Tales of the Kingdom Illustrator: Zhivko Zhelev

Kingdom Tales Kickstarter Artist: Zhivko ZhelevAs we near the end of our Kickstarter campaign, we are thrilled to introduce you to Zhivko Zhelev, the illustrator for the new editions of Tales of the Kingdom! You’ve been seeing his breathtaking illustrations all over our blogs and Kickstarter page and now we want you to get to know him as we have.

It isn’t a surprise that Bulgarian artist, Zhivko Zhelev, was chosen as a winner in the Tales of the Kingdom art competition – or that he was chosen to be the new illustrator for the trilogy. Artistically talented from a young age, Zhivko entered his first International Competition at age seven and came in fourth place. During his teenage years, he studied at a fine art High School and went on to attend the university where he studied informatics and continued to develop his abilities as an illustrator. Today, living in beautiful Plovdiv, Bulgaria, he continues to work diligently to enhance and improve his skills.

“I have a broad spectrum of creative areas I like to pursue,” he explained when asked his favorite medium to work in. But, while he loves to draw in virtually every medium, he usually finds himself coming back to oil and acrylic on canvas or digital painting.

Zhivko has a passion to draw anything connected with Fantasy. However, the thing that inspires him the most is nature. “When you think about it,” Zhivko explained, “you can find virtually everything in nature. That’s why I LOVE to go out in the wild when I need inspiration.”

To determine who influences his work the most is no easy task. Zhivko admires a wide range of artists, from Salvador Dali to Norman Rockwell. At this point in time, Zhivko aspires to do either a movie or an AAA game title, as he feels either of these would influence many people. Because the Tales of the Kingdom trilogy is so well loved and has been so influential, he feels that becoming the illustrator for the new editions is a big step toward fulfilling that dream.

Zhivko now has more than eleven years of professional experience in the art world and has been a designer and illustrator for many projects including books, music album covers, movie posters and more. He has been part of many exhibitions in places like Vien, Austria where he displays his traditional artwork – and his photography! Photography is Zhivko’s hobby. He describes himself as a “passionate photographer” who likes “more mountains than the sea”.

While art is a major part of Zhivko’s life, his family is his pride and joy. Zhivko says attending university gave him “many great contacts, including my wife, the most good and beautiful contact ever”. Together, he and his beloved wife have a four-year-old son, whom he describes as “the most cool, funny, and curious”!

Like so many others, Zhivko wants to encourage those who are just beginning to pursue a career in art. He has great advice that comes from his own years of experience. He challenges young artists to “Never stop trying – even if success doesn’t come quickly” and to “work hard and advance yourself by improving your skills”. He reminds them that, “in most cases, work beats talent. It’s 90% work and 10% talent. If there is a recipe for that, that’s it”.

You can view Zhivko Zhelev’s online portfolio and see one of his incredible illustrations for Tales of the Kingdom by going here.

When you Back Our KICKSTARTER Project you’ll RECEIVE 3 Award-winning CHILDREN’S BOOKS to READ & ENJOY WITH YOUR KIDS (or GRAND KIDS) — each story teaches character lessons for life, and comes fully Revised, Re-published in print and all eBook formats, and Re-illustrated with Zhivko’s captivating, original art!

If you would like to back our Kickstarter Campaign to revise, re-illustrate and re-publish the Kingdom Tales Trilogy, go here.

The Girl Named Dirty

Kingdom tales Kickstarter: The Girl Named DirtyForever and always, the Caretaker of Great Park brought those who were hurt or frightened, sick or broken to his wife, Mercie, because she was wise, and whatever she touched was made better. . . .

Except Dirty. Dirty refused to become better. Caretaker had found her outside Stonegate Entrance, rooting around for food after a Burner had beaten her. The child was covered with welts and bruises.

When Caretaker approached the girl, she immediately stood to her feet and shouted, “I’m Dirty! I never wash! I never cry! I’ll fight anything that raises a fist to me!” Then she fainted from her wounds and hunger.

Caretaker brought her to Mercie. But all of the old woman’s efforts could not help the girl to enjoy life in Great Park. Dirty hated the cottage. She despised the people who lived there. She thought Caretaker with his tree hat and jingling pockets was stupid. She hated Hero’s ugly scar.

“I’m not going to live with those creeps,” she declared one day as she stomped off to the barnyard to make her home with the pigs.

From that day on, she tromped in the mud and slept in the sheds. She practiced pig grunts. She learned pig calls, “Hoi-soi-soi-soi-hoi!” She watched the sows give birth to litters, and made pets of the piglets. And because the pigs were gentle, she loved them.

But she refused to love people.

Another outcast was living in the cottage, a girl Dirty’s age who had a disease that made her crippled. Dirty hated the Crippled Girl because she was ugly.

“Sui! Sui!” she would say to her pigs. “How can they live with that ugly thing? Why don’t they just get rid of her?”

Dirty sat on a big sow and watched when Caretaker carried the Crippled Girl on a pallet into the warm sunshine. She heard Mercie, that crone of a housewife, sing songs. Dirty made pig grunts to drown out the sound.

At first Mercie tried to persuade her to come into the cottage for meals, but she would not. Then Mercie carried nourishing lunches to the dung heap where Dirty liked to sit, and she ate there with the girl. Finally, Dirty refused any food from Mercie’s hand.

“I’ll eat the pig slop,” she said. “If it’s good enough for pigs, it’s good enough for me.”

Finally, the wise woman and her husband decided to leave Dirty alone. The girl would have to learn that what was fine for pigs was not always right for children.

To read the rest of this story and many more beautiful stories like it, go here and back our Kickstarter campaign to revise, re-illustrate, and re-publish the Kingdom Tales Trilogy.  If you want to order the classic, original editions, go here.