Archive for the Russia In a Bag Category

Cartoon Cossack

Posted in Russia In a Bag with tags , , , on October 8, 2012 by Paul Swartz

This cute little Cossack is another sticker from my “Russia In A Bag” set. He looks like he’s in a rush and so am I, but I’ll be back with some writing for y’all on Wednesday!

PS – The horizontal orientation of this drawing means that it’s displayed pretty small here. You might want to click on the image for a better look at it.


Ivan the Not So Bad Once You Really Get To Know Him

Posted in Russia In a Bag with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by Paul Swartz

Here’s the next offering from the “Russia In A Bag” series I’ve been working on. I originally conceived of this one as a drawing of Ivan the Terrible, but, as a belated bout of Googling just revealed, it really isn’t. The actual Ivan, if the pictures are to be believed, had a much bushier beard and eyebrows than I drew. Anyway, the good news here is that, seeing as this is some kind of off-brand (and therefore not so monstrous?) Ivan, he’s less likely to gouge my eyes out to prevent me drawing any other tsars.

I’m pretty proud of this picture, but I really hate his hands, especially the one on his chest. It just blends in way too well. I also wish the purple popped more against the black. I tried using a brighter shade, but it was a little loud, and it tended to reduce the image’s contrasts too much. This version is kind of the (still underwhelming) best of all possible worlds.

Anyway, I hope you guys like this one, as I’ve got another hirsute avatar of Russian masculinity all ready for you next week!

Until then, enjoy this poor approximation:

If you ever make it to the Museum of Russian Costumes in Rostov Veliky, do avail yourself of the opportunity to “Try on clothers and make the picture.”

Ra, Ra, Rasputin!

Posted in Russia In a Bag with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by Paul Swartz

Ra, Ra, RasputinHey again, everybody! After nearly a year’s hiatus, I’m back, lured largely by WordPress’ map-happy stats displays. (did you know you can see the countries where your hits are coming from? Did you know they use a heat-map-style display that color codes the countries to show you how many hits they’re giving you?) Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been waiting a long time to play with something like this.

It’s not just the maps that have me blogging again, though. It’s also the insecurity. I’ve been drawing (and, increasingly, writing) these last 12 months, but my work has taken on kind of a tree falling in forest quality. I’d love to show you guys my stuff and know that it makes a sound.

I’ve got a few old projects to put up that will help catch you up on the year I’ve had. I also have a few new, in-progress projects that I’ll be working through publicly here. One of them is a new set of stickers that I’m tentatively calling “Russia In a Bag.” The Rasputin drawing up above comes from that series.

I did a lot of talking about Rasputin with students this summer, as some of them are (kind of inexplicably for pre-ironic elementary schoolers) big fans of that Boney M. song about him. It turns out the only thing harder than telling the Rasputin story without any of the sex is translating lines like: “There was a cat that really was gone.” Not that that line’s inappropriate, just goofy. Just try explaining what a “really gone cat” is to a bunch of earnest fourth graders.

Thinking about it now, I’m pretty sure I actually first learned about Rasputin from the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine.” So that’s weird. American kids of all stripes, in all places and times, seem to be learning about Rasputin through song. I wonder if any other historical figures get the same treatment?

I’m not really sure what to say about this drawing, other than that I thought a purple, Russian themed drawing would be a good first post back. It says, “I’ve been gone for a bit, I’m still the exact same person I was when I disappeared.” I actually have several versions of this drawing, some of which I might post later for commentary. Initially, he had Kaa the snake-style “hypno” eyes, but for some reason I changed them to the pinprick pupils for this post. Also, I really wanted to do his eyes in yellows for a complimentary colors thing, but, weirdly, the pink just seems to pop way more, even at the same value. Anyway, I might show some of the other versions, or even add a body later. Finally, I know that his nose is penis-y and that he’s basically got boobs for eyes, but it’s Rasputin, so I think it works.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for tonight, but man am I excited to be posting again!