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

sonja

BouGaeVa

Birth and Upbringing

I was born in 1975 in St Petersburg

(Leningrad), where I also spent my

childhood and adolescence.

Studies and Explorations

After unsuccessful applications to study

fashion and textile design, I began

studying illustration at the Academy of

Arts in St Petersburg. I took a break

after three years and trained at an

animation studio. In 1997, I got a place

to study at a technical college in Ham­

burg (which later became the Hamburg

University of Applied Sciences). I have

lived in Germany since 1998. I com­

pleted my studies in 2004 and have

since been working for international

publishing houses.

Tools and Materials

Acrylics (painting), watercolours

(combined with drawing)

Order or Chaos?

My work area is complete chaos, espe­

cially just before a deadline. There are

countless sketches, piles of open books,

pens and tubes of paint. But when I

start working on a particular project I

aim for a certain level of order, at least

in the way I work, so that I can keep

on top of everything – for example by

working for a very long time on a story­

board until everything is just right.

I think order is generally very worth­

while, but unfortunately also difficult

to maintain. I order my thoughts or

impressions by recording them in my

sketchbook. That really helps me

to generate ideas or characters for

my work.

Heroes, Heroines and Magic Moments

My heroes: when I was studying I was

inspired by French illustrators as well

as English ones. My great role model

for creativity and artistic freedom was

John Burningham, for example, even

though I now work in a completely

different way. I admire illustrators who

can tell good stories and who work in

unconventional ways. My magic mo­

ments: being nominated for the German

Children’s Literature Prize for the book

Zwei Schwestern bekommen Besuch

(“Two Sisters Receive a Visit”) in 2005.

It meant a lot to me and was a tremen­

dous validation of my work because

it was the first book I’d done independ­

ently (alongside my degree).

Ego: Dreams and Reality

I would like to do more original chil­

dren’s books in order to realise all the

ideas that I’ve collected in my sketch­

books over the years. I’d very much like

to do something for adults at last too,

like a comic. I’m gradually getting back

into work again after the birth of my

daughter last year (magic moment!).

No talking at mealtimes

From:

Wie Frau B. so

böse wurde …

Acrylic;  ×  cm; 

Left

Preliminary sketch (detail)

For:

Wie Frau B. so böse

wurde …

 ×  cm

Right

Development of prelimi­

nary sketch (detail)

For:

Wie Frau B. so böse

wurde …

 ×  cm