For artwork that tells a convincing story filled with an enchanting sense of wonder, the Ukrainian-born illustrator Lev Kaplan should come at the top of your list. Each beautiful piece combines incredible realism through its fine detail, but blows you away with its light and magical touch.
Now based in Stuttgart, Lev has worked in advertising for over 25 years. A master of animation, illustration, motion graphics and creative direction, he brings all his experience to bear on his children’s book projects and commercial illustration work. From Phileas Fogg to The Brothers Grimm, his fine brushwork has illuminated some of the world’s best-loved and most imaginative stories.
Lev’s influences include Northern Renaissance painters like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jan van Eyck and Hans Holbein, plus the American realist Andrew Wyeth.
When he receives a brief, Lev looks carefully at the concept and what the client wants, identifying the narrative that will underpin his piece. He renders in watercolour and coloured pencils on toned paper, and loves painting the details in tiny strokes.
Magic Realism is at the heart of Lev’s style. Combine the traditional feel of Breugel’s folk paintings with Wyeth’s light touch and the magic of the narrative and you have a rough recipe for his imagery.