme, but with a twist--it had to be transformed into a cartoon portrait of her. (The original was a wavy-haired brunette.) So what I've attempted to do was modernize the image while maintaining the elongated proportions of the original pin-up look. 

Dead Egg (or a Really Injured One)

Whereas I'm not the first and--hopefully!--not the last to use eggs in photo illustration, I'm probably one of the only fans of rock and heavy-metal music convinced that several album covers could be improved by featuring them. 

Let's take the classics, for instance. ANTHRAX - Fistful of Metal clearly needs an expressive egg, and so does the entire IRON MAIDEN discography. And then, of course, there are the "brutal" genres that could use a bit of whimsy.

Okay, a lot

I think you see where I'm going with this brilliant proposal. I just hope you don't expect me to "Photoshop" it!  

The Law and I

I suppose I should actually blog about some of the major projects in publishing--my current field--that I've completed recently, huh? :)

The 2012 installment of The Law and I (Zakon i ia) has just been released. The latter is a charitable undertaking on the part of Russia's well-known lawyer, radio and TV personality, Ruben Markaryan, who also functions as the editor-in-chief of Zakonia.Ru, that country's premiere online legal portal. This doorstopper of a publication is kind of an annual report in the legal field, but with a twist. It is a collection of articles that are sharp, funny, and, at times, snarky, so illustrating them was quite an enjoyable experience for me! 

The book's editor with whom I've worked gave me a lot of creative freedom. Equally important, this project served as a viable lesson in terms of dealing with a client across an ocean (i.e., between western North America and Moscow) on something of this size. I've produced over 50 photo-illustrations--many of which were conceptual--and some of which I've blogged about earlier. Like these:


I was also responsible for cover art and graphic design. We've chosen an immediately obvious archetypal Blind-Justice concept. I certainly remember climbing this Classical-throwback statue (outside of a private home and with permission, worry not!) in the dead of winter with a massive snowstorm, to boot, to blindfold and photograph it. 

Next time I might consider wearing gloves! 

The book's presentation took place at a legal forum in Saint Petersburg, which I missed by a day, literally!

Source: personal archive of's editor-in-chief.

Russian actors Nikolai Serdtsev and  Maria Malinovskaia from Trial by Jury: Final Verdict, a popular daytime television show screened on Russian state channel NTV check out their colleague's new book:

Source: personal archive of's editor-in-chief.

Source: personal archive of's editor-in-chief.

Despite the fear of sounding trite, I will say that I've had a wonderful experience, and I'd love to be able to pursue similar projects for the Russian audience in the future.

Dear Future, please come soon!