For OGONYOK magazine
I didn't do a lot of books, but nevertheless there was never a time when the work went smoothly "in a creative milieu." Always I had the feeling that I was in the wrong place. Senile old women, or well-educated blabbermouths, or obvious hustlers.
Of course I didn't think then nor now, that I did over-talented illustrations, but when I took a manuscript, I always worried about how to make it interesting. Not just "good," but "interesting." I don't have a special "book graphics education." Czech and German books were my education. I followed the results of book competitions in Bratislava or Leipzig and then looked for the prize-winning books in "Druzhba" store [specialized in selling books from East European countries]. A strange education but it was better than the "knowledge" with which people were stuffed at the time.
Of course, my work for "Ogonyok" of the 1980s stands apart.
Today my attitude to all these "editorial" stories is quite different. At least I was able to support my family and was already happy doing my own works, for myself. There was a time when I went to work every day and in the evening after the film studio I drew some pictures for random magazines and then late at night I could do something for myself. When I recall some particular works, I can't forget the fear. Real fear. Because these were not abstract drawings where one could refer to the depiction of "inner being" or "mood of the spirit." These were whole newspaper pages with Zoshchenko's book heroes reading Brezhnev's "Renaissance." I did it in the middle of the 1970s. I hope one day I'll have time to write more about these things.

[Here there is a list of thirty-six publishers in Moscow, where Levon Khatchatrian illustrated all kind of things: short stories in authoritative "Ogoniok" magazine (many were published in Russia for the first time), detective stories, caricatures, portraits, children's illustrations, and the drawings on how to sew slippers and knit hats...]

I don't remember more. Probably I forgot something. Doesn't matter. There were all sorts. For some publishers I made only one work, with others I worked for several long years. In some editorial offices I met nationalists, in others - obvious left-wingers, in still others they didn't like people from the Caucasus. In one place I was respected as the illustrator from "Ogonyok"; in another place I was loved as the author of the "Prostokvashino" animated series.
There was everything except a career and insolence.

From Levon Khatchatrian's notes, 1999


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


For MY [We] magazine

Various magazine graphics

Various book graphics

Children's book graphics

Caricatures