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May 7, 2014
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Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin

Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin are the world-famous children's book illustrators famous for their fanciful, richly textured, tapestry-like watercolor-and-gouache book illustrations.

Andrew Dugin was born in Moscow in 1955. He studied art at the Krasnopresnenskaya Art School (1968-1972) and took private lessons from well-known Moscow artist Rostislav Barto. From 1972 to 1979, he studied at the Surikov Arts Institute. After graduating form Institute, Dugin returned to the Art School to work as a teacher. There he got to know his future wife Olga Dugina (Kotikova) who was at that time his student. In 1984, the couple got married.

While teaching at the Art School, Andrej was also busy illustrating for publishing houses and magazines. 1984 the artist spent at the Soyuzmultfilm Studio, working on an animation FOWLER. Work on the Fowler has given him a good opportunity to learn drawing in its dynamics, as well as develop a sense of composition. After completing of the animation project, Dugin has focused on book illustration.

Among the first artist’s works for the publishing houses were illustrations to the collection of poems THE CUP by Friedrich Schiller (1986) and Alexander Kazantsev’s science-fiction BURNING ISLAND (1987) published by Children's Literature.

The turning point in the Andrej Dugin’s creative destiny was a series of illustrations for EVENINGS ON A FARM NEAR DIKANKA by Nikolai Gogol commissioned by publisher Children's Literature. This order came from the artist Gennady Spirin, who for various reasons, could not bring work to the end.

Andrej and Olga, who has joined her husband in this project, focused on preparing for work on a book. They began a thorough study of Ukrainian national costume doing research in a museums and libraries. In the summer of 1987, couple went in an ethnographic expedition to Poltava with inflatable boat and tent. They visited many picturesque corners of the Poltava region, taking photos of everyday life, costumes and scenery. However, the project of Gogol’s illustrated book never was completed, because they were made only three illustrations. These three "pictures" took them two years. This strange sluggishness has a good reason – Dugins produce their illustrations in an extremely complex artistic technique, when an illustration is created as a result of intense, long and hard work.

In 1987 Verlag J.F. Schreiber, director of German publishing house Esslinger Verlag, came to Moscow from Germany. In the editorial office of the Children's literature, he saw Dugin's illustrations for Gogol and immediately offered Andrej a contract. Schreiber ordered the illustrations for the English folk tale JOHNNY-CAKE and Andrej went to Stuttgart, Germany to work on a book. Olga soon followed him. Published in 1991 JOHNNY-CAKE was reprinted later in the U.S., Spain and Austria. Dugins decided to stay in Germany.

The next fairy tale, commissioned from Dugins family by the Esslinger Verlag was THE DRAGON'S FEATHERS. Olga and Andrej were working on a book for three years. It was published in 1993 and soon became a treasure for art lovers. Richly detailed illustrations with stunning textures resemble of works by medieval artists Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Eyck. Dugins use their amazing technique to create a world of magic and poetry, where fantastic things look common, and ordinary things look unreal.

Their next book THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR Dugins drawing seven years. It was published in 2000. Since 2000, Andrej Dugin teaches at the Art School in Stuttgart. From 2002 to 2003, Andrej and Olga were concept artists on the movie "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." While working on the film they were invited to illustrate THE ADVENTURES OF ABDI, Madonna's fourth book. Work on the book took two and a half years: the endless trips to the library, incessant study of Oriental life and sketches, drawings, sketches...

In 2007, Dugins had been awarded with a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators (United States) for the illustrations to THE BRAVE LITTLE TAILOR. Their work is held in private collections worldwide, mainly in the U.S. and Germany.

At present, Olga Dugina working on the illustrations for the fairy tale THREE ORANGES. Andrej Dugin is doing the illustrations for HAMLET. Both books will be published by the publishing house Esslinger. Dugins live in Stuttgart, Germany.

Personal website: www.duginart.com

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