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Submitted on
December 2, 2011
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1.8 MB


17,815 (2 today)
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The Silver Doe - Snape for a Russian Friend by Vizen The Silver Doe - Snape for a Russian Friend by Vizen
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 :iconspinners--end: [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!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-01-09
The Silver Doe for a Russian Friend by *Vizen

Compliments of the suggester: "When I saw this fan art I was so stunned! The style used to present this artwork makes it all the more magical and captivating! A mesmerizing and beautiful tribute to this character!"

Also nominated by *Preseli and =joeyv7 ( Suggested by rydi1689 and Featured by TommyGK )
imhilien Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Lovely and bittersweet...
TeddyRadiator Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Professional Writer
I can't remember if I've commented on this or not, but it is so beautiful. Stark and cold, and quiet. Those are the feelings it evokes. To me, it looks as if his lovely de is looking back at him questioningly, and he is urging her on - "Go on, you have a job to do. Don't be afraid."

One only has to look at his drawn, haggard face to know this last year of his canon life was so terribly, terribly sad and full of anguish. I think this is why we love this character so much. We long to bring a little light and warmth into his life. Your beautiful art is more than brushstrokes and pigment. It is a reminder of why he haunts us all.
Vizen Featured By Owner May 26, 2013
Thank you...This piece is dear to my heart.
SassyMuffins Featured By Owner May 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Omg...The detail in's just amazing!
Phoenix-12 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
Featured in "A Tribute to Russian Artists" journal here: [link] :)
joeltonongkh Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
Awesome. I wish I did this.
laventadorn Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
I favorited this in a dash and only just now read your notes about it. Really interesting to me (in addition to its real-life background, of course!) is that it really strongly resembles some postcards I have of Russian fairy tales. Mine aren't Bilibin -- I don't know who painted them because at the moment I can't find what I did with them -- but this piece recalls them to me magnificently. Gorgeous. :)
Vizen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
That's good, I'm glad it does look Russian. :) Thank you.
JosieCarioca Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I´m always amazed at sheer amount of amazing Snape-art comes from Russian artists, so I like to think of this lovely piece as a tribute to Russian-Snape fanartists. A well deserved one, at that.

Even before I read the description I tought this had Bilibin´s style all over it. I can hardly figure out what to say, for everything here is simply perfect, pallette, composition, border...Just...whoa" :wow: :clap:
Vizen Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012
Wow, thank you. Yes, and I think that they deserve a bigger tribute for their great contribution to the fandom. And I am honored you recognized Bilibin's style. It was a hard one to capture. He is a true Master.
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