This is... Severus Snape with his hooked nose and:
#1 a gift to my friend ~esperanza111
for her birthday (I’m late or too early). I wish her the best in her life and lots of love.
#2 initially en entry for the Artful challenge at [link]
(I’m definitely too late)
For me the tales in JK Rowling’s books are true fairy tales, with their magic and specific purposes and meanings. The Brothers’ tale, Kreachur’s Tale, the Prince’s tale... They remind me of the old tales I’ve loved since my childhood. When I was a child, I had books with the Russian folk tales by Alexander Afanasiev and their illustrations by Ivan Bilibin [link]
. I had no idea what and where Russia was (it was written “USSR” (URSS in French) on the map, go figure): I thought it was an imaginary country with deep forests, lost princes, skulls, witches and phoenixes and I was in love with the illustrations.
One day my parents and I were invited in the house of “white Russians” in Paris. “White Russians” are the first wave of Russian immigrants in France: they are often old aristocrats, settled in Paris after the October Revolution. And there was an old man in a corner there – everyone was calling him Uncle Vladimir - who once had been a prince (“prince” in French, “kniaz” in Russian) in the Russian empire. He showed me where Russia is on the map. I asked why there was written “USSR (URSS)” and not “Russia” then. He seems to be amused. He answered me that it was a big mystery to everyone and that no one knew. I said “so, it is not an imaginary country, then?” and he answered that only USSR was not real. I decided that Old Uncle Vladimir was a true Prince. And that I loved him.
I saw him again only a few times but at our last encounter at a Russian wedding, he told me he was waiting for my own wedding from then as I was the last of her Russian children who was not married yet. I said I was not Russian and he said that it doesn’t matter where I was born on the map because remember, what is real is not on the map. Later, I married a Russian man… Russian men are real princes, aren’t they?
Uncle Vladimir died very old a few years ago and I still feel pain at the thought. He would probably say me that being nowhere on the map doesn’t matter, though....
Coming back to my work, it had been a true challenge for me. Bilibin is actually a true master and so much better than I am. I noticed that his strokes are precise and the composition of the paintings very well-thought. I had a huge difficulty to draw the lines and not to draw a mess of trees. Also, the most of his illustrations are not set in winter and therefore the colors and lighting are always different from what I needed. And if I were to add too much snow and leafless trees, it could go too far from Bilibin’s style for a forest. Snape in a Russian costume was another big issue. Bilibin’s characters are either strong with a little head if they are on the good side or long and thin if they are on the bad side. And I could not draw Snape too healthy...Healthy Snapes are out of character... And how make him identifiable in a Russian costume? I could not forget the hat in the winter but... Snape with a big hat? And, last difficulty, the texture that had to look natural enough and not too digital... Etc. I don’t know if the challenge is met in the end as IMO I lost Bilibin in the meanwhile but I did my best. I hope you can still see Snape or at least my (kniaz) Snape.Credits: JK Rowling, Ivan Bilibin and Uncle Vladimir.
Thanks so much to *joeyv7, *Preseli ^rydi1689 and `Charmandarz for suggesting and featuring this particular work as a Daily Deviation. I am particularly touched. This "Russian" piece has a personal meaning for me and I was not expecting it to be honored that way. And of course I'm happy to celebrate Severus Snape's birthday!