We’re presenting part two of works by creators, who are spreading the truth about the war in Ukraine (read the first part here). Various authors have shared their favorite illustrations with us. They also told us about how their lives have changed since the beginning of the full-scale war, where they find energy for creativity, what messages they spread, and how they see the role of creators today.
Oksana Drachkovska (@oksanadrachkovskaillustration)
Before the war, I had a peaceful life in Lviv, Ukraine. In the morning, I used to go to my studio downtown where I was working on several different and interesting projects at the same time. Actually, I finally started to rent my own apartment this February and really enjoyed taking such a brave step. But my enjoyment didn’t last long. On the fourth day of the war, I left to Warsaw and now live at my friend’s place. Being terrified, I was of very little use. That’s why I decided that if I were in a calmer place, I would be able to work and help my country financially. I also gave my apartment to a family from Kyiv.
For me, what I do is my source of energy. When I am drawing, I find myself in the world I am creating. Afterwards, I see details of my illustrations everywhere in our reality. And my illustrations about the war help me let my emotions out, because I find it difficult to talk or write on this subject – everything is mixed up in my head. When I start drawing, I pull myself together.
With my works, I want to show all the horrible things that Russia is doing in my country, so that the world doesn’t stand on the sidelines of our pain.
My illustration about Mariupol has greatly touched many people. I didn’t intend to make something as powerful. It’s just that for two days, I had been totally unable to understand how one can throw bombs on children’s hospitals and maternity homes.
For me, it’s hard to say which work is the most valuable one… but my illustration about Mariupol has greatly touched many people. I didn’t intend to make something as powerful. It’s just that for two days I had been totally unable to understand how one can throw bombs on children’s hospitals and maternity homes. I thought of it as the pinnacle of evil. The image of a stork carrying a baby, while the baby is flying straight to heaven, appeared in my head and I drew it right away.
My life has changed like all of our lives have: everlasting stress, lack of normal sleep, hours in the basement, news every single minute, and anger about the fact that all of this is happening in the center of Europe in the 21st century. Although it’s rather quiet in our city, and I feel relatively safe, the missiles still scare me.
It’s the drawing that calms me down and helps me live through all these horrors. My illustrations are my reaction to the news, which I internalize. Most of them are dedicated to events that happened on particular days, as well as to the videos of civilians showing their heroic resistance against invaders. By intuition, I decided that my drawings need to carry encouraging or humorous messages, since there’s already enough negativity.
The main purpose of my drawings is to show our experience to the world, as well as to cheer up Ukrainians, since the illustrated materials also are a powerful weapon.
It’s the drawing that calms me down and helps me live through all these horrors. My illustrations are my reaction to the news, which I internalize.
It’s hard to highlight one particular piece of work. Perhaps, “Good evening, we are from Ukraine” is one of my favorites. I made it on the day when Russians ruined the Maria Prymachenko Museum; I based the composition on one of her paintings having added some modern heroes and our realia. The composition includes modern folklore heroes – gopniks from Troyeshchina (one of Kyiv districts), a peasant, and the Witch of Konotop with attributes that convey people’s resistance in this liberation struggle.
Sashko Danylenko (@sashko.danylenko.art)
I’ve been living 10 time zones away from Kyiv for a good while already. But I have strong relations with Ukraine. Moreover, after I moved to the States and started working there, I got an opportunity to create projects that I consider important and interesting without regard to financial factors.
Starting from the first day of the war, my creative work has gained pace in a totally opposite direction. I feel the need for informational and cultural support for our victory. Now, altogether, we are writing an important page in Ukrainian history; in a big and hard type font. The global community’s attention and support is drawn to Ukraine, and the role of artists and creators now is to explain to the world why Ukraine is so important and great. Why evil and Putin’s empire must be stopped.
I’ve always liked stories about superheroes, heroes of epos, and comic books. Now, there’s no need to make anything up, because legends are born in front of our eyes; you just have to do your best to draw fast enough.
We have to knock at the biggest doors and speak loudly. It’s hard to believe that my graphic works are now demonstrated on the screens of Times Square in New York, as well as on billboards, where thousands of cars drive by every day.
This is an example of the fact that the whole world supports Ukraine as much as possible, and that the actions of Ukrainian volunteer organizations abroad are influential and visible to everyone. Now, they are struggling to close the sky over Ukraine and provide Ukraine with even more aid. Media companies, businesses, as well as active citizens of the USA join this struggle.
We have founded the Graphic battalion – a community of multimedia volunteers who are working for the victory of Ukraine. We are helping journalists, medical workers, fundraisers, psychologists working with children, and many other people with video editing, graphic design, illustrations, translations, animation, etc.
Apart from that, I consider the project about Ukrainian superheroes of great importance. It’s an illustration series, where I draw heroes of today, ordinary people who showed extraordinary abilities of courage, humanity, and bravery. I’ve always liked stories about superheroes, heroes of epos, and comic books. Now, there’s no need to make anything up, because legends are born in front of our eyes; you just have to do your best to draw fast enough. I have a dream – after Ukraine’s victory, I want to make murals from these illustrations in rebuilt cities where our heroes come from. I have zero doubts that we will win!
Yeva Hart (@yeva.hart)
Russia’s attack on Ukraine wasn’t unexpected for me, however, I wasn’t prepared for it morally. It’s like a story that has been lasting for a very long time, and suddenly here is its culmination. It’s not that my life has changed, but it has moved to a new phase. Now, I feel like a part of society. I deeply care about everything that is happening in my country, as if EVERYTHING is happening directly to me.
Works appealing to close the sky are extremely valuable to me. Creating them was an impulse of emotions, a desire to make a difference at least in this way.
My main motivation is that I have something to say. I believe that any voice matters and this empowers me. I will speak out, even if only one person hears me. I want to show how the situation looks through my eyes and how I feel it.
An artist’s voice is really powerful. With the help of our creations, we are able to communicate with many people from all over the world. Now, in the time of fakes and disinformation, the most important thing is to spread the truth about events in Ukraine. For Ukrainian artists, it’s important to make sure that discussion about this war doesn’t stop, so that people don’t forget about us. Regardless of audience size, together, we have the power to draw attention to key issues.
I can’t escape the thought that now, there’s no safe place in Ukraine. Anyone can die, whether they’re a military person or a civilian. Russia is shelling wherever it likes: residential buildings, hospitals, maternity homes, churches, nuclear power plants, listed buildings. Nobody knows where exactly a missile, a bomb, or artillery will hit next time. Nobody knows whether our armed forces will manage to shoot it down. That’s why works appealing to close the sky are extremely valuable for me. Creating them was an impulse of emotions, a desire to make a difference at least in this way. I have no doubts that Ukraine will win, but the question is, what price will it take? Every single life is precious. Our Western partners are able to help save thousands of lives. That’s what I wanted to tell.
I’ve stopped dreaming about anything except the end of this war. I’ve gotten used to air raid sirens. I’ve learned how to pack my entire life in one backpack.
People find energy somewhere to pull out injured people from under the rubble, to repulse attacks of the rushists, to deliver babies under shellfire. Drawing requires about a billion times less energy.
During the first few days, I thought I could show the truth to “propaganda-zombified” people. But it’s impossible. They are afraid to call the war a “war”. What’s the truth for them? Now, I just draw what I see around. Let there be colorful illustrations in our history books.
The most important thing right now is to be human. To do what you can. To help whom you can. And when you have a spare minute – to remember that you are also an artist.
The important thing right now is to be human. To do what you can. To help whom you can. And when you have a spare minute – to remember that you are also an artist and create something for the history books.
I don’t value my works about the war. I wish I had no reason to create them. But, I guess the best work will be the one I draw on victory day.
Art During The War: How Ukrainian Illustrators Spread The Truth And Cooperate With Global Media (Part 1)
Depositphotos Blog Digest
Join a community of 160,000 monthly readers who are obsessed with
amazing visuals, useful tips, and great stories