The artist Francesca Yarbusova is responsible for the beautiful art found in Skazka skazok
and other animations of the director Yuri Norstein
, also her husband.
She is, as he said in one interview, a full-blooded Pole with an Italian name. She was born in Moscow, where her father worked in a biophysics lab. She began drawing before she could walk, liked to play outside, collected bugs and was particularly fond of the encyclopedia for its illustrations. She liked Bambi and Mowgli, and often pretended she was a character in the stories. "My mother laughed at me when I lost a baby tooth: 'How now, toothless Bagira?' I couldn't contain myself, and bit her finger," she told one interviewer.
She attended an art high school, which was not far from the Planetarium, on the first floor of a stone building with high windows. The second floor housed a music school, and the art teachers brought in books with reproductions of Renoir, Gauguin, Monet and Van Gogh at a time when the Impressionists were frowned upon by the Soviet authorities. Norstein was two years ahead of her, and it was not until later, in the studios of Soyuzmultfilm, that she attracted his attention by being able to quickly draw anything.
Yarbusova entered VGIK on the recommendation of the art school's headmistress, an elderly lady who wore lace gloves and hat with a veil. Yarbusova ended up in the artist-animator class, taught by Ivanov-Vano. However, he was busy and more often gone than not, so the students drew what they liked. After finishing at the institute she was assigned to Soyuzmultfilm, where she worked first with V. Degtyarevyi then with V. Danilevich. She joined Norstein's team early on, and was among the artists who worked on Secha pri Kerzhentse (The Battle of Kerzhenets). With Lisa i zayats (Fox and Rabbit) she became his head artist and has since worked with him on Tsaplya i zhuravl' (Heron and Crane), Yozhik v tumane (Hedgehog in the Fog), Skazka skazok (Tale of Tales) and Shinel' (The Overcoat).
Aldoshina, O. "Razgovor, kotorogo ne byla." Iskusstvo-Kino. Retrieved 29 March 2005. URL: