Brought to your gracious attention
illustrations for Table-talk 1882 project
(Based on B. Akunin’s book of the same name)

Issued regularly

21 January 2005

Chapter Four

Contents: Cartographer. — Artist. — Photographer. — Collagist.

In this chapter we need to show the reader where the Karakin mansion is situated and how far it is from Moscow.

So here it is.


We open Big Atlas of 1880 and look for Sosnovka in the list of place names. Aha, Zaraysky uyezd in Ryazan province. We go to the page we need: Sosnovka is at the very edge of the map and Moscow is out of sight. We have to scan the previous page together with this one.

We combine the two images to have the apt map. We remove names of half of the villages—in this particular case they only litter the map—along with some of the connecting lines and other things distracting attention. And put a scale bar.


Now we should add a few details that would give the reader an idea of the surroundings. For example, an artist painted a watercolor with the mansion in the background. We went through piles of works to find just one that suited best—a Borisov-Musatov’s tempera called “Fantoms” dated 1903.

Let us suppose the artist made his watercolor drafts much earlier. All we need is the paper texture and the watercolor strokes. The edges as a rule aren’t done carefully—we draw a mask.


We add another graphic element—a photograph. We need a piece from the family archive or from prince Karakin’s album, the one taken in Sosnovka. In the photograph collection we look for a picture of that time, and then find an image of pine forest. It appears that back in those days no one would photograph just landscapes because photography was costly. So we find the characters to be put in the foreground. We make the image look old and add some noise.


We place a ruler over the map to measure the distance from Moscow. And we draw the route itself.

Final image size — 2100×1600 px

(To be continued.)

Narrated by Kirill Ten

Order a design...