Youlian Tabakov - Sketchbook №4

Youlian Tabakov / Sketchbook №4
Author: Zornitsa Hristova, publisher Tochitsa, 2019

The title of the book is a play on words. Sketchbook [Blok] No. 4 is the name of a children’s drawing pad popular in Bulgaria. But this is also the numbered apartment block (judging by the illustrations, from the time of socialism) in which the main character, Mitko, lives. “The kind of apartment blocks no one draws in a drawing class, because most people think there’s nothing to love in them.” Using the picture book genre, the authors Zornitsa Hristova and Youlian Tabakov tell us a story about the saving power of imagination. Pencils, tempera paints, felt-tip pens – the artist seems to have pulled the drawing materials out of his school bag. Rarely is the choice of technique so successfully linked to the text as here. Youlian Tabakov first takes on the role of a child and, like a child, draws a house with a sun, but then he easily returns to his role as an illustrator. He weaves jungle vines between buildings, where he lets tigers roam; he decorates tree branches with songbirds, paints little tadpoles in city puddles and graffiti on building facades. The artist’s style is elegant, relying on a clean line and colouring as delicate an oriental engraving.

Sketchbook №4

Author: Zornitsa Hristova
Illustrator: Youlian Tabakov
36 pages
210 x 290, hardback
ISBN 978-619-717-210-2
Youlian Tabakov

Youlian Tabakov

Youlian Tabakov lives and works in Sofia. He is a visual artist, set designer, and illustrator. In addition to publishing books, he realizes theatre productions and puppet plays, does scenography for opera and films, and holds conceptual exhibitions. His documentary film Tsvetanka received 13 film awards from various festivals and was part of MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Among his awards are the Golden Age award for contribution to Bulgarian culture, 2017, and the S. Dohanos award of the Society of Illustrators in New York, 2018. For children, he illustrated the books The Elephant and the Butterfly (E.E. Cummings, List, 2018), Children’s Room (M. Mussorgsky, Cultural Perspectives, 2013), and Sketchbook No. 4 (Tochitsa, 2015). Tabakov works in classic techniques such as pencil, tempera, and ink on paper.