I always liked to draw but I thought that was not lived. The closest thing to an art career was graphic design, I thought, so that I studied. I dedicated to the graphic advertising area for several years but my vocation for drawing was stronger. I left everything I did and now I am dedicated to illustrate children’s books, educational material, pedagogical, among other things. I am also a product brand design: Natalúdica ®.
Here is Natali discussing her process:
Homage to Beatrix Potter
Documentation and quick sketch to develop the idea
Draw everything separately
Final composition in Photoshop with all the scanned drawings
Collage that will work as a background
Drawing on a layer above the collage
Finally, in Photoshop I add colour and textures
How long have you been illustrating?
Since 2008. I was commissioned to illustrate a children book collection for the Peruvian Department of Education. It was my first paid work as a professional Illustrator. I was also in charge of graphic design and layout for the whole collection.
Where do you live?
I live in humid, kind of chaotic, yet beautiful Lima, capital of Perú.
What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?
As a student, I was paid to paint some watercolors. They were used as greeting cards.
Did you go to school for art?
Yes, I studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
What did you study there?
I studied Arts and Design. I have an Art Degree with a specialization in graphic design.
Did college help develop your style?
I think you develop a style over years and it is very much a process, although college did help me to understand that I needed to develop a personal language as an artist.
What type of work did you do after you got out of school?
My first work after college was designing layouts for webpages.
Did they help you get work after you graduated?
No, I actually got my first job by responding to a newspaper advertisement.
Have you seen your work change since you graduated?
Absolutely, over the years I’ve improved my art skills and developed a personal style I am comfortable with. It’s a process as I said before and it is changing permanently.
Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own books?
I would love to. Actually, I have an ongoing picture book project. I need to finish it properly.
Have you ever tried to do a wordless picture book?
No, but it is something I would like to try.
How did you connect with Good Illustration.com for representation? How long have you been with them?
They contacted me and asked if I would be interested in being part of the agency and I have been happily with them since mid-2015.
Do you do art exhibits?
I have participated in a couple of exhibitions, yes.
Do you illustrate full time?
Yes, it is my main occupation but I also teach at a University and at an Institute.
Do you belong to an illustrating or writing critique group?
Yes, we share our work and goals, it helps me to keep on track.
Do you have a favorite medium you use?
Love graphite and colour pencils but collage and mix media are my preferred mediums.
Tell me about the mugs and plates that you paint. Do you make the mugs and paint on the glaze and fire it on in a kiln?
I buy the mugs, paint them with a porcelain ink and fire it in my home oven. The firing process only takes 30 minutes. They are dishwasher proof.
What other type of artwork do you do?
Book and box binding and little bit of screen printing.
Have you had the opportunity to illustrate a picture book? Any book covers?
Yes, that’s my favourite kind of work. I love it when illustrations play a major role in a book.
Are you open to working with a picture book writer who wants to self-publish?
It would be a nice collaboration.
Do you take research pictures before you start a project?
I do a lot of research. Most of the time I look for them on the internet and but sometimes I take the pictures too. It’s the first I do before I draw anything.
Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?
Yes, most of the time. As I said, love graphite pencils and love line art. It’s very important to me that it looks fresh. So, usually my drawings are handmade and I do the colouring in Photoshop or I also make handmade strokes and textures and define them in Photoshop as brushes, so the final result is expressive. It allows me to mix medias and techniques with a loose and warm result.
Do you have and use a graphic tablet?
Yes, I use a kind of old Wacom Intuos 4 but it works fine for me.
Has any of your work appeared in magazines?
This year I created an illustration for Babybug Magazine and illustrated a story for Highlights Magazine.
Do you have a studio in your house?
I do work at home, I have a small studio there.
Is there anything in your studio you couldn’t live without?
Pencil, colour pencil and my sketchbook.
Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?
I try not to neglect personal projects besides commissioned ones. I have a design brand and would like to develop illustrated products and illustrate my own picture books. Part of the routine is to dedicate an exclusive time to make that possible.
What do you think is your biggest success?
I don’t know if this is my biggest success but I’m proud of the children books collection I designed and Illustrated for the Peruvian Department of Education. They were going to be distributed to five regions but the result was so good they were finally distributed all over Peru. This was the beginning of my career as an illustrator.
Any exciting projects on the horizon?
I just finished the illustrations for a children’s short novel and now I’m eager to resume my picture book project. I also have to prepare the second part of an online course I teach. It’s due in March 2017 and is a course about mixed media in Photohop.
Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?
Absolutely, most of the main commisions I’ve worked on, best career opportunities and important contacts in the illustration area came from being exposed on the internet. I’ve also learned a lot and met great and talented colleagues and friends.
What are your career goals?
I’d love to illustrate my own picture books and would like to keep working on interesting projects in which there is a good balance between literature and illustration.
What are you working on now?
I just finished a book and am about to begin the sketches for a new magazine commission.
Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?
Colour pencils work best if you cut the tip as if it were a needle. This allows you to “fill in” the grain of the paper if you do not want it to be too textured and also helps to reach the smaller areas of the drawing. In terms of paper I use Hahnemühle Bamboo paper for mix media. I like its warmth and texture.
Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?
Be organised and dedicate time to personal work, it helps you to be fresh. Good ideas come when you explore freely different media and techniques and get out there, take advantage of social media to expose your work.
Thank you Natali for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Natali’s work, you can visit her at her website: http://www.natalisejuro.net/
If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Natali. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!