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Graphic Novel About Andrei Sakharov

Student: Ekaterina Gushchina

Supervisor: Uliana Aristova

Faculty: Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design

Educational Programme: Design (Master)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2021

What does a graphic novel consist of? From its definition it is clear: from "graphics", pictures, and from the "novel", text. When I started working on the illustrated biography of Andrei Sakharov, I had to look for sources of inspiration for both of them. And if the repositories of thoughts, biographies and incidents from Sakharov's life were obvious: the autobiography of Sakharov himself, memories of him, and even anecdotes, then with the "graphics" everything was not so obvious. The artist should not blindly copy the original, which means that photographs cannot be used. Cartoons also don't serve the right mood. But how was this issue solved in the Soviet Union? For the Union, Sakharov is primarily a scientist, and soviet scientists are truly heroes. So there was some kind of canon image. We will build on it. As a visual research for my graphic novel, I took the archive of the brightest, most revealing and, in my opinion, the best pictorial type - Soviet mosaics. Numerous research institutes, rest homes, universities, scientific cities were decorated with it. In the course of the search, it was possible to distinguish two canons of the image of the Soviet scientist - "scientist-god" and "scientist-ant", two opposite styles in terms of sounding power, but identical in terms of serving science. The third category was devoted to the depiction of science itself - how did the soviet mosaic artists depict such abstract things as chemical reaction, magnets, heat, force? All of this together helped to develop a style for my graphic novel. Now, on its pages, Sakharov is both a god juggling with formulas and an ant in the face of a h-bomb. The image of its huge explosion was inspired by the same mosaics. And the mosaic suggested a way out for Sakharov, a rebirth from a scientist into a dissident. In the same way, piece by piece, the life around him is reborn, and those mosaic pieces begin to hurt and scratch him. And he leaves, and the second part of his life begins.

Full text (added May 17, 2021)

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