Haddocks’ Eyes Limited Edition Book Now Available!

My latest publication, a limited edition book – Haddock’s Eyes, based on Lewis Carroll’s poem from Through the Looking Glass is now available to order.

This book is based on the nonsensical poem by Lewis Carroll from a novel Through the Looking-Glass. The poem is a conversation between two people – the narrator and the aged man that the narrator encounters. In this edition, the subject matter of the conversation, as well as the manner of speaking at various stages of the poem, is interpreted through a combination of type and imagery.

Designed, illustrated, printed and bound between 2017 and 2021. Printed from original linocuts, with polymer and metal type, at Wild Pangolin Press and Reflex Letterpress. Type used for the words of the narrator is Kabel. Type used for the words of the aged man: Caslon, Gill Sans, Goudy Old Style, Trajan, Futura, Caviar Dreams, Din and Porter. Some freedoms were taken to alter certain letterforms in the layout design. Printed on 250 GSM Rives BFK paper. Funded in part with the Packard Grant from Lasell University. Housed in a red & brown slipcase.

Printed in an edition of 34 copies. Signed and numbered by the artist. Dimensions – 12” x 10” x 1.5”; 36 pages.

The price for a copy of Haddocks’ Eyes is $1,200 plus shipping.
For ordering and any additional information, please contact me at vzimakov@gmail.com

A PDF Book Prospectus is available upon request.

Haddocks’ Eyes & Other Adventures in Nonsense Talk

As I am wrapping up the Haddocks’ Eyes project, I’d like to share a talk that I did at Lasell University as part of the Graphic Design League Speaker Series. This happened back in March of 2021. The talk was done virtually and was recorded. Besides discussing the creative process of working on Haddocks’ Eyes, I’ve talked about various things that were happening in the studio during the fall ’20/spring ’21, as well as the things that are on the horizon. Also, quite glad that I was able to touch upon the subjects of Frank Zappa, nonsense literature, drainage pipes, collage aesthetics, my musical abilities, etc.

Here is a link to the lecture recording:

2020 so far

Greetings from the studio, folks!


I hope that this finds everyone well. Quite an interesting year so far, for all of us… Here are a few art updates and some recent developments.

WitW 1

Over the summer I’ve completed all the illustrations for the new limited edition of Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Wind in the Willows.  This was a commission from my friends at Mad Parrot Press. 12 full page images and 8 vignettes will appear in the book that is now in production stages. The edition is set to be released by the end of the year. More information about this project and book order info can be found here.

02 SWTWC comb

A new edition of Ray Bradbury’s novel Something Wicked This Way Comes is also in the production stages. The book will include 6 of my illustrations and will be released by Centipede Press. This should be an excellent edition with a foreword by none other then Neil Gaiman. Besides my illustrations, it will also feature artwork by David Ho and Matt Mahurin.

On to my own limited edition book project, Lewis Carroll’s Haddocks’ Eyes

Haddocks linoHaddocks letterpress04 Haddocks

The work is going full speed ahead. All the lino plates are carved, type is set (for the most part) and the printing is underway. I’ve been using my studio to print the ghost (sepia) images and Reflex Letterpress in Charlestown, MA for the black ink plates and type. Still considering several binding options and looking to get everything wrapped up by early next year. The book will be in edition of 32. Please drop me a line if you’d like to find out more about this project or are interested in reserving a copy of the book.

06 Chayanov retouched

In other developments, I have resumed the work based on the short stories by Aleksandr Chayanov. This is a very fluid project with no specific deadline, so I’ve been creating images over several years now, whenever time permits. Those are charcoal drawings, that will eventually be collected in a single publication.

Book Fair

2020 has not been so great in terms of in-person print fairs and exhibits, but there are several upcoming events that I am really excited about. Next week, I’ll be a Visiting Artist at the Kansas City Art Institute. They have invited me for a full day event where I will be presenting my work, do a virtual studio tour, demos and student crits. KCAI is my alma mater. It’s been 20 years since I graduated with a BA degree in Illustration and Graphic Design. So, being invited to present to the new generation of students is quite exciting on many levels!

In November/December, I am taking part in another virtual event – the Los Angeles Printer’s Fair. Looking forward to exhibiting alongside some amazing artists and print makers. This event will take place over two months, so there is plenty of time to check out all the work.

There are also a bunch of other creative projects that are in the works. I am on sabbatical leave this semester, so quite a few new prints and drawings are being conceived and created. I’ll be posting about this separately, once things will start to take shape. Also in the plans is to finally update the portfolio site and the shop. I’ve neglected those for a while.

More to come soon!

Take care and stay safe,


Codex 2019


Well, it looks like the last post on this blog dates back to the previous Codex Book Fair, that occurred two years ago. It definitely has been a while… Art updates on Instagram and Facebook have taken over, and this site has been neglected. I am planning on fixing this moving forward. Although, the above mentioned platforms are great for keeping folks informed on what’s going on in the studio, it is extremely hard to keep things organized, or find something from just a few months ago. Besides, I would really love to share the art process with a bit more of an in-depth look behind the scenes. And that’s what this blog was designed to do. There are quite a few things to talk about. At the moment I am working with three different Presses on several book projects, as well as my own Wild Pangolin Press creation. I will be posting about this as the work unfolds.

On to Codex 2019. As always, this was an amazing time to get together with fellow book artists and printers, see old friends, make new ones and share some recent work.


The turnout was amazing. By many accounts this was the biggest Codex Fair yet. Among the new work that I presented were the recently completed (almost) illustrations for Ray Bradbury’s novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, commissioned by Centipede Press. The publication date is yet to be determined. More on this project in the future posts.


Among other recent things was the mock-up of the new project that I am currently working on – Lewis Carroll’s Haddocks’ Eyes. Four spreads from the book were printed and displayed. This one is at the very early stages and many things, like binding, edition and some of the content, are yet to be determined. The plan is to illustrate and typographically interpret the whole poem, which at this point, will consist of 16 page spreads, plus there are other things that I am considering including in the final edition. Here is a quick look:

05 extra

Besides the Book Fair itself, there were numerous Codex-related events happening throughout the week and the schedule got pretty hectic. So it was especially great to find some time and connect with good friends, the Fine Press printers that I am working with at the moment. To my left is Chad Pastotnik of Deep Wood Press. Currently I am involved in illustrating the new edition of Kenneth Grahame‘s The Wind in the Willows, that Chad will be publishing under the Mad Parrot Press. To Chad’s right are Peggy Gotthold and Lawrence Van Velzer of Foolscap Press. I am working with them on illustrating the limited edition of Andreï Makine’s novel Brief Loves That Live Forever.


More updates on all those projects (and others) will follow shortly. In the meantime, I am getting ready for the Manhattan Fine Press Fair that will take place on Saturday, March 9, 2019. If you are in the area, come by and say hello! More info about the event can be found here.

Photo credits: very top – kavalerka, one bellow – Dima Sayenko, bottom one – a very nice waiter of a very nice Mexican restaurant in Berkeley, CA.

Codex 2017

Here is to another amazing CODEX 2017: International Artists’ Book Fair experience! It was great to see old friends and make new ones, share and see recent work, get new book ideas and collaborations flowing and celebrate the art of the book in all of it’s glory. Many thanks to Peter Rutledge Koch, Susan K. Filter, all the organizers, exhibitors and book admirers for making this happen! Here are a few snapshots that I managed to get while running around and trying to absorb everything. All the rain and me losing my voice for almost two days only added to the experience. Back on the east coast now, shoveling snow and looking forward to 2019!!


On January 10 we got the news… We were in LA then and on KCRW they played Bowie songs all night long. Each one I revisited represented a certain era, a certain feeling in time and a unique artistic achievement. One of the true artists to walk this earth was gone. A couple of days later, I listened to the Blackstar album on a continuous loop and drew.



Excerpts from Nikolai Gogol’s The Diary of a Madman – 10 years



This book that I’ve created as a Grad student at Central St. Martins’ is celebrating 10 years! The experience of creating it was magical and it opened quite a few doors for me. This was my entryway into the publishing, illustration, letterpress and Fine Press book world. The book was handset with metal type, the illustrations were done with linocuts and everything was printed and bound by hand in the college’s print shop and in my tiny room in an East London flat. It took about 7 months from start to finish and I made enough prints for 20 editions of the book. Since then, those books have been exhibited and found their new homes all over the world – England, France, Netherlands, different parts of the States (one of the last ones was on it’s way to Missouri last week).


I’ve done quite a few book projects and have a few in the works right now, but the experience of doing this one is always fresh in my memory. Everything was new. The feel of metal type, sounds of proof presses, smell of printing ink, finger cuts from lino cutters… That feeling of uncertainty, trial and error, constant mistakes and revisions, something completely new, unexpected and real.


Illustrations for Alexandr Chayanov’s Stories, part 1

Some time ago, my mentor Mihail Chemiakin presented me with a book – a collection of short stories by Alexandr Chayanov. Chemiakin suggested that I should have a go at illustrating some of the writing.

Mirror FINAL print

As I started reading, the stories blew me away by their dark and whimsical narratives, the nature of the characters, the picturesque descriptions of early 20th century Moscow, its surroundings… A man falls in love with a doll depicting two conjoined twins and sets on a journey through Europe to find them, another man buys a mirror in an old Venetian shop and becomes a prisoner of his own reflection. Some of the other characters include ghosts, mermaids, circus performers and mannequins. The narratives are filled with mysticism and grotesque.

Doodling FINAL print

The stories were first published in the 1920’s in Russia and became quite a sensation. In her memoir, Mikhail Bulgakov’s wife, Elena Belazerskaya mentions that Chayanov’s stories had a huge influence on Bulgakhov and eventually influenced his masterpiece “Master and Margarita”.

faces FINAL2 print

However Chayanov never became a household name. His books were never translated into any other language. Chayanov’s fate is as mysterious as his stories. His main profession was an agrarian economist, he was a scholar of rural sociology and an advocate of agrarianism and cooperatives. In 1930 he was arrested by the Soviet officials and his books became banned. In 1937 he was arrested again, tried and shot to death on the same day. His writing did not resurface until the late 80’s, and even then they were published abroad.

Old man FINAL2 print

Creating visuals for those superb stories created a true challenge. I knew that I didn’t want to use the linocut technique that I’ve used illustrating Meyrink, Gogol and Poe. There was a softer tone; dark, melancholic and at the same time whimsical and sometimes even humorous. There were some hints of Art Nouveau, something from the Impessionists with a bit of Goya and Jacques Callot.

Dancing FINAL print

Leaving the carving tools behind and getting out of my comfort zone, I’ve started doing charcoal drawings, constantly looking at a lot of turn of the 20th century photography. The atmosphere in those photos helped me understand Chayanov’s environment.

floating new FINAL print

At this point I’ve done 6 illustrations that were drawn, collaged and then digitally manipulated. Still a work in progress with many more to come. Stay tuned!

Pictures from an Exhibition

A couple of weeks ago, I have participated in a 2-man art exhibit with a fellow illustrator Igor Karash. What brought us together was the work that we have done for The Folio Society, a British publisher of illustrated books.


The Folio Society is known for producing beautiful books and working with illustrators from all over the world. Back in 2010, its art director, Sheri Gee approached me to create illustrations for Gustav Meyrink’s classic The Golem. In 2012, Igor Karash won the House of Illustration Book Competition. The winning prize was a commission to illustrate The Folio Society’s edition of The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter.


The illustrations were done in completely different styles (Igor used watercolors and mine were linocuts), but there were some similarities in the subject matter that we have worked with. Both books by Meyrink and Carter revolved around dark and mystical themes. Also both authors used traditional tales, myths and legends as a source of inspiration.


Illustrations from the Golem by Vladimir Zimakov

Besides being book illustrators and working with the same publisher, what also tied us together were our Russian roots and our Texas experience. Igor lived in Houston for a long time after moving to the US and I have spent a bit of my formative years in Dallas, where my parents still reside.


Illustrations from The Bloody Chamber by Igor Karash

We were introduced earlier this year by Sophia Grinblat, the president of the Russian Cultural Center in Houston. She was the one who proposed that we do a show together at her gallery, which was located in the heart of the city’s art district.


It’s always tricky and challenging to do group shows, especially when the artists live in different cities and have to fly in a few days before the exhibition for installation. This time, I wasn’t so much worried. After briefly talking to Igor over the phone for the first time, I knew that we were on the same page with this.


When I have to exhibit and install the show in cities other then mine, the first stop after the plane lands is IKEA, which has the best deal on frames. You can also count on them for having a bunch of them in stock. That way one can carry a whole exhibit of graphic works in a large folder or a roll. Igor took a very similar route.

With the generous help of a fellow Houston artist Boris Kaplun and the staff of the gallery, Igor and me were able to frame and install the whole show in one long day.

There’s always something that breaks or needs to be matted right during the installation, and as the fate would have it, the only business that was open within two blocks on a Thursday night was a frame shop…


Igor has exhibited original drawings, prints and sketches for The Bloody Chamber.


Since my prints for The Golem were smaller, I have also decided to show the illustrations from Meyrink’s Walpurgisnacht, Andersen’s The Nightingale, Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum and some of the work that I have recently done for Amanda Palmer.




Also on display was some of the most recent stuff that I am currently working on inspired by ancient myths and the writing of Alexandr Chayanov. In a typical manner, some of those were finished the night before I boarded the plane for Houston.



The opening night was held on Friday, April 5th.



The Folio Society was very generous to send the Russian Center copies of our books for signing. We set up a table in the middle of the gallery showcasing the books and prints.


And here’s a photo taken at the very end of an exhausting but gratifying day.

Zimakov Karash

Vladimir Zimakov & Igor Karash (photo by Lola Vayner)

Go here to see all illustrations from The Bloody Chamber and other works by Igor Karash.

Here you can see all of my illustrations for The Golem.

This is the site of The Folio Society, where you can check out all the great books that they publish.

More about Russian Cultural Center and Caviart Gallery is here.

You Must Go and Win!

Vladimir Zimakov book jacket

This is one of several posts to come that will talk about my work with Alina Simone. Alina is an amazing person, musician and writer from New York City. We’ve met back in 2002 at one of her shows in Brooklyn. We’ve been in touch ever since. Over the years, I’ve designed a few CD and vinyl jackets for her albums, as well as a tour poster. In 2010 her collection of essays was going to be published by Faber & Faber.

At first Alina asked me to do a mini-graphic novel insert for the book. Then I was approached by Charlotte Strick, the Art Director at Faber & Faber and a wonderful designer, to do the cover art.

Zimakov graphic novel

Above is a little glimpse of the graphic insert that I did for the book that illustrates the life and times of Yanka Dyagileva, a Russian musician who had a huge influence on Alina (she actually recorded an album of Yanka’s cover songs a few years ago). In the future posts I’ll talk more about the process of creating those illustrations. I wanted to share a small part of it now, since one of the main graphic elements for the cover was inspired by the depiction of the smoke coming from the smokestacks, a typical scene of any small industrial Russian town.

Alina Simone draft

Here is a little excerpt from the synopsis of the book:

“In the wickedly bittersweet and hilarious You Must Go and Win, the Ukrainian-born musician Alina Simone traces her bizarre journey through the indie rock world, from disastrous Craigslist auditions with sketchy producers to catching fleas in a Williamsburg sublet…”

The writing was great! After reading the first chapter and discussing the book with Alina and Charlotte, I knew that the cover needed to capture a lot: humor, irony, tragedy, the setting of the main events and the overall tone of the book. Alina had this idea of having an amp on fire, which would be symbolic of a lot of things that she talks about in the essays. Charlotte suggested to try and use the type in a similar way that I have used it in one of my previous projects, “The Book of Sound”.

I got down to work and presented a few drafts. Though we went with the idea of the amp on fire, the other ones didn’t go to waste. The draft on the right has inspired the cover for Alina’s next album.

Zimakov vinyl design

The title of the book and author’s name were originally done on a letterpress using wooden type. Once again, I’ve used the facilities at the Otis Lab Press, gathered letterforms of all shapes and sizes and made a bunch of prints.


type impressions

Later those impressions were scanned and digitized. The prints themselves were almost eaten by my daughter.

eating type

Once the typography was resolved, I moved on to carving the lino to create the main image of the smoke and the amp.

smoke lino

Those I printed in the studio using my little etching press. One of the challenges with the image came up as I was working on the smoke and the typical Russian church domes, that we decided to use for the cover. Since the domes are used so much to represent Russia, my job was to give them enough subtlety so the image would not appear to be cliche.

linocut Zimakov

I used the technique of “ghost printing” (when the plate is run through the press several times before the final impression is made) in order to achieve this. The smoke and domes started to appear distant and ghostly, yet still had the necessary presence.

ghost print

The image was designed to wrap around the spine and go on to the back. Here’s the final file combining the physical print and type.

You Must Go and Win cover

You will notice that the final cover includes a quote by Neil Gaiman. An interesting coincidence is that I was introduced to Neil around the same time I saw that quote on the cover for the first time.

Did I mention that this book is great? It is! Get your copy here.