Friday, November 11, 2011

Stars and Music

Yesterday Diana and I went to the "release party" of Colors of the Desert -- the latest album by Lithuanian progressive rock band The Skys, whose frontman, Jonas Čiurlionis, happens to be Diana's colleague in his "daytime" life -- he's an associate professor of philosophy at Vilnius University.

The event was held at the Vilnius Planetarium, and that wasn't by accident. The first part -- the presentation of the album -- took place right inside the Planetarium dome. We were sitting there, lights out, stars shining above our heads, some intense prog rock ringing in our ears... Epic! I just wish my neck didn't hurt so much, but hey -- it's really a small price for such a wonderful treat.

The second part was the buffet party just outside the dome entrance (still inside the building, in case you shrugged at the thought of an open-air buffet in the midst of cold Lithuanian November). I, personally, had a very good time. Eating, drinking, but, most importantly, meeting a bunch of interesting people (who subsequently turned into a bunch of new Facebook friends). It was a crazy mix of English, Lithuanian, Russian and even some Georgian. So much fun for a linguistic junkie like me!

Well, all this fun and stars and everything seriously backfired the next morning, but hey -- who's complaining. Me wants more!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Ayran is a cold drink, made of yoghurt mixed with water, usually salted, sometimes carbonized. Primarily a Turkish beverage, it's a popular drink in many countries around the Black and the Caspian Seas. Despite being so widely spread among our neighbors (Turkey and Armenia in the south, Azerbaijan in the east, Caucasian peoples in the north), the drink somehow managed to avoid Georgia, where it was practically unknown until recently. With the expansion of Turkish businesses into post-Soviet Georgia and opening of many Turkish restaurants in Tbilisi and other major Georgian cities, it was inevitable that the Turkey's most popular drink would eventually find its way to the Georgian market.

The drink is mostly being imported from Turkey and Armenia, but recently some local companies have started producing their own ayran. One of such companies contacted me a little while ago, ordering the label design for their new-born product. Their only demand was to make green the dominant color, partly in an effort to make it more distinguishable from the local dairy product style with dominant blue/red/white color schemes. Also, for some reason they didn't elaborate on, the label had to feature the Armenian name for ayran -- tan. The rest was entirely up to me.

I decided to go with a thick, "milky" hand-drawn font for the main title. Then I dug up a nice milk-splash stock image and placed it on a "condensated" background, emphasizing a cold-served product. A tiny bit of "orientalish" ornaments, some fashionable reflections and I was almost set. Almost, because I had to come up with some sort of a logo for the manufacturer.

The company in question is called Agapi Ltd. Agapi (more correct spelling would be aghapi) is a Georgian version of the Greek word agape, which means "non-corporal love." So I decided to go with a "milk from the heart" theme, visualized quite literally, as you can see.

Below is the finished label. It's circular, meaning it wraps around the whole diameter of the bottle. Hence the "double" design, so that it remains interesting from more possible angles, leaving the technical parts squeezed in-between the lead design elements.

And here's a digital simulation of the label attached to the actual bottle, as it would appear on the final product. The bottle is made of glossy white plastic and has a green cap to match the label.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Epic Lawn-Making

We have a huge yard, but with Diana's parents being gardening maniacs, there is hardly an inch of free space in it -- vegetables, flowers and berry shrubs are all over the place. You can't really find an open pitch to set up a sun lounge, roll in the grass, play badminton or practice Tai Chi. So this summer, finally, Diana and I decided to put an end to the vegetable supremacy and fight for our sunbathing rights.

First, we marked the territory by placing rods (like in Disciples II) and stretching cords between them. For that we chose the patch behind the house, where strawberries had been growing previously (they would be replanted later to a different patch). My father-in-law had already mowed the strawberries, so I just had to dig them over and root them up.

Just. Actually, that turned out to be an epic struggle lasting for three days. The strawberries weren't exactly cooperative, so the process kinda reminded rooting up the Mandrakes, except they weren't screaming (to my luck). Can you imagine an underground network of long, stringy roots connecting dozens of plants to each other, like a secret web? That's how strawberry communities grow. You know, social plants make me feel creepy ever since I read Clifford D. Simak's All Flesh Is Grass.

By the time I was finished with those hive-minded strawberries, I got some really nasty sunburn on my back. Great. Now I have my own farmer's tan...

See those sleeveless shirt markings? Americans
call this particular type of tan-lines "Texas tan."

Back to the lawn-making. The next step was to enclose the future lawn in a plastic edging to isolate it from the surrounding vegetation, although I suspect even our super-deep (20 cm) edging won't be enough to prevent some especially impudent specimens from trying to invade our lawn. Anyway, planting that edging into the ground wasn't a piece of cake, either. The plastic stripe refused to be buried alive, twisting like a snake in my hands, so it took quite a while.

Now it was time to buy some grass seeds. After some pondering, we set our choice on a frost-resistant brand. Hopefully, it will survive our harsh falls and springs. Or at least die trying.

Diana's father, being a lot more experienced farmer than me, volunteered to conduct the sowing part. However, he confessed that he never had actually sown any grass before, only vegetables and such, and issued a disclaimer over the consequences. While my father-in-law was mellowing the soil with a rake, I was gaping at the contraption he had prepared for stomping the seeds into the ground.

As soon as the seeds were scattered, the stomping part began. Naturally, there were yet more cooperation issues: the seeds didn't seem to be too fond of being trampled into the earth, preferring to be carried away with the wind instead. No matter how hard we tried to stomp them, they just kept laying on the surface, tanning under the sun. Hopefully, sooner or later, they will have no choice but to grow into the soil.

Thus ends the epic lawn-making. Now all we have to do is wait and see what comes out of it (literally). If everything goes right, we may see the grass popping up in a couple of weeks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Taste of Homeland

There are some foods which are almost religiously revered by Georgians, who generally like to have a good snack. Shashlik (mtsvadi in Georgian) is among them, surpassed in the Georgian "food charts" perhaps only by khinkali. Since I happen to be Georgian, I share the common genetic weakness for shashlik, naturally.

As with any sort of grilled meat, there is no tastier shaslik than the one made outdoors, preferably in nature's lap, with your own hands. The process itself is a whole ritual, gradually preparing your gastric juices for the grand finale. Luckily, I live in a countryside (sort of), and I have a wife who knows how to marinate the meat overnight.

Ever since I moved to Lithuania, making shashlik in the backyard became one of my most persistent obsessions, as if it was some sort of connection to my homeland. We even bought mangal and skewers earlier this summer, but something had been constantly preventing us from actually using them -- busy schedule, unpredictable Baltic weather, etc.

The other day, at very long last, we were able to test the equipment in action. Diana's father helped preparing the charcoal (we used birch logs for that), and when it was all smouldering, I skewed the pieces of marinated meat and placed them on the mangal, while Diana was taking pictures of this event of the month.

Not everything went as smooth as I expected, though. Apparently, we should have had produced more charcoal, because the heat turned out to be not enough for a fast grill and it all dragged on for an eternity.

But the wait was really worth it, I must say. A little taste of homeland, if you will. Although, I've noticed that shashlik is quite popular among Lithuanians, too -- making šašlykas, as it's called here, is one of the favorite weekend pastimes for many locals. Skanaus!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

All About Organizing

A couple of months ago I received quite a challenging order. My task was to design leading elements for the website of a client who unclutters and organizes office spaces. The website is called All About Organizing.

The ultimate goal was to create a sort of triptych, illustrating the three stages of the uncluttering process: the assessment, the organizing, and the final result. But first, I had to make a cartooned character of the lady who owns the business, in three different poses, with different expressions, suitable for each stage.

The next step was creating the background for the triptych, representing a fictional office in three conditions: messy, being uncluttered, and glisteningly organized. I started with a perfectly organized room and then messed it up as much as I could -- it was the easiest way.

Now all I had to do was to bring the organizing lady into the action. Below you can see the final result, ready to be incorporated in the website header.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Old Nimbus 2000

Harry Potter. I had seen some movies, and played some games, but never read any of the books. This summer I've finally decided to sit down to it, so here I am, reading the UK edition from my wife's collection.

I'm enjoying the books immensely, despite the little mistakes scattered here and there. I really liked the movies (so far I've seen the first three of them), but the books are, well, books. A whole different level of submergence into the magic world of Hogwarts, with myriads of tiny, but important details, regrettably (but unavoidably) missed in the movies.

Anyway, today, when lurking around outside the house, I've found my own Nimbus Two Thousand! Well, actually, it's just an old broom from the backyard, but it will do perfectly for a Muggle like me...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meeting Razmadze

A couple of weeks ago Ramaz Razmadze, a fellow Georgian surrealist, arrived in Lithuania with a small gang of other Georgian painters to participate in a plein-air event together with a group of local artists. They were based in Molėtai, a small town some 60 kms north of Vilnius.

When the event was finished, they moved to Vilnius for a few days of touring before departure. Although Ramaz and I had known each other for years online, we had never met in person, so we couldn't miss this wonderful chance to finally meet each other, thousands of miles away from homeland. Yesterday, it happened at last -- we shook hands at the Cathedral Square, where Ramaz introduced me and Diana to the other three Georgian artists who arrived with him.

After visiting the Cathedral, where we took the opportunity to see the famous St Casimir's chapel, we roamed about the Old Town for a while, before landing at an open-air snack-bar to have a beer.

The rightmost fellow on the photo, easily distinguishable from the resort-tanned companions who had spent a healthy fortnight of working in the open air, is me. Ramaz is sitting right next to me. I hadn't spoken in person to a living Georgian for about 18 months, and here I had the fourfold pleasure of conversing with the fellow countrymen -- and fellow artists, on top of that. Besides, I had wanted to meet Razmadze, whose art I greatly admire, for years. So I had a really great time. Until next!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lemonade for the Masses

The summer is hot, even here, in Lithuania. Now imagine how hot it must be in Georgia, which is some 2500 kms to the south. Luckily, I have a strong base of lemonade-making customers there, who are more than eager to provide you with cheap, but nonetheless tasty refreshing drinks. What more can you dream of in the heat of the summer? Ice-cream, maybe... but we're getting distracted.

So here it is -- a series of aerated refreshing drinks from one of my regular clients based in Western Georgia. Actually, it's a brewery, but it produces large amounts of non-alcoholic drinks as well, like many other Georgian breweries do. The series is called Tskhratskaro and it comes sugar-free. Please, don't try to pronounce the name, unless you're a native Georgian speaker, otherwise you may receive a permanent damage to your utterance apparatus. Literally, it means "nine springs" and it's a toponym -- two mountains, a mountain pass and a village is called by that name, although the product itself has no connection to any of those geographic places.

There's nothing much to say about technicalities. Fast order, limited budget for stock images, basic printing technology. Designed for 1 and 1,5 liter PET bottles. Done in CorelDRAW X5, photos edited in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


This is my father. We have never lived together, he has another family and so on, but we're on good terms. I took his photo in December 2009, a couple of months before my departure from Tbilisi. Usually he wears only a moustache, no beard, but he had quite a stubble on that occasion. I really liked his grizzled beard and told him that I was gonna take his picture and draw his portrait from it when I had time, so he gladly posed.

I haven't seen him for 16 months and I really miss him. Last month I decided to finally sit down to the portrait. It dragged on, as usual, but now it's finally finished.

I believe it's my fourth attempt in oil pastels, and it seems I'm slowly getting my hand in this medium. I usually try to develop the colors and shades evenly and gradually, as I was taught back in the art school, but this time I chose to proceed in a different manner, finishing separate parts almost completely. As you see from the WIP shots below, first I rendered the central part, then the top area, and lastly the bottom part.

The drawing was done on a grey pastel paper with a smooth finish. Colors blended easily and I didn't have to use any chisels or such for blending, just an occasional finger-work. Here's a zoomed detail to show the technique up close and personal.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring in Your Eyes

It seems that spring has finally come to Lithuania. It's in the air, and it's irresistible. Yesterday, on the last day of April, as I was planting some potatoes in our kitchen garden, I felt a sudden urge to draw something for the season, quick and simple. So here's my humble tribute to the beauty of spring.

It's done with H, HB and 5B pencils and a mechanical pencil. The model was Diana, of course. Below you can see the work in progress and a zoomed detail.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pegė Logo

Last month I won a logo contest at, a Lithuanian design-related forum. The logo was for an online store for baby products, such as prams, soothers, etc. This is the final version the client chose:
Next, they asked me to help with the facade design for their physical store, fitting in style with the new logo. The process turned out to be quite long, mainly because of the window design, which went through numerous trials and tribulations, until it was finally approved sometime in the middle of April.

But that's not all. The final task was creating the website header. They wanted something cheerful, in the mood of the logo. I liked the idea of their draft header, which included sun, fluffy clouds and a rainbow, so I decided to offer my version of it. Here's the result:

I know, I wasn't much of a blogger this month, but I have quite a few ongoing projects, so, hopefully, I'll be more active next month. See ya!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This little lady is my wife's cousin's daughter (genealogically, I believe the term "first cousin once removed" would be more correct). It's my gift for her birthday, which is in May. I did it so early because we need time to frame it and ship it to Israel, where she lives with her family.

The drawing has been done with Giotto Stilnovo pastel pencils on Canson Vivaldi Crème paper. Below you can see the work in progress and a zoomed detail. I apologize for the WIP shot quality -- the paper didn't fit into my scanner and to avoid the stitching routine at each stage, I was taking the pictures with my camera, which is in fact a cell phone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project 24

Project 24 is a soon-to-be-launched charity initiative by Oceanida, a Georgian fish products brand. Each time someone buys a product which has a Project 24 sticker on it, 1% of the profit goes to a special fund, equally distributed among 24 orphanages (or Children Homes, as we call them in Georgia). It's a very good cause and I'm proud to be working on such a project as a designer.

The logo conveys the idea behind the project by depicting a house-shaped money box where the aforementioned 1% of the profit is put in the form of a coin. The small sticker (see below) adhered to the products explains more details, but the full information will be provided through the media advertisement campaign which is going to be launched along with the project.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lips of Color of Blood - Cover Design

This is the cover design for Lips of Color of Blood, a novel by Jurii Kirnev. The artwork is based on Nocturnal Interlude, a drawing from the mini-series of illustrations I did for this novel earlier this year.

I removed the grave in the foreground (see the original artwork) in order to make room for the inscriptions. My font choice for this project was Andalus (actually, it's an Arabic font, but it features a nice Latin typeface, too). I especially enjoyed working on the word BLOOD -- I used some vector grunge stock elements to create that "blood-soiled" effect.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy 8th of March!

In case you didn't know, today is the International Women's Day. It's an especially popular holiday in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet countries. Originally a Socialist political event, today it's just a day for celebrating beauty, love and all the other wonderful things associated with the better half of mankind.

Technically, it's spring in Lithuania, but there's a thick layer of snow on the ground, so I can't pick any flowers. Of course, I could buy them in the local shop, but this is so cliche! Besides, I don't have any cash at the moment, and the flower traders don't accept credit cards. Long story short, I decided to make a paper flower for my wife. It's my first paper craft ever, so don't laugh!

The text on the improvised card is in Georgian and it reads: "Happy 8th of March, my love!" I'd like to wish a happy Woman's Day to my wife, my ex-wife, their mothers, my mother, my sisters, and all the other women out there. Let your men treat you every day like it's the 8th of March!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tile Cleaner

Are your floor tiles dirty? And what about wall tiles? If they are, look no further -- our tile cleaner is all you need!

Ahem... sorry about that. It's called a designer's midlife crisis. Anyway, here's another label design for one of the oldest local brands of detergent products in Georgia. And don't believe the English inscription telling you that it's an "all-purpose cleaner" -- actually, its purpose is only to clean ceramic tiles, which is rightly indicated by the Georgian inscription reading "wall and floor tile cleaner." Why the difference? Well, I don't have a comprehensible answer to that question, so let's just say that inscrutable are the ways of the detergent manufacturers, especially in Georgia...

As for the technical details, the work has been done entirely in CorelDRAW X5. Commercial stock images have been used. And, of course, no detergent manufacturers were harmed during the production.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Interview at

A couple of days ago published an interview with me. Here's the link in case anyone is interested in reading it:

Chitchat: Rezo Kaishauri

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gone with the Melody

Here it is, at last -- the third and final drawing from the mini-series of illustrations to Jurii Kirnev's Lips of Color of Blood, a novel about a young and talented composer who fell in love with Death itself in the form of an attractive young woman.

As in the case of the previous two drawings, the reference for the model was provided by the author himself. In the background you can see a fragment of the Buda Castle in Budapest (where the novel's events take place). The drawing was done in color pencils, with the female figure finished with a black ball-point pen. Below you can see the work in progress.

I had an epic fun drawing the notes. Those who can read them may even recognize the music, because these are the actual fragments of Mozart's Requiem, carefully drawn, note by note, from the score sheets. Here's the enlarged detail for you to appreciate my "scribing" skills:

In conclusion, I'd like to thank Mr. Kirnev for providing such an excellent opportunity and a great material to work with. Maybe someday I'll get the chance to actually read the novel I've done the illustrations for...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Fairy Lady

By the end of last November I was contacted about logo and header design for a dance competition registration website. The URL was, so I decided to make a dancing fairy figure, with a magic wand in her hand. The client liked the figure design so much, that he ordered additional dancing fairy poses for use throughout the website. The work went quite smooth and everything was finished and approved in about two weeks. The funny things started just after that...

What could possibly happen, one may ask. Dance experts, consulting the client -- that's what happened. They pointed out the inaccuracies in some of my dancing poses. Outrageous! I've been dancing since... no, wait... I don't dance. Okay, okay, I admit -- I have no idea about professional dancing requirements. I had no choice but to revise the poses according to the experts' recommendations. Naturally, it all got dragged on, with holidays and other stuff concurred, so the final dot to the project was put only a couple of days ago.

Here's the final version of the logo. In the initial versions the "working" leg didn't touch the "standing" one, with the foot keeping some distance from the knee. The dance experts considered it a blasphemy, so my "fairy lady" had to strike a proper pose.

Below you can see the additional poses, including some "funny" ones, like stretching a leg or holding a roster.
And here's the header design sample:

Being an inveterate package designer, I rarely do website-related projects, so it was fun working on this one (except the part where the experts intervened, of course) and I'm certainly looking forward for more work in this vein.