My immediate thoughts when considering the visual culture of Russia went to a beautiful miniature painted scene on a wooden box that my grandmother owns. In researching Russian culture and illustration, I was most heavily influenced by the rich colours, intricate patterns and delicate line-work. I found that much of this style had seeped into the illustration of fairytale scenes – Thus, I wanted my characters to appear like fantastical creatures from Russian fables. This was why I chose to combine my characters with corresponding environments from Russia, which due to its size, contains almost every type of biome. The Olympics strike me as an opportunity to illustrate the patriotism of Russia, which is why I wanted the characters to show a coming together of all corners of the country. The elk represents the glaciers and rivers which Sochi is most known for, acting as a welcoming representative from the Paralympic Games (being shown as a double-amputee). The bear and mountain goat represent the male and female athletes respectively, combined with the forests and mountains that the animals inhabit. The red squirrel represents the spectators, being a common creature across Russia. Its ears are illustrated as the domes in the Red Square, because it felt fitting that the audience member should represent the cities. The sculpture leans more towards realism in its use of detail to reflect the Russian style of fairytale illustration (Particularly the works of Ivan Bilibin), where he is shown figure skating. I sadly did not find the time to paint it, which would have given it greater impact as a piece and shown the rich colours which are so iconic of Russia.
While I am extremely proud of my sculpture, I feel that I was not properly able to translate the fluidity in the line-work from my sketches to my digital painting. I have little experience with Photoshop, and battling with the medium limited what I could illustrate of my character’s physicality. Despite this, I feel very proud of the progress I made in illustrating using digital media.