- born 1931
- born in Bydgoszcz
- died on 14 October 2019
- he lived and created his works in Warsaw
- he specialized in comics, graphic arts and illustrations
“Bohdan, thank you for your contribution to the Polish comics and the Polish art as well as a lot of joy your works gave to many generations”. (SLOW editorial team and readers)
Butenko attended the Tomasz Zan General Secondary School in Pruszków. In 1955, he graduated from Jan Marcin Szancer’s Studio of Books and Illustration of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In his graduation year, he became the art director of the Nasza Księgarnia publishing house, where he worked for almost 10 years.
The most important publications: “Pierwszy! Drugi!! Trzeci!!!” (story and art), Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza (KAW), 1975; “Pyś, czyli wiadukt nad chaszczami” (story and art), Literatura, 1998; “Bałwanka Gapiszona” (story and art), Ezop, 2001; “Gapiszon i krokodyl” (story and art), Ezop, 2003; “To ja, Gapiszon” (story and art), Egmont, 2003; “Krulewna Śnieżka” (story and art), Nasza Księgarnia, 2008.
The most important awards and distinctions: Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Warsaw, 2011; Silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, Warsaw, 2006; Order of the Smile, Warsaw 2012.
Bohdan Butenko was the author of the first Polish photo-comics, which combined photos, drawings and text. The original composition of panels consists in setting a photo in a panel and then pasting a characteristic flat figure drawn and cut out of paper. Butenko’s characters, drawn using simple strokes, clean contours purified of all unnecessary elements, seem to be drawn by children but, on the other hand, resemble the style of characters from pre-war Polish cartoons.
Owing to the combination of simple strokes with photos, the artist achieved an interesting effect, as the two-dimensionality of the figures emphasizes the three-dimensionality of a photo. As a result, the panel background seems to be a stage set which sets off the characters.
Text is written in balloons or directly in panels. Then, it is linked to the speaking character with a dotted line; sometimes, Butenko uses a different trick: characters’ words start with a dash like dialogues in a book.
In Butenko’s works, there is no borderline between illustrations and comics; in both fields, he uses visual techniques which are customarily reserved for one of them only. In his cartoons, he uses abbreviations and synthesis developed in illustrations, by resigning from the background or details; in illustrations, he includes speech balloons and exclamations. The artist’s works discreetly include educational contents, such as historic or geographic information.