Nine Astonishing New Illustrators

An absolute cornucopia of truly memorable illustrated editions have recently come our way, many of them discoveries of Adriana Peliano of the LCSBrazil. A few are newly published; some older ones have just come to our attention. Each entry below shows a sample page from the work. The wide range of styles once again demonstrates why Carroll’s masterworks are the most widely illustrated novels in existence. (Prices do not include postage, which in some cases, is more than the cost of the book!)

Yuri Vaschenko’s delightfully droll, pastel-infused illustrations to Wonderland (Алиса в Стране Чудес, Kniga, 1982) and Looking-Glass (Сквозь Зеркало и что там увидела Алиса, или Алиса в Зазеркалье, Kniga, 1986) have heretofore been readily available only in small formats (each book measuring 4 × 5 × 1 inch). In 2015, Vita Nova republished these works together in a deluxe, superbly printed large format (7½ × 10½ × 1½ inches) that at long last does justice to Vaschenko’s witty, hyper-surreal, and splendidly stylized art (ISBN: 978-5-93898-506-3). The perfectly reproduced illustrations were presumably shot from an extremely rare, much larger Russian edition. Given the current tragic political situation, you may wish to order it from a reliable online Finnish bookstore, €190.

Made Balbat’s painterly renditions in Alice Imedemaal, an Estonian edition (ISBN 978-9949-099-84-9), are available in signed copies from the artist. The large (9.5 x 11.5 inches) hardcover came out in 2021. It’s worthwhile to note that Alice is depicted at the right age (just turned seven), which is rare in books and almost nonexistent in movies. €36.

A stunningly unusual Italian Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie with ballpoint pen black-and-white illustrations by Giovanni Robustelli was published in a 9 x 12-inch paperback by Edizione Papel in 2018 (ISBN 978-88-904072-3-9). His interpretations are wildly thought-provoking and the linework is exquisite. You can get it directly from the publishers. €28.

A darkly surreal, lavishly illustrated Russian duad (Приключения Алисы в Стране Чудес and Сквозь Зеркало и что там увидела Алиса, или Алиса в Зазеркалье) was published by Arbor in 2020 (ISBN 978-5-6044870-2-0), combining earlier, separate volumes. Svetlana Rumak “fuses deep, layered canvases with translucent monochrome crop prints for fantastic visual variety.” Wonderland is in rich, full color: Looking-Glass in monochrome blue. More pictures can be found on her site. It is also available from Ruslania. €100.

A somewhat more conventional, but still exciting, Italian Le avventure di Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie (AW) illustrated by Sonia Maria Luce Possentini was released in 2017 by Corsiero (ISBN 978-88-98420-51-3). Some pages are horizontal fold-outs. Available from the publisher. €26.50.

It was particularly difficult to find a “typical” illustration here, as Alexey Fedorenko’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in an edition of 999 in 2011 by Verlag add-books (ISBN: 978-3000340222), utilizes a different style for almost every picture! Originally done as a Master’s thesis at the University of Applied Sciences in Manheim, Germany, its range is remarkable, from watercolors through graffiti, Japanese woodblocks, tattoos, collage, deco, Aztec, etc. Some nudes appear. In a plush hardcover and boxed, it is still available from Amazon in Germany. €39.90.

Ekaterina Kostina’s delightful and often surprising full-page paintings for Алиса в Зазеркалье (LG) were published in a large-format hardcover by Kacheli in 2021 (ISBN 978-5-907302-51-8). Her imaginative paintings often feature unusual perspectives. Again, Ruslania stocks them. €35.

Alicia en el país de las maravillasAlicia a través del espejo (AW/LG) in a tête-bêche (upside down to each other) format contains hysterically funny portraits of the characters by Mexican illustrator Juan Gedovius. Published by Penguin Random House (ISBN: ‎978-6073186032 ) it is available from many online Mexican bookstores ( stocks them, but will not deliver to the U.S.) MX$249 (around US$12).

Saving my favorite for last, Kirill Chelushkin’s outlandish allegorical paintings of a very modern blue-haired Alice moving among vast industrial machines and spaces is perhaps the most individualistic and creative approach to Alice since Dalí’s. The book itself is a marvel: 13 x 10.5 inches of handmade, beautifully printed splendor with a hand-designed typeface as well (ISBN 978-5-6041147-0-4). More pictures and ordering information can be found on the artist’s site. $1,500.