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Linocut Artists – Olesya Dzhuraeva
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Linocut Artists – Olesya Dzhuraeva

Linocut Artists

Watch the things my way

by Olesya Dzhuraeva

Every life is unique no matter whether it is human, animal, city or buildings. Their life stories are created by numerous moments: interesting, bright, boring, monotonous … different.

I’ve been working with objects for a long time. I inspired myself studying the details of their life history. Those were ordinary things such as bicycle, clothes, shoes, utensils. I was focused on investigating dishes and cups for a long time – I have no clear explanation why, but perhaps because of the possibility to read them more clearly. Coffee, morning, alone, together … evening, tea, alone, together …

Long-standing still life has taught to watch and see, read and listen. I learned how to feel life.

I am not a hermit, but spend a lot of time in the studio alone with my thoughts and objects that surround me. No, I do not hide from people at all – I just got used to it and I feel comfortable spending time that way, as it gives me an opportunity to feel the flow of life.

One day it became clear that the most interesting things for me to watch are the city in which I live. It was not a sudden occurrence. For several years, I went to the studio the same way almost every day – in summer, winter, autumn, spring. The weather, seasons, people’s clothes, car designs, advertising boards were changing, and the city was rushing or going down to whisper, but it was never silent. You just need to stop and listen to its exciting sounds. So I began to read the architecture, which for me was a monumental chronicle of life.

I am often asked about the reason why I do not work with the architecture of the old city, famous tourist places in my city, and buildings with a hundred years of history. The answer is simple – I like the different areas and types, but I do not choose what to portray and how to express, just some things I’ve already read and felt.

I use linoleum in my work, even though it is simple and almost childish. Maybe because it gives me an opportunity to work on an old, used material, the one that lived here for 40-50 years. Sometimes I feel like an ancient builder who uses only local materials in his work.

On the last series of works “Where I Am” I have been working for more than four years. It is dedicated to the places I see every day from the window of my apartment while going to the studio or returning home and its every moment was unique.

I consider myself to be a happy person, I do not seek and do not wait for exciting moments or surprises. All life is one unique and exciting moment.

“The Right Direction” is one of my most favorite linocuts, as it perfectly expresses my attitude to life, my way home and to myself.

In the early beginning, when I was a student, I started my creative search from etching and collagraph techniques. I’ve created one series of prints in each of them. It took me two years to find a lino. Even don’t remember where I found the first piece of material and my first tools. But I remember my first prints. It was a real challenge for me to find my own way.

LINOCUT – the way I do it

1. Linoleum

I checked all possible materials of different lino manufacturers and now I prefer old and used linoleum (40-50 years), made from more natural components. It soft enough, good for small and delicate mark making, never crack. Where I take it? Mostly in garbage, near reconstructed old, “Soviet” times buildings.

And sure my friends, and simply people who know I’m an artist (even from FB), send me or deliver lino to my studio. GUYS – thanks to everybody!!!

2. Tools

Many people ask me what type of curving tools I use. My answer – sharp, handy and usable. Pfeil, Flexcut microtools and made by local handymen, U-gouge and V-gouge… different. But prefer the smallest V-gouge.


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Pfeil Tools are high quality Swiss made carving tools suitable for either lino or wood cutting.

Each tool is made from chrome vanadium steel, precisely forged, sharpened and polished for excellent results. Palm-handles are made of hardwood from ecologically managed Swiss forests.
Full bolster and square tang for optimal stability. Internal steel ferrule under bolster prevents the handle from splitting. Tools are hardened to the edge of the bevel. Blades electronically hardened to exacting tolerances.

These tools can be found in different sets or bought one by one in order to make a set more suitable for you.

PFEIL: LINOLEUM AND BLOCK CUTTER SET OF 6: SET D 

Or…


3. Image transfer

The first step – like many artists I make a sketch or drawing of the future image.

And the second step – I just draw this image on linoleum by black markers or pens.
Sometimes I do not make sketches, only drawing on lino. So I cannot say anything useful about the transfer process.

4. Carving

I work really slowly. The big size (50cmx70cm) takes about two months of time.

Small size, like 20×20 – about 3-4 weeks. (About mark making – to make small round dots use the smallest U-gouge you can find.)

5. Printing

For printing, I prefer smooth and plain paper. It’s the best for small and delicate lines. Black ink that I use – good quality professional typographic ink.


Van Son Rubber Base Universal Ink is a rich and versatile black ink made in the Netherlands. It is widely used by jobbing and commercial letterpress printers and relief printmakers such as lino cutters or wood engravers. This ink is perfect for use on a wide variety of printing presses and for hand-burnished prints from relief matrices. It is a stiff ink which will deliver a crisp impression from areas with lots of fine stippling or line work.

Van Son Rubber Base Ink is sold in very large quantities; most printers and printmakers will find a 1kg tin of ink will last them years. It will not form a skin in the can and will stay wet on the press for several days, which can be useful if you are printing large runs. Once printed on uncoated paper it dries quickly to a smudge-proof finish.

Because Van Son ink is widely used in the commercial printing industry, it is supplied in large tins that may have superficial scratches or dents. This damage should not affect the air-tightness of the seal or the quality of the ink.


And now, let me show you what I’ve been developing with this technique.


Early morning, 30x21cm

Deep Forest 1 and 2,  28.5x20cm

Dusk, 40×60 cm

After the rain, 27,5x40cm

Planetarium, 50×77 cm

Roofs, 25×34 cm

The right direction, 50,5×77,5cm

Thanks to the TOP Printmaking team for the opportunity to show what I have been doing.
I hope this article is inspiring for those who are taking the first steps in the search of their own way.


This article was written by Olesya Dzhuraeva and all images copyright © olesyadzhuraeva 2019

You can get to know her on her Facebook page.

You can also leave comments below, she will respond as soon as possible.



Hope you enjoyed. If so, please leave a comment.
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26 Comments

  • Glenn Slingsby September 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Fabulous work. Like ink stippling but even harder!

    Reply
    • TOP Team September 18, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Glenn. Thanks for your comment and visit.
      If you liked the article, share it with your contacts. It is a great help to us. 😉

      Reply
  • fredk Jones September 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    excellent article by Olesya Dzhuraeva!

    Reply
    • TOP Team September 18, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment and visit. 😉

      Reply
  • Chandan Bez baruah September 18, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    All the best….

    Reply
  • Lenny September 18, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Reading this insight gives an even greater appreciation of your work and process. Just stunning!

    Reply
    • TOP Team September 18, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      We’re glad you enjoyed it Lenny. Thanks for the visit and comment.

      Reply
  • Eileen Mair September 18, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Very helpful and interesting article. One thing I didn’t like was the fake news items that kept popping up.

    Reply
    • TOP Team September 19, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Hi Eileen.
      Thanks for your visit and comment. In relation to pop ups, we have only defined two cases – incentive to share in social networks (1) and newsletter subscription (2). If there is any more pop up, please take a printscreen and send it to support@topprintmaking.com. We don’t want fake news to appear on our blog and if it happened, we apologize and promise to resolve soon.

      Reply
  • Helen October 2, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Total inspiration from a lino lover! Kudos to Ms. Dzhuraeva. Happy to have found your site and will look forward for more.

    Reply
    • TOP Team October 2, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Hi Helen. Thanks for your comment and visit.
      If you liked the article, share it with your contacts. It is a great help to us. 😉

      Reply
  • Haig Demarjian January 14, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Her work and ethic is so inspiring. I follow her on Instagram and am always impressed. This article has some great insights, like the fact that she uses OLD linoleum! Everyone seems to say it dries up over time and that it has a shelf lief. I certainly understand that could be a problem but I inherited a roll that’s about 40 -50 years old now and I’ve been using it for years with no crumbling or cracking. I’ve never been able to explain it, so it’s good to see someone else, who gets such exceptional results, using older linoleum too. I will definitely be sharing this article (and topprintmaking.com in general) with my students.

    Reply
    • TOP Team January 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Haig. Thanks for the visit and comment.
      Each printmaker has a particular way of feeling the material. We all know that linoleum tends to get harder with age but this can be something positive. Thank you in advance for sharing and using our website to inform more interested people. If you ever feel the need to expose some specific problem or project, or even talk about a technique or tool, you have a project here where you can do it. Just contact us by one of several means available and we will be happy to cooperate with you. 😉

      Reply
  • Karen January 14, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing this artist’s story. It’s wonderful to see how each printmaker has their own unique approach!

    Reply
    • TOP Team January 15, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Karen.
      It’s one of the fantastic things you discover when you get to know these techniques.
      Welcome to the magical world of printmaking! 😉

      Reply
  • Catherine April 10, 2019 at 12:22 am

    The most inspiring Lino artist I have seen, and there are some really good ones. I show Olesya’s work to my students regularly. Thanks for this article and the great images. Very generous and sharing.

    Reply
    • TOP Team April 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Catherine. Thanks for your visit and comment. 😉

      Reply
  • Jayne Reid Jackson April 10, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    I recently discovered her work and she’s become one of my favorite printmakers. A great share on her part with this article and shows a wonderful down-to-earth spirit, I person I would love to meet.

    Reply
    • TOP Team April 10, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Jayne. We’re glad you liked it.
      She is really a fantastic person and you can easily get in touch with her by following the article link. 😉

      Reply
  • ake erlandsson April 10, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Det var intressant och kul att läsa om dina reflektioner om den miljö som omger dig, och att du använder gammal begagnad linoleum ger det ytterligare en ny dimension.
    FRÅN VÄNNEN O BEUNDRAREN 🙂

    Reply
    • TOP Team April 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      Tack för ditt besök och kommentar. 😉

      Reply
  • William Hays April 10, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Olesya is in the top tier of b&w, relief printmakers in the world right now. One of my most prized possessions is her print, “The Right Direction.”

    Reply
    • TOP Team April 11, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      Dear William, many thanks for your visit and comment. 😉
      “The Right Direction.” is really a beautiful work but other great works have been done by her after we have made this article. Without a doubt an artist to follow closely.

      Reply
  • Thomas Gravemaker April 11, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Just a minor thing that can easily be edited. It’s ‘rubber base’ ink and not ‘rubber based’. Apart from that, excellent article, brilliant artist!

    Reply
    • TOP Team April 11, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Dear Thomas,
      Thank you very much for your comment and for helping us to improve. We’ll amend it immediately.

      Reply

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