Anastasia Bulgakova is an artist based in Moscow, Russia, who focuses primarily on fantasy and sci-fi illustrations.
Pieces from her latest project have been popping up all over the Internet. She spent an entire year thinking about what different countries of the world would look were they to be personified.
“All of them will be militant and warrior-like, with dirt and blood,” she writes in the gallery. “Not because of some political persuasion, but simply because that what I always draw in any case, and the idea of warrior-countries gives a lot of creative freedom.”
This, of course, is her native Russia. “She wears glamorous armor. Always. Since she is at war. Always.”
The United States:
“Her main goal is to survive- and do it with maximum comfort,” she writes of the American heroine. “She wears leather armor, since she prefers extremely long range battles. Cybernetic arms and legs give her extreme speed in combat.”
Bulgakova knows she’s playing off stereotypes. “Every character is going to have some stereotypical attributes that I am going to use in one way or another.”
“I don’t want to make all countries pretentious and epic,” hence, England:
“I was asked not to make England too stereotypical, with tea, royalty and Downton Abbey. Well, here you go then… My England is fresh, young and wild- punk culture and rock music.”
The only one in the series not depicted as a warrior is Canada.
Instead, he’s a hockey player. “Canada is simple guy with puppy eyes. He is kind and not conflicting. Prefers to be at home and not look for any problems in others’ battles. He only fights in sports- hockey. He finds it honest and cheerful.”
With Japan, Bulgakova “took some liberties,” nodding at the country’s samurai culture…though she was “sick of seeing katanas everywhere” so instead depicted him with a spear and a tail (or tentacle) and exploding spheres as weapons.
“No one ever truly knows his real motives and desires (or how many “true” superforms he has), and he never answers anyway. But one thing is certain- even if he kills you, he will be extremely polite about it.”
Bulgakova offers a disclaimer on her work. “I’m not trying to offend anyone,” she writes, “but if our points of view on a country/nation don’t match, well, that’s life.”
“Also, I do not know everything about every countries. This can be reflected in my drawings.”
For Israel, Bulgakova wrote, “First of all, I know that women don’t wear Tzitzit, or use Tefillin, but Israel is female and there aren’t any well known feminine religious symbols.”
She depicted her warrior with a pulse rifle and notes that she prefers to fight from afar with her army of “UAVs, UGVs and drones.” Bulgakova adds that she is ancient but because she’s so small “she gets trampled, exiled, or destroyed, only to reborn again a few generations later.”
“An alternate reality France”
“Here the monarchy has won, and the revolution failed. He is an ancient country now, more that 1500 years old. An aristocrat and a vampire. “
Mexico “did not come easily” to the illustrator, who ultimately decided to choose “Coatlicue – the mother serpent, the beginning and the end, a goddess from Aztec mythology” as her influence.
“Living in Russia, I know very little about Mexico, besides a few stereotypes,” writes the artist. “So my Mexico is a drug lord- dangerous, beautiful and vicious. Slim and tall, she likes to wear classical men’s clothes, like any proper high-class crime lord…Largely, I was inspired by Tuco cousins from Breaking Bad- I ****ing love them. They remind me of snakes, and they had axes. Although, they were silent and my Mexico is quite emotional (crazy smile is there for a reason). Doesn’t like unpaid debts, and cowards.”
Germany, the Teutonic knight, wears a high-tech mech suit:
“Germany is considered to be clean, orderly and modern, so he wears a mechsuit. Something like an Ironman suit, but with more precision German engineering in it. And more stylish. Unlike earlier times, he mostly fights long ranged battles now, to keep the suit clean.”
Iran was Bulgakova’s “first ancient civilizations character.”
The illustrator was interested in Arabian tales, and after doing some research decided to give the mage to Iran “because it’s location was the largest cultural center of the middle east for a long time.” She adds, “you may disagree, but this is my decision.”
Bulgakova describes her hero as “gloomy and not talkative, because talk is cheap, unlike gold and power…He has a magical lamp with a djinni, who will fulfill the mage’s wishes.”
The artist plans on continuing the series as requests for specific countries keep pouring in (“I’m sorry if I have not had time to draw your country yet,” she writes. “I have a permanent main job…and sometimes I’m just lazy.”)