The apple never falls far from the tree

Tanya Devaeva, March 24, 2015

A lot of illustrators have children. Friends are coming into the age of parenthood. Some of them change quickly and willingly, inspired by new topics, new limits and joys. Others change, but tend to back up their former selves. They all keep on drawing (some people even start it). Children grow up watching their parents working, and they seem to differ from the other kids somehow. Maybe it’s because of their parents’ good taste that catches on, or because it often happens that an artist’s child becomes an artist, too. We have asked some illustrators of different life and parenthood experience a lot of chaotic questions about their children. They all agree in opinion that a child should be given a free hand of what to do. That is to say, illustrators are not those people of indomitable will who sacrifice everything to one’s career in sport, music or ballet.

Masha Krasnova-Shabaeva

An illustrator as a parent

The first thing that comes to mind is that an illustrator who works at home differs from any other parent in the way he/she works, as he or she is constantly drawing pictures that attract children. And, what is more, the work is done on the computer, so the child can see the whole process, which is like a cartoon with everything moving. The child’s excitement may make it difficult for a parent to work, I think it may be more difficult only if the parent is an animator.

The influence of the family

My father is an artist. I have always enjoyed spending time in his studio, I loved listening to him talking to his friends. That’s an unusual and special part of my childhood. He has never taught me how to draw, and I took up drawing seriously only at the art college. My father is a well-known artist in my town, and other artists and critics rather skeptical about my achievements in the art sphere. Anyway, I tried to differ in style from my father’s manner as much as possible. Only some years ago I understood how much I am still inspired by his pictures, how I want to make them a part of my own visual world.

My daughter is still very small and doesn’t seem to differ from her coevals. Maybe it just takes more time for illustration to influence the child. Do I let her come into my world? Isn’t she there already as my child?


I want Nina to be a happy professional. It would be great if she found her soul-work. And I definitely won’t force her into anything that she doesn’t like. 


Taboo and personal taste

I wouldn’t like to have it all pink. However, they say pink period is an essential part of every girl’s life. 


Children’s creativity

Haven’t borrowed anything from her yet:)


Masha's dautgher illustration


Igor Kuprin


I think if there is a difference between an illustrator and any other parent, it’s about salary, or it’s better to say, the lack of salary. Honorariums aren’t regular.



Illustrators’ children are sure of their talents! At least, mine areJ We have never taught them to draw. My wife is a mathematician, and my son has taken after her. My daughter, however, is an artistic type – she’s an actress at the theatre.



My father was an engineer, but he loved drawing. He first taught me himself, then he sent me to learn it at the House of Pioneers. My mom was an HR at the Union of artists. But I never put pressure upon children. If they don’t draw – it’s ok.



There is nothing special about our approach. We trust each other, which is important. I praise my son for any pictures he makes and always excuse his art teacher as the child is quite self-assured. There are no taboos, I just recommend him something like movies to watch from time to time.



No illustrations for my children! However, we are lucky in this way.


Oleg Tischenkov

Illusions and peculiarities

The children of illustrators have no illusion that being an artist means leading bohemian life and doing nothing in particular. They understand that it’s not less hard than pleasant. But they do have an access to art products which other children have never heard of. I know some art dynasties, but I don’t think artistic nature descends from any branch.



The only thing I teach my child is that one has to look for something interesting and learn it oneself.



I try not to dominate. When the child was smaller I used to dress him in the way I like, but now I can’t impose my taste. That’s why you can now see him wearing baggy pants and listening to hip-hopJ


Child’s and adult’s creativity

I always see some idea, and I’m happy when it’s something personal. I praise and I criticize him for the pictures, trying not to oppress again.


It’s her first comics about snails. As soon as the child is a left-hander, there is no traditional order. Later I tried to explain the sequence of pictures in a comic to her.


These are two tortoises.I couldn’t help but outline the first one.


Caterpillar comics.


The bee that my daughter has drawn



The cat which I started my catcomics with


Olya Degtyareva

About me

An illustrator can draw as much as he/she wants and be very imaginative.


About children

My older one doesn’t like drawing a lot. And my younger daughter gets her pleasure from just spreading the paint onto the paper like when making a sandwich. I have recently painted the wall black in order to draw with chalk on it, and they like the idea. I guess mostly because they can draw on the wall).

Sometimes we watch pictures on Behance together and discuss which picture or character is better and why.


Finds in children’s pictures

A couple of times I borrowed a tree and some funny creatures


Taboo and the sense of beauty

I try to tell my children what’s good and what’s bad, but I never make a tragedy out of the fact that they have watched Smeshariki when visiting friends, for example.



I don’t like the idea of oppressing or forcing the child into art, I want them to find themselves. себя нашел.


Tim Yarzhombek

Everything in brief

A parent can be very efficient as an illustrator: the child is eating, you have 15 minutes to do your work, hurrah! There is really no time to procrastinate. I don’t teach them anything. But children go to the art class, where they are mostly taught to look at things. Of course I want my kid to become a banker! The only possible taboo in illustration – no bigheaded!


Evgeny Tonkonogiy

An illustrator as a parent

The children know that I draw. Sometimes they see the process and the result. They don’t seem to pay more attention to this. Of course, there is always paper, paints and pencils at home. In this way I am closer to them than a surgeon, for example.


A family

I enjoyed staying in the studio with my parents. I remember the smell of paint, dissolvent, all this creative mess around. Although the studio was in the basement, which wasn’t the right place for a child. It was wet and cold there, and I was constantly ill. But I found the place to be the coziest of all. What is more, I could draw anywhere with everything.



We bake cakes and cookies together, play games, watch movies. Our daughters go in for sport. We don’t expect them to become professionals, but it’s healthy anyway.


Children’s paintings

They don’t make illustrations. They just paint when they have a desire and tools. I always help when I’m asked to, and I never shower praises on everything my children have drawn. I like the early pictures of the children, when they didn’t have an idea of what’s right and what’s wrong in drawing. I guess all those albums at schools just kill the desire to draw instead of developing the skills.


Alice used to draw a lot when she was younger. When I had a beard, all men in her pictures had beards, they were smoking and working. It’s a picture of a New Year celebration, the artist was 5 years old and I like everything about it except the fact that I can’t draw like this. 

Veronica is almost 5 now, and she can create an image fast and easily

Alice’s picture “A date in a bar”


I had to draw different characters for a magazine in a child’s manner. So I just took the child’s pictures, as I couldn’t have done like that. 



The most important thing for children is to love what they will do. I encourage them to create something, but I don’t teach them and never make them do something artistic.



I think it’s important to show good movies and cartoons to the children, buy good toys and clothes for them, that is, to form a habit of some visual images so that later they’ll be able to screen the visual stream themselves.