Victor Sukhochev is a talented illustrator and graphic designer based out of Russia. He recently put a new spin on some classic characters with his series, Creatures From Russian Myths and Fairy Tales. Using modern tools, Illustrator and Photoshop, Sukhochev renders eight black and white images of long-ago creatures, many of them depicted with lots of edges and jagged corners applied to figures seemingly inspired heavily by traditional Eastern art. One could easily imagine walking past one of Sukhochev’s fairy tale illustrations on the wall of an ancient building in Russia. The edges and corners suggest the dark nature many of these characters take on through the storytelling traditions.
Russian Myth Creature: Koschei
One could take Koschei for example. Koschei is a male archetype in Slavic folklore who appears in a few stories, most recognizably being the Russian version of The Frog Princess. His main role in stories is to abduct the wife of the hero in the story. He is often depicted in a manner similar to how Sukhochev has depicted him in his series, as an old, decrepit, ugly man, skeletal in appearance. Sukhochev also depicts the other notable element about Koschei, the needle which holds his soul which must be broken in order to kill him. In the folklore, the needle lay inside of an egg which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, which is buried under a tree. One must get into the chest and then through every subsequent holder of the needle in order to get to the needle. Here Sukhochev shows Koschei holding the needle in his hands, brazenly, almost like he’s willing to cut somebody with it or garrote them with the thread already threaded through the needle. It’s menacing and playful, light and dark, new and old. It’s emblematic of the series as a whole and of Sukhochev as an artist.
Do yourself a favor and take a look and then take a moment to read up on the rest of the characters, it’s well worth it.
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