OIeg Vassiliev and Erik Bulatov, working as a team, jointly illustrated children’s books as a way to make a living and get access to art supplies. The books were well-known throughout the Soviet Union. In a 2011 interview, Vassiliev discussed this aspect of his life:
“After graduation [from art school], the question of making a living arose. I had odd jobs and taught a little bit. Then Ilya Kabakov introduced us to book illustration. … I always worked together with Erik [Bulatov], and our early books were attacked in newspapers for their ‘formalism.’ Later we slowly began to be noticed and even received prizes. The publishing house we worked for entrusted us with fairytales. This was serious work for us. We would focus entirely on book illustration projects for half a year; the other half would be devoted to our own paintings."
Play the video below to see the inside pages of one of the books listed above: Reflections of Fairy Tales, Poems and Songs in the drawings of E. Bulatov and O. Vassiliev, 2017.