Dangerous Butterflies

Varya Iashchenko | Norway

‘Dangerous Butterflies’ is a book that covers topics such as war, journalism, propaganda, fake news, and patriotism. The style is minimalist, absurd, and primitive. The setting is a world inhabited by little animals, where little furry animals fight against little cold-blooded animals, as in the ancient Greek ‘Frog-mouse war’ or ‘Batrachomyomachia’.

The book is drawn and written simultaneously. In the editing process I retain the shaky impression and using different paper background to make it look like a paper theater. The project aims to adults and teenagers, but can also be read by a younger audience. A 6-years old ‘tester reader’ asked if a tank can be destroyed by a bomb or a rocket, he believed that it couldn’t. He spotted the drone on the spread and recommended adding a remote control to the picture.

First story is about a prisoner of war and a journalist. Second part is about ordinary person receiving an order to join the army. The character either goes to the front and dies, or becomes a hero, supported by their patriotic family, but losing their human form and becoming cruel. In the third scenario, the character flees the country and runs away willing to escape the war zone by any means.

The project started with a first book called ‘Recording’ created as a separate picture-book in January 2023 as a student project at the HDK-Valand, Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg, course “To tell a picture-book”. The project was prized with Diploma in the Norwegian ‘Visuelt’ competition, https://www.grafill.no/visuelt/vinnere/2023/illustrasjon/studentarbeid/bildebok-recording. Jury’s comment: ‘A beautiful book that is enhanced by its simplicity. The quick and imperfect lines contribute to a personal and intimate experience of the conversations that feel closer, more important, and more vulnerable in a visually effective way.’

The project has received a scholarship from Norwegian Illustration Fund and will be reworked to a graphic novel format.

HDK-Valand, Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg
To Tell a Picture Book
Graduation: 2023