Alice
in Wonderland
Limited edition
 
"The Book with
pictures and
conversations"
"Alice" illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko
 
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`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' 
           `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
           `Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
 `--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
           `Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", Chapter VI "Pig and Pepper"
Lewis Carroll

 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko

Format: Hardcover, leather binding
Published: 2007
Dimensions: 100 Pages, 8.25 x 11.5 x 0.5 IN
ISBN: 978-0-9783613-0-3
Published by Studio Treasure, Toronto, Canada
Printed by The Stinehour Press
Binded by the Acme Bookbinding
Fancy Gilt Decorated Leather Binding
Gilt Edges
Collectors' Bookmark
Signed by illustrator Oleg Lipchenko

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko
Published 2007 by Studio Treasure, Toronto, Canada
ISBN: 978-0-9783613-0-3
www.surrealice.com
Reviewed by Andrew Sellon

     I first met artist Oleg Lipchenko and his wife Nataliya at the LCSNA's fall 2006 meeting in New York City. At that time, Oleg had with him a large portfolio of original renderings for his planned new edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which he graciously shared with anyone who expressed interest. I remember sitting with the portfolio on my lap, turning page after page with a growing surge of delight and admiration at the astonishing creativity and draftsmanship before me. There were so many things to admire, I truly felt as though I was glimpsing someone's personal wonderland. The layout was simply stunning. Everywhere my eye fell there were vividly realized characters and images, almost a giddy surfeit of fascinating creations pouring across the pages. I say "pouring" advisedly, because one of the most satisfying elements of Oleg's design scheme is the dreamlike fluidity of the images, and how smoothly he swirls the black, white, and sepia visual elements through and around the artfully placed text. Characters and objects seem almost to melt across the pages as vivid, surreal images might float about in a dreamer's mind. The choice of color palette and painstaking specificity of the pen and ink detailing are simultaneously Victorian and timeless. Oleg told me that (like Lewis Carroll) he was self-publishing the book to maintain complete artistic control of his personal vision. Now that the finished book is in my hands, I can only applaud that brave, doubtless expensive decision.
     The hardcover edition is elegantly simple on the outside: plain milk chocolate-colored boards, with the flowing title embossed in gold on the cover. The book has been beautifully printed by The Stinehour Press in Vermont, closely supervised by Oleg. While perhaps no printing process will ever capture the breathtaking beauty of an artist's original renderings, this book is probably as close as one could hope to come: substantial and handsome paper stock, crisply rendered black detailing, warm sepia tones. The end papers greet you with an elegant collage of the amusing characterizations we will meet inside; these pages alone would be worth the price of the book. But there is ever so much more discovery awaiting the reader, always beautifully balanced with the text. This is one of those editions where you simply can't wait to turn the page and see what unique vision will greet you next. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite characterization from the eccentrics on display. I will say that Oleg's Alice would likely lose a staring match with Tenniel's, but she does have simple beauty, and a quiet grace and openness of her own. Understandably, it's with the denizens of Wonderland that Oleg's quasi-Dickensian, quasi-cartoonish artistry shines—the clueless and hapless Bill, the argyle-sweatered professorial Tortoise, the sad-eyed and bulbous-nosed Hatter, and so many more.
     I can only hope that Oleg will do the second Alice as well, and in less than the thirty years it took to produce this gem. It's not an inexpensive edition (it's limited to 226 copies, some already sold), and it's just been announced that the Stinehour Press is regrettably closing down), but if you can manage it, do yourself a favor: buy a copy from Olegs website while you still can, curl up in a cozy chair in a quiet room like Alice at the beginning of Looking-Glass, and enjoy the trip to Wonderland all over again, courtesy of Lewis Carroll and Oleg Lipchenko.

 

I started illustrating “Alice” about thirty years ago. Having had no deadlines to meet, I wasn’t in a hurry to complete the series of Illustrations. My first attempt was in black and white, pen/ink drawings. I have made about forty drawings in this technique. Then after a while I returned to this theme and made several drawings with colored pencils. They looked quite different from my first series, but the characters were generally the same. There was a whole bunch of sketches and drafts too.
 

     Then there were two paintings: a big composition with almost all the characters and another one – “Alice in the Wood Where Things Have No Names”. After that I put this theme aside for several years. The recent series I’m working on is based on my early works, but it is made with led pencil and brown pencil on watercolor paper and seems different from all the previous works. The book with these illustrations will be printed as a limited edition.
I have to underline that I'm talking only about the first book - "Alice in Wonderland".
     

Oleg Lipchenko illustration
...Here the Queen put on her spectacles, and began staring at the Hatter,
who turned pale and fidgeted...
...........................................................................................................................
Following the text carefully is a key-rule to follow in the work of an illustrator. If you want to draw something around the story, something inspired by it, please, don’t call it an illustration. For example, I’m not considering Salvador Dali’s works about Alice as Illustrations. I even suspect Dali didn’t read Alice at all, because the only recognizable detail in his Graphic works related to Alice, is a girl’s silhouette. He could call his Graphics as Illustrations to “Anne of Green Gable”, or “Jane Air”, with the same amount of success that he got. I work on a big painting (still unfinished), dedicated to Alice. Almost all of the characters from both books (Alice) are collected on it. It is a big painting, but it isn’t an illustration, I can’t even imagine how it could possibly fit it into the book.
     Lewis Carroll gives the Illustrator a lot of freedom. There are a lot of things that aren’t given or described; he plays on the imagination of the readers, so that everyone’s views are unique. At the same time, there are many attractive details in his writing. That’s why everything could be shown differently. I like to draw with pencil on paper; I find a lot of freedom in it. The presence of color is not important to me, color is a desirable attribute for children’s books, but is not necessary. Including the brown color in my illustrations, is to bring out the reminisce that you would get in old photographs, ‘Fleur de Epoch’.
 
...They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun.
(If you don't know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.)
     

     
Oleg Lipchenko illustration
         Why "Alice"? What on Earth is so attractive about this book? First and foremost - I love this book and my love is blind. But I can try to explain my complete and utter infatuation. Lewis Carroll stepped way outside the traditional structure of fairy tales. In his story, the protagonist doesn’t complete any mission, doesn’t even have a goal. What she has is just a sequence of random wishes. First, she wants to catch up to the White Rabbit, but when the task is almost completed, she forgets what it was all about in the first place. Another one of her wishes was to get into a wonderful garden. On the way to reaching this goal, she faces strange and illogical circumstances. She’s acting like a visitor in an amusement park. There is no evil to fight in this story, there is no mission to complete, there is nobody to save, this story doesn’t teach any morals like "being honest", or that "good always defeats evil".

Oleg Lipchenko illustration


Instead it shows kids how to think philosophically, teaches them to ask the right questions, to distinguish between big and small, not in terms of the size, but rather in terms of value, helps them to realize that there is a very thin line between the “important” and the “unimportant” in this world. First and the oldest rule in the book, couldn’t be the number 42, because the world is full of surprises and unexpected events. It emphasizes the importance of finding your own size.
     Alice is approaching the world with curiosity, optimism, and without fear, the only thing she cares about is to keep her true size

Oleg Lipchenko illustration
Nobody asks Alice, is she interested?

Meanwhile you are very welcome to visit this website and even leave your comments to any topic in blog

Also you can visit my other sites:

studiotreasure.com

Studio Treasure website

and lipchenko.com


If you have any questions, please email me

 

Some words from people who own the book:

"Hi! I just wanted to let you know my copy arrived, and it's every bit as beautiful as I knew it would be. I could go on and on, but I'll just say Congratulations once again and leave it at that... The illustrations look as great on the pages as I expected, and I look forward to contributing a review to the next issue of the Knight Letter. Well done!"

Andrew Sellon, actor, LCSNA President
..................................
"Oleg - I just received my new Alice book and Ilove it! You did a beautiful job and your illustrations are just fantastic... Congratulations on a wonderful Alice in Wonderland book..."

Kim Naboshek, collector
....................................

"...the book has arrived! It is a beautiful edition, which I'm proud to include in my Alice collection...
I hope you will sell the remaining copies soon, so you can consider also illustrating the sequel ;-) "

Peter Kuipers, Literary website editor
......................................

Winner of the 2009 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award!!!

Tundra Books Edition
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
published by Tundra Books in 2009
available at Amazon.com

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“…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.” – Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award presentation

Reading the book...


Some words about places and other details...
Lewis Carroll doesn’t always describe details of a scene: personalities, objects and settings. But when he does, he doesn’t do so right away. As I have already explained the Duchess, in order to be able to imagine her, one has to read examine the second scene in which she’s acting. But how are we supposed to view her in the first scene? It’s good that she was called “Duchess” what gives us a hint that she’s wearing a duchess’ costume. That is why one of the main jobs of an illustrator is to show what Carroll will describe later or will not describe at all. Let’s talk first about the surrounding in which the action is taking place.


Sir John Tenniel

For example: everything that’s happening to Alice, Gryphon, and Mock Turtle, is usually drawn on seashore. Why? Carroll only gives two details to describe the surrounding, but not a single word about any seashore. Whoops!...
Read more

Some words about
Ugly Duchess character...

Ugly Duchess has quite a history in illustration. Sir John Tenniel created her image based on the portrait 'A Grotesque Old Woman' (1513), by the Flemish artist Quentin Massys. Not exactly the same, but the influence was very obvious.

'A Grotesque Old Woman' by Quentin Massys
"'A Grotesque Old Woman' (1513)"
by Quentin Massys

     Lets look at how the Ugly Duchess is described by Carroll; in the first scene there isn't even a hint of her appearance, she is full of pretence and we can only imagine what her true character is like by looking at her actions, analyzing her dialogues and speech. Such an ignorant and unfriendly person, she is a persistent fighter - she doesn't pay attention to the pepper in the air, or the dishes thrown at her. She makes her remarks with a "sudden violence"... Sir John Tenniel's Ugly Duchess
Sir John Tenniel's Ugly Duchess

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Any unreferred images are mine, all those which belong to the other artists have references to their authors. Same for the texts. OlegLipchenko.
 
 
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