The first time beijingkids saw Liubov Vladimirova in one of the holiday bazaars in town, we thought that she’d be a great resource for our Maker’s Corner column. She owns Liuba Draws, and her fancy calendars and magnets are one of a kind, truly representing the vibrancy of Beijing life.
Vladimirova has been in Beijing for six years, and has seen how the city has become more cosmopolitan while retaining local traditions. The Russian native has an exceptional pictographic memory that helps her create detailed artworks.
We realize that her superb graphic arts skills would fit better in this column, to inspire the crafty and creative young people of the city. So we brought her to The British School of Beijing, Sanlitun where she met Year 6 pupils, all curious but excited to know what made Vladimirova an accomplished graphic artist.
Isabel, 11 (US): What inspired you to create artworks that show Beijing life?
Liubov: “Everyday life inspires me the most. The calendars show so many things you see every day, or everything around me, or what people usually do. Since you live here, they might not feel special, but actually they are very special. The things that I make are good for the people who live here because you can recognize the landmarks on the calendar. It’s like a little game.”
Rocky, 10 (Taiwan): Who is your artist hero?
Liubov: “It’s Carson Ellis. You might not know her, but Ellis and her husband wrote three books together. They’re good books for kids your age. Each book is full of illustrations, and that helps you imagine the world a little bit more.”
Amiee, 11 (New Zealand): Do you take pictures of what you see and draw them?
Liubov: “When I stroll around, I take pictures of things. But when I draw something, I would imagine it. So it’s like when I go around, I see things and try to store them in the back of my head. And then when I think of something, I can easily reach to that ‘mental library’ of images that I have. First, I imagine, and then I go to my ‘pictures’ to find something that can help me to create the image.”
Lisa, 10 (Netherlands/China): What do your parents do? Does their job affect what you’re doing?
Liubov: “Actually, their work is so unrelated to what I do. Nobody in my family did anything close to what I’m doing. My mom is a doctor and my dad is a helicopter pilot – not connected to drawing at all! I don’t think that really influences me but my mom is very crafty. When I was young, my mom used to help me finish my homework, like read a book and then draw something. And I end up having the best picture in the class – always!”
Manar, 11 (Oman): Do the drawings you do represent a story?
Liubov: “No, but I would like to do one. Actually, that’s one idea I have for my picture book. I’ve made some sketches but stories are very hard to make. In my calendar, you can see the drawings reflect the changes in the season. These are the things you can see every day, just by walking around Beijing.”
Oscar, 10 (US/China): Are most of your pictures Chinese-style?
Liubov: “They’re not actually Chinese-style but mostly about China. Some people find the pictures to be very western, like the style that I use. But it’s also inspired by China because I’ve been living here for six years.”
Hamza, 10 (Pakistan): How your work is different from other designers?
Liubov: “If you search the market in Beijing, you will find that not a lot of people do what I do. Most Chinese illustrators draw old China, but not many show what you can see every day. I think it’s interesting, and in a way, I want to preserve the things that are happening now because nobody does it. I want to save these images as I saw them in real life.”
Photos: Dave’s Studio; courtesy of Liubov Vladimirova
This article appeared on p36-37 of beijingkids February 2018 issue.