Ukrainian artist Snezhana Soosh is a mom to a 9-year-old son, but it's fatherhood that has inspired her darling illustrations. In whimsical washes of watercolor and ink, Soosh depicts the precious bond between an imaginary dad and daughter in a series of small, sweet moments.
Though each image is enchanting on its own, the scenes are most heartwarming in combination, conveying the multitude of roles a loving dad might occupy in his little girl's life: tea party companion, puppeteer, chess partner, guard against under-the-bed monsters, and more. The fictional father appears as a sort of gentle giant, towering tenderly beside his tiny daughter as both her playmate and protector.
Soosh's dad was not so engaged in her upbringing. As she told The Huffington Post, “I always wanted to have a tender and loving relationship with my own father, but he didn't know how to show his love so most of the time was distant and cold…I think I drew what I lacked and very much wanted–to feel loved and protected by my big papa.” So she looked to her relationship with her son for her illustration ideas, and she wishes to teach him to be the man and father, someday, that she never had.
She also hopes that the series will show other fathers “how important they are in their kids' lives and feel appreciated and inspired to show their love and affection.” Her vision of true strength is one of tenderness and care, and she sees it as a parent's responsibility–whether mother or father–to preserve the “dear, fragile and powerful gift” of every child's innocence. She writes on Instagram, “it's so easy to [lose], it seems impossible to regain. protect it – in your soul but, before all, in a child's soul.” Perhaps her work suggests that kids can nurture their parents' well-being just as much as the other way around, and what matters, in the end, is cherishing our family bonds on every ordinary occasion.