Nicolas Sidjakov

Click on an image for a larger view and the complete gallery

Nicolas Sidjakov
was born December 16, 1924, in Riga, Latvia, of Russian parents who had fled Russia during the Revolution. He studies in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in the 1940s, and in the 1950s worked as a freelance designer for the French movie industry, and in advertising. In 1954 he came to the United States with his family, where he continued to work in advertising. In the 1950s he also began to illustrate children’s picture books. His first such work was published in 1957, and in 1961 he won the Caldecott Award for Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins. The story, based on an old Russian legend, enabled Sidjakov to draw upon his own heritage and ‘Russian feelings.’ Throughout the 1960s and 70s he continued to illustrate various authors’ books on a variety of subjects, including folk literature.

Nicolas designed more than he illustrated and the advertising annuals of the period are littered with his design accolades.

3 thoughts on “Nicolas Sidjakov”

  1. j.miho says:

    nicolas was to me more a designer than an illustrator he was a exceptionally good designer with modernist traits. he and his friends like tom kamufuji and a group of s.f. designers were spearheading design in america as nyc was. the 60’s-70’s was the golden age of graphic design from a conceptual basis. rock and roll was bursting out on the streets of s.f. with its habit of individual designs. others from russia who fled the stalinist era was alexi brodovitch the amazing magazine designer and teacher of penn-kane-and many other photographers in nyc. design revolution was it coast to coast. it happened because of america was a place to be and express yourself-nyc beat paris for art as abstract expressionist flowered in nyc. print supported design and photographers pushed the envelope of pictures and pushed illustration aside. nicolas was in the thick of it.

  2. admin says:

    While San Francisco was roaring along creatively, James Miho reshaped design from New York City. I still have samples from his Champion Papers series and will not part with them. For more information on Miho, a quick search online will introduce you to this iconic designer who’s place in graphic design history is firmly established and fondly remembered.
    Thank you for the comment.

  3. Laurel Burden says:

    I came across “Baboushka” today at the LACMA California Design exhibit and was immediately taken back to the 60s in Northern California. The book came into my life because I had two very young brothers and children’s book illustrations had always been a passion. I loved this book and as I started college in Oakland, became aware of the rich design community in the area. Mr. Miho’s remarks were wonderful to read and he, and his work with Champion Papers were an inspiration to a young graphic designer.
    Thank you, I’m thrilled to have found this site.

Leave a Reply