Working mainly in fashion, publishing and editorial, Natalia Sanabria is influenced by fashion designers like Meadham Kirchhoff, Tsumori Chisato and Prada. Equally, she’s inspired by artists like Gustav Klimt, Toulouse Lautrec, Degas and Egon Schiele because they could make women look powerful yet delicate at the same time – qualities that are clear in Natalia’s work as well.
She studied Graphic Design and Painting at the University of Costa Rica.
Natalia bases her work in reality, but heightens its appeal with splashes of color and collage. This she fits around the hand-drawn elements to build an appealing composition. She blends colored graphite pencils with watercolors, and experiments with her technique to find new looks for her clients.
Delicate, youthful and feminine but with some attitude, Natalia's style brings personality to each illustration she creates. By using mixed media, she’s adept at varying the tone, creating strong characters with an extra dimension or quirkiness to lift the image.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Natalia: I've always loved fashion magazines, so that was my first approach to fashion, models and extravagant dresses. Then in art school I didn't know which direction to take, so I start taking inspiration from my magazines and drawing the models. Then I fell in love with every drawing I did and just wanted to learn more and polish my technique. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Natalia: I do, I went to the University of Costa Rica, and majored in graphic design and painting. Question: Where are you originally from? Natalia: I was born and still live here in San Jose, Costa Rica. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Natalia: I live in Coronado, it's a little town with lots of nature and mountains nearby that I love to visit every time I have a chance. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Natalia: It's my bedroom/studio, I have plenty of space to work on my illustrations and paintings. My studio is like a collage, I have many art supplies, watercolors, pencils, books, glitter in all colors, origami papers, but also I have my little treasures, like crystals, toys, souvenirs from my travels, I collect Barbies and there's a huge inspirational board on my wall filled with cards and drawings. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Natalia: My family, they support me a lot and always encourage me to do what I love. My grandmother sewed, together we made dresses for my Barbies and she also was a very crafty lady so I learned a lot from her. My Aunt used to draw me dolls when she came home after work and my Dad also has a passion for art and drew me horses and farm animals, so I guess I grew up looking up to them. Finally but not least my Mom is my best friend, my companion when I'm working, I always show her my new drawings, she has a very good eye for art. Question: How do you get your ideas? Natalia: Usually it's from photos I find on the internet, colors is what drives my attention. An interesting face, a mixture of different patterns. Fashion week and street style is where I get very inspired from. I love to see how people express themselves through clothes. Question: Do you collect anything? Natalia: I like Barbies, I love the old ones, recently I bought the Pizza Hut Skipper and now I want to buy the astronaut Barbie from 1985. I like toys in general and little porcelain figures or anything cute. Question: What is the first record you bought? Natalia: I was little and I was a huge Spice Girls fan, I wanted to be Geri Spice so my first record was Spice Girls, I still can sing every song in that cd.
Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Natalia: It was a drawing of a model from the SS14 Ashish show, I was very pleased with the result, the girl looked very powerful. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Natalia: To see my drawings on one of the magazines I buy, NYLON, Vogue, V magazine that would be a huge achievement. Question: Who are your art heroes? Natalia: I love painters like Gustav Klimt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec. They influenced me by their particular styles and the theatricality of the women they portrayed. Question: Who are your design heroes? Natalia: More than design heroes I have fashion heroes. My favorites are Meadham Kirchhoff, Ashish, Manish Arora, Jeremy Scott, Romance was Born and Prada. Question: Who are your musical heroes? Natalia: I have a thing for Smashing Pumpkins, them as a group with the original members, there's a magic in every album, there's a song for every moment in my life. I also love the Knife, I got the chance to see them live and the show blew me away. And for the mellow times I like Beach House. Question: What do you say to people who say illustration isn't really 'Art'? Natalia: That's wrong, both art and illustration start with an idea. None is better than the other, there're illustrations that are superior than 'fine art' in my opinion. Most of the greatest painters of all times did illustrations as well, and they were even more interesting than their paintings, a good example is Egon Schiele, for me he was an incredible illustrator. Question: Do you think anyone with Photoshop can be an illustrator these days? Natalia: I guess so, you can do great things with digital art, but I prefer the old type of illustration, where you can grab a pencil and paper, the illustration has a part of you, it's more personal. Question: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Natalia: I recently went to London, I didn't know what to expect and it was love at first sight. Now I can see why the greatest artists come from London, they must be really inspired by the city. Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Natalia: The golden moments of the Moulin Rouge, to watch all the extravagant shows and meet all those painters that lived in that same period. I would love to see how Toulouse-Lautrec painted the dancers in movement, and hang out in his studio. Question: Who would you like to have as your muse if your were painting their portrait? Natalia: Chloe Norgaard, she's a model who always changes her hair color and looks beautiful with each of them, also I like her style. Question: How do you picture the afterlife? Natalia: With bright pastel colors, happy and peaceful.