Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

| 26 Jun 2024
Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

While recovering from a shocking motorcycle accident in 2006, Stefan Ivanov started drawing Škodas as therapy.

After 14 years’ work and more than 2000 sketches, Ivanov has now produced his first book recounting the history of marque founders Václav Laurin and Václav Klement, with a series of finely drawn illustrations covering the period from 1896 to 1929.

The injuries from the accident included two fractures to his skull and serious back damage.

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

A Škoda Popular 1100 Saloon; artist Stefan Ivanov works entirely in pencil

“I was in a coma for 14 days and was worried I’d never walk again,” reveals Ivanov.

“One of the few things I could still do was draw, so that summer I started sketching the vehicles of Laurin & Klement and Škoda.

“My hand was still shaking, and my eyes were painful, but the sketching helped to keep me motivated.

“The first subjects were modern Škodas but through an interest in the history of the company, I started drawing older and older models.

“My idea developed to produce a visual history of the marque.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov
Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

Planes interject Ivanov’s work (left); 1916 L&K with officers in Constantinople

Since his childhood, Ivanov has been fascinated by the brand: “On trips with my parents to Czechoslovakia from Bulgaria in the 1980s, my father would tell stories about his cars including his first Škoda, a 100S.

“We had a bright orange 120L, which I always loved and it ignited my interest.

“I now own a 1982 120 GLS, but my favourites are mostly from the ’30s.

“One day I’d love to own a Popular Type 912 convertible.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

Laurin & Klement Type FCR racer, known as ‘The Coffin’. Two were made in 1909, one of which was shown in 1911 in Berlin

“There’s a passionate following in Bulgaria for vintage cars and motorcycles,” he says.

“The local towns regularly host parades for old vehicles, and I’ve even been featured in a short film about my interest in Škodas.”

Ivanov works entirely in pencil. “My preferred choice is Koh-i-Noor but quality paper is essential too,” he explains.

“I really enjoy researching the vehicles and try to give them historical context with figures.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

The striking Laurin & Klement M/Mb/MO roadster from 1913-’15

“I’ve drawn several from the First World War including a 1916 L&K, which I depicted in Constantinople with three Austrian soldiers,” continues Ivanov.

“My drawing process is a little chaotic and the compositions evolve all the time.”

Ivanov has developed a keen interest in the graphics of each era, particularly the Art Deco advertising of the 1930s: “No one in my family is artistic, and I’ve never taken any lessons. I just love drawing.”

Classic & Sports Car – Motoring art: Stefan Ivanov

Works Laurin & Klement depicted on the 1912 Austrian Alpine Rally, an event on which the marque won the team prize five times in a row from 1910

“My ambition is to produce a second book of my work but in English,” he says.

“I’d also like to exhibit and tell the story of Laurin & Klement, but few people here in Bulgaria are interested.”

Now word of Ivanov’s project is spreading.

An English automotive library ordered copies, while another enquiry came from the Revs Institute in Florida.

For more, see @stefan_ivanov_autoart on Instagram

This was first in our November 2020 magazine; all information was correct at the date of original publication


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