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  • Igor OleynikovIllustrator–Russia

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Igor Oleynikov was born January 4, 1953 in Lubertsy, a satellite town of Moscow. He started drawing since childhood but never got an art education. As an artist, Oleynikov started with cartoons, worked as an art director of animated movies, and then started making books for children. More than eighty books for children and teenagers have been published with his illustrations. His first important step, professionally, was at the Sojuzmultfilm animations studio, first as an assistant artist and then as an artist for Sojuzmultfilm until 1991. His main artworks there were The Mystery of the Third Planet, The Khalif Stork, A Tale about the Silly Husband, and The Shoemaker and the Mermaid. He has also worked for the Christmas Film studio and there made such animated films as The Magic Flute, Iona, The Magic Brush, and Persephone. Since 1986, Oleynikov has been working for book and magazine publishers in Moscow. Meanwhile, he continues to draw cartoons and cannot really say what he likes more, cartoons or books. He is married and has children, a granddaughter, and a grandson that he loves very much.

Oleynikov is one of the most appreciated contemporary Russian illustrators. He has illustrated so many and such diverse books that they could easily span multiple professional careers. He works much and he works fast. The worlds that he creates spellbind both children and adults. His eye is unique, his space is vast, and his characters are unusual. Oleynikov's experience while working in animation gives him a specificity—his illustrations are very dynamic, sometimes they look like cinematic shots. Oleynikov's interpretation of classical and traditional pieces of literature is always surprising; it is never what you expect.

Oleynikov strives to make fantasy real, to use his art to suspend disbelief. He says, characteristically, "I'm interested in making fantasy real by means of illustration, to assure the reader that events described in the book had really happened." [End Page 60]



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