What's this illustration for?
These two illustrations are both personal pieces. Inspired by Japanese scroll paintings and memories of childhood, they are two in an ongoing series of illustrations in which I am exploring the magic, innocence and fragility of youth through little moments in time depicted very simply using basic media and techniques. I hope to publish them as a small book one day.
Illustrating children’s books has always interested me and this little collection is my fix for now.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
Often I don’t know how the final image will look but I have an idea or a feeling in mind. I start with different elements that reflect these and then let my instincts guide me. I always let the work sleep and mature for a while to see if it stands the test of time before I fine tune things.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
When I relocated to Tokyo in late 2008 I decided wholeheartedly to use the opportunity to devote myself to illustrating seriously with the intention of one day turning it into a viable and successful business for myself alongside my graphic design work.
At the outset it was all about experimentation and finding my feet really. I bought a stack of new materials and mountains of paper and just threw myself into it day and night. I knew I could draw but I needed to really put time into playing with different media, not just those that I felt immediately comfortable with.
At the same time I designed and built my website and trickled stuff onto that as I continued to experiment. And I am still experimenting!
Who or what has influenced your work?
I have an eclectic and long list of artistic influences.
My immediate inspiration can come from anywhere and it is very circumstantial in many ways. It changes depending on where I am in life, my mood, my surroundings and what I’m working on at any given time. Often my best ideas come from the simplest things, like people in the street, music, nature, dreams and past experiences.
In addition, beyond my personal day-to day experience, my history with Japan and my love for all things Japanese is perhaps my greatest inspiration. I aspire to creating images that reflect the beauty, simplicity and sincerity ever-present in Japanese design and create.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
All hands-on traditional media excites me - pencil, pen & ink, gouache & watercolour, crayon and collage. I love experimenting with all of them in my work. I don’t limit myself to one medium.
If I had to name a definitive favourite however, it would probably be pencil.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Of course! Generally if I brainstorm and doodle long enough the light bulb comes on. If it doesn’t I work on something else, just relax looking at creative and inspiring material such as books, magazines or websites or get out of the house and take a walk and let the subconscious go to work.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Working alone when you are a ‘people’ person.
And the best?
The flexibility to work where and when you feel most creative and inspired, not when the clock dictates or the office limits.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently my design work includes two corporate identities, a website and a poster. My illustration work includes a commissioned portrait and another commercial packaging assignment in addition to my ongoing personal projects - Tokyo 365: 365 moments of Tokyo style, pieces for my next exhibition, some self-promotional items and other random illustrations.
Where can we see more of your work?
My personal website is www.natayan.com. My portfolio is also featured on the Illustrator’s Australia website, www.illustratorsaustralia.com.
In addition, some of my work is available for download from www.digitalbloom.com and www.machiukeru.jp.