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Artists of miracles

Despite the fact that we are all so different, and we live in different places, and speak different languages, and play different games, all over the world, at all times children love books with pictures equally, and the more interesting pictures they have , the brighter their fantasies become, the better they understand the meaning of things still incomprehensible, at an incredible speed “absorbing” everything new that they see eyes and hear ears.

In the world of childhood, a special role is assigned to the artist who creates illustrations for books, because he has a huge responsibility not only to ensure that the images he creates match the content, but also to make the pictures like and love by young readers, since they are the real ones critics, even the smallest among them, still cannot read.

Already in the 15th century, adults knew that children love to consider pictures, so they began to publish Bibles and primers with illustrations, because in order to understand what is shown in the picture, the child was ready to read any, even the most boring, text. And by the beginning of the 20th century, in almost all countries, an illustrated book for children was becoming an object for artistic searches by major masters of graphics and painting. Very interesting are the works of Russian artists of the 1920s V. Lebedev, El Lissitzky, V. Favorsky, P. Miturich and many others. Their experience became the basis for a special science – the art of books, the purpose of which was the artistic unity of the design of children’s books, and illustrations are still considered bright findings in this area.

Later, the artists rethought the structure of books for children, and decided to do everything possible to penetrate as deeply as possible into the world of childhood, and create completely different books that would not only fit perfectly into this world, but also become part of it. During this period, famous painters and graphic artists (Maurice Sendak and Leo Lionni in the USA, Emanuel Ludzati in Italy, Caledonio Perelion in Spain, Andre Francois and Patrick Kuraten in France, Ib Spang Olsen in Denmark, Binet Schroeder in Germany, Iri and Tosi Maruki in Japan) became authors, and they themselves wrote texts for their pictures, and then they released bright books, each of which was an example of the unity of text and image.

Many great Russian artists realized their talent precisely in creating illustrations for children’s books. Such pictures, comprehended by creative people, made by the hands of real masters were not just decorations of publications supplementing the main text, but also introduced young readers to high art. These are engravings by A.I. Ivanov to “Ruslan and Lyudmila” A.S. Pushkin, and the work of I.Ya. Bilibin, who created the “ABC in Pictures”, artists of the “Abramtsevo Circle” V.M. Vasnetsova, M.A. Vrubel, V.A. Serov, artists included in the group “World of Art”, whose illustrations for fairy tales remain excellent examples of the design of children’s books.
An illustrator is a co-author of a book, especially a children’s one, because drawings in it are often more important than text. For such a book, being poorly illustrated means being uninteresting and unreadable, so any illustration is determined by the quality of its performance. Modern printing facilities meet the highest requirements for the quality of books published for children – store shelves are crammed with the best editions, but it’s worth a lot of effort and time to find at least a few books that meet the most important requirement in the illustrative design of the publication – the presence of artistry, not to mention about the good taste and personality of the art style. Of course, it’s natural for a child to take from the shelf that book that catches his eye, on the cover of which he sees familiar Disney heroes, rather than sorting through books in search of highly artistic illustrations. However, books, illustrated in such a way that they can be called a work of art, are still published today, although there are much fewer than before.

The most striking example of a special attitude to the children’s book, in my opinion, is shown by the Kiev artist Vladislav Erko, who draws up stunning illustrations for the book for both children and adults: “Tales of the Foggy Albion”, “The Snow Queen”, “One Hundred Tales”, “ Alice in Wonderland ”, illustrations for the books of Paulo Coelho and for the works of Carlos Castaneda, Richard Bach. In 2002, he was recognized by the “Book Man” as the best artist. His illustrations can be watched for hours, each time admiring the intricate fantasies, philosophical and subtle humor of the author, the correct form and purity of colors, painstaking detail and a variety of textures. From childhood, he perceives the world as he sees it on the pages of books, so his work is so original. Yerko creates for children his own artistic tales, inextricably linked with the text, but at the same time leading to another world, devoid of textual canvas, inhabited by magical images of other stories that have not yet been invented and not told. In these drawings, you can plunge headlong into it, as in childhood dreams.

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