With just an ordinary ballpoint pen, the kind we’ve all used to scribble down classroom notes or phone numbers for possible Friday night dates, Toronto-based artist Rebecca Yanovskaya creates exquisite, magical worlds filled with mythical beings and characters out of creepy old folktales (Bluebeard) which she then blings up with a lot of 22 karat gold leaf.
Yanovskaya has been drawing with a ballpoint pen since middle school and she finds it easier to use when bringing her imagination to life on the page. She usually starts off by sketching out her picture with a Bic Crystal on Moleskine paper. Then she fills out the background before working her way forward to the heart of the action. This allows her time to get a feel for how much light and shade the finished image will contain.
What I love about pen is that I can always jump back and forth to any area of the piece that I want to work on and not worry about smudging or messing up dark/light layers.
As for influences, Yanovskaya takes her lead from painters like the Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, the English Neo-Classicist John William Godward, and more obviously because of his use of gold leaf, her own personal favorite the Symbolist Gustav Klimt. She also pulls in ideas from her interest in horror, fantasy, and mythology—of which Yanokovskaya has said:
Mythology to me has always been about bigger than life struggles, and a world which is better than life, more idealized. The personalities are strong, exaggerated, passionate, heroic, beautiful. These are all qualities I want to capture through my art.
Once the picture is all drawn out, Yanovskaya adds the gold leaf to create the final image—which is exquisite and utterly enchanting.
Some of Yanovskaya’s artworks are available on a selection of clothing and she has also produced illustrations for the Netflix series Shadowhunters as well as a commerative coin design for the Canadian Mint. See more of Rebecca Yanovskaya’s work here.
‘Bluebeard’s Bride—Chapter One.’
‘Bluebeard’s Bride—Chapter Two.’
‘Bluebeard’s Bride—Chapter Three.’
‘Bluebeard’s Bride—Book of Mirrors.’
‘Bluebeard’s Bride—Chapter Five.’
‘Bluebeard’s Bride’—cover art.
Via Rebecca Yanovskaya, Hi-Fructose, Bleaq, Kiri, and Fanboy Confidential.