After gratuating with a degree in illustration at Kingston University in London, Norwegian illustrator Natalie Foss is now based in Oslow. Her magical, dream-like illustrations are meloncholy and beautiful, and drawn in intricate detail, primarily with colouring pencils. She tells us what inspires her work, of future aspirations, and how she’d spend her perfect day.
1. How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
That’s a good question! My work consists mainly of portraits of women and girls. I mix details with flat colours, and I often work with a limited palette. My work is colourful, a little bit melancholic/sad, and a little bit fresh too. It’s kind of bright, but also dark!
2. What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?
I don’t really remember! But I do remember that a guy in kindergarten bit my hand when I reached out for my coloured pencils. I’m glad it didn’t scare me from drawing more!
3. Which book illustrations have stayed with you from childhood/influenced you?
There aren’t really any book illustrations that have influenced me, not as far as I can remember. But I really loved Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling”!
4. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I’m a twin, and born in the sign of Gemini. And I’m very scared of people.
5. Colours are a big part of your work. But if you could only choose one colour to represent yourself, what would it be?
6. Describe your perfect day.
A perfect day must be to wake up after 8 hours of undisturbed sleep (in another country/city! San Francisco, maybe? That would be fantastic! Eat a good breakfast and drink a good cup of coffee, visit a gallery and get inspired, and then work on drawings whilst listening to birds twitter and nice music for the rest of the day!. And maybe do some socialising in the evening, or relax with a glass of wine. That would be a perfect day, I think.
7. Who/what is inspiring you right now?
I must confess that I’m a bit uninspired at the moment! But I love looking at stuff from the 60’s and 70’s – photos, art, lamps, styles, fashion, patterns. Always inspiring!
8. What music do you listen to while you work?
I listen to a lot of different music! Punk, northern soul and indie has a good impact on my mood, so I tend to listen to that kind of music while I’m working. Right now I only listen to birds twitter, it makes me think of summer and bright days.
9. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I always want to get better at things, and I hope there is a lot I can explore further. I want to get better at shading and drawing details, and I also want to draw more situation and mood (light/shadow) based illustrations, not only portraits. I also want to explore digital drawing, so I can combine traditional with digital in the future – in a good way! And size – I want to test out different kinds of sizes, and maybe translate my pencil drawings into paintings on canvases.
10. What advice would you give to people who want to make creativity a bigger part of their life?
It’s very much about priority! Sometimes you have to sit inside and make art instead of other fun things. It may sound boring, it may sound fun, but it’s (probably) worth it! Be visible on the internet, there are a lot of platforms out there especially made for creative people. Creating a little bit every day is great, to keep your skills “in shape” and to get inspired. A great way to make creativity a bigger part of your life is to make small goals, projects, and collaborations with other people. Make zines, have exhibitions! Having goals to work towards, is a great way to keep the wheels going.