17 Years Old, 10,000 Drawings

A glimpse at the talent of deceased Russian Illustrator and Graphic Designer Nadya Rusheva

rushevaMarch 6th marks the death of Nadya Rusheva (1952-1969) who tragically died at 17 years old. In Russia she is well known but virtually unheard of in the West. Her story is one of inspiration to me for several reasons.

At 5 she started drawing and at 7 years old her parents (also artistic- father a theatre artist and mother a ballerina), recognized her talent and encouraged her in the direction of Illustration. Young with adult like insight, she captured everyday scenes and renderings from classic novels. Every day she painted and in one sitting as her father read “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” she drew 36 illustrations expressing the story.

For the time period, the location and the fact of being a young female Illustrator in a man’s realm she achieved fame in Russia. Rusheva is most famous for her illustrations of Mikhail Bulgakova’s Master and Margarita which was originally banned in the Soviet Union because of religious undertones.

Fellow artists and academics have praised her talent. In Russia she continues to be admired. During her short life she created over 10,000 drawings. Impulsive, real and free of all conventions, they were perceived by her contemporaries as a revelation.

Below are from her famous Illustrations of Mikhail Bulgakova’s Master and Margarita and others.

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