Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
“…Oleg Lipchenko has turned this classic story into a rich expression for both the youngest reader greeting Alice for the first time and those who remember reading the original Alice as children…Lipchenko’s illustrations are more than images on a page, they are a homage to the surreality and humour of Carroll’s text as well as a meticulously and brilliantly constructed vision of a longstanding tradition in children’s literature.”
The Hunting of the Snark
“…Oleg Lipchenko’s style seems perfectly suited to Carroll’s thoroughly Victorian brand of literary psychedelia. The Toronto artist takes a Terry Gilliam–like delight in folding perspectives in on themselves and loading each image with dozens of tiny details.
His 2009 reimagining of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a visual feast, though the baroque design of the book tended to overwhelm the words on the page, making the text difficult to read.
Lipchenko has much more success with this new version of The Hunting of the Snark, an anti-epic poem that shares DNA (as well as a few creatures and portmanteau words) with Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.”
In eight sections called “fits,” the verse tells the story of a voyage by nine men and a beaver to a mysterious land. They are there, ostensibly, to capture a Snark, which is never really defined other than as a creature that may have whiskers or feathers and (wisely) “always looks grave at a pun.”
The poem is more about inertia than adventure – the hunt doesn’t really begin until the tale is more than half over. Lipchenko responds to this lack of action by making his illustrations flow around the text like a dream. Or rather, a nightmare: as the party gets closer to its prey, the images darken forbiddingly, until we finally encounter the deadly Snark/Boojum/Bandersnatch, which looks like something H.R. Giger might’ve dreamed up in a whimsical mood.
Of all Carroll’s best-known works, The Hunting of the Snark, with its highly cerebral twists and literary puzzles, may be the least kid-friendly. In Lipchenko’s hands, that barely matters: kids will get sucked in by the visuals alone. Best of all, his images provide enough fodder to inspire a hundred alternate stories.”
Humpty Dumpty and Friends
“Mother Goose rhymes are smartly paired and dreamily illustrated in this beguiling collection from Lipchenko. Each page features two poems, which often have shared elements or themes (a wide-lipped Humpty Dumpty sits reading on a stonewall, in front of a tree in which a cradle rocks precariously, hung from the horns of a bull). Classics are far outnumbered by rarer rhymes of equal charm (“As I was going out one day/ My head fell off and rolled away,/ But when I saw that it was gone,/ I picked it up and put it on”). The highly detailed and surreal nature of Lipchenko’s illustrations will keep readers poring over the pages.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY review
“…Oleg Lipchenko’s Freudoscope, a collection of “unknown facts and speculations” presented as a mock Freud biography in drawings and paintings.
Of these recent iterations, Lipchenko’s take on Freud’s legacy is the most fun, and also the most insightful. In Lipchenko’s skilled hands, Freud is a cross between Mr. Magoo and Ernest Hemingway – a man as prone to sexual vulnerability and pompousness, to brilliance and intellectual blinders, as the rest of us. Lipchenko frequently depicts Freud as half man, half lizard; a skulking, perverse creature seemingly unaware of his own primordial urges.”
“…I tried to draw illustrations that showed my initial impression or, more accurately, what was left from my first impression combined with a deeper reading of the text. It formed the way I see the settings. It’s possible that I don’t always follow the text exactly, well, at least I’m sincere about it…”
DRAWING TREACLE WELL by Oleg Lipchenko