Happy Feature Friday!
Today we’re featuring the work of Nat Guinamard and we think you’re going to love her incredibly expressive illustrations! Nat was kind enough to share some details on her Drawing a Day Challenge, her artistic background, and her knack for drawing faces. She also answered some of our questions too! So keep reading to learn more about her work and creative journey.
: You collage, graphic design, and do amazing graphite illustrations! What drew you to pursue all three art forms? And how did you discover your talent for art and decide to pursue it professionally?
: I always loved drawing when I was growing up and would draw on every scrap of paper or piece of furniture I could find (sorry mum!). So I guess that I always thought, or at least hoped, that I would work in some form of creative job for a living. I studied Fine Art at university but my work often fell somewhere along the border of graphic design and Fine Art. Whilst at Oxford I also worked on lots of design for marketing for plays and comedy. I enjoy all three art forms in terms of thinking and process and the interplay they have between each other.
: We are so impressed with how you display the detail and personalities of the people and animals you illustrate! How do you get your artwork to be so expressive and realistic looking?
: Ah well, that’s very kind of you to say! I guess it mainly comes down to practice – and plenty of patience! I love going to life drawing classes, I think it really helps with observational drawing, training you to transfer what you see in front of you on to paper. And with plenty of exercises like drawing with your weaker hand or very quick sketches it helps you to relax into the process. I was also very lucky to have anatomy classes, with the incredibly talented and inspirational tutor Sarah Simblet, as part of my first year at the Ruskin. We even had a term in the dissection room, the usual haunt of the medics. It was fascinating to see inside the human body and gain a greater understanding of anatomy, I think this really helps when it comes to figurative drawing.
I also tend to pull the same faces as my subject while I’m drawing, for some reason this seems to help.
: What is the most rewarding thing about creating art each day?
: So much of what I love about art is the physical act of creating, which can get lost when working on screens all the time. The drawing challenge reminded me of why I loved drawing so much in the first place. I find it to be like a form of meditation – a break from our busy multi-tasking lives. Drawing requires complete focus which can be a wonderful escape. And then there’s the joy of the line, and quality of mark-making – choosing the right type of mark for what you’re representing. I’m driven by the thought that I can always improve and I am still to produce my best work.
: Say you have a blank piece of paper in front of you! How do you decide what to draw or create?
: I’m often inspired by politics and current affairs. And, let’s face it, there’s plenty going on in that realm at the moment. Art and design offer a great platform for communicating ideas and feelings. I hope that I can convey a real sense of the politicians’ personalities in my drawings. I actually prefer to draw politicians I don’t like, so they don’t tend to be terribly flattering. Faces (with plenty of character) are my favourite subject to draw. I love discovering the individuality of each person through the small variations in facial shapes that make us all unique. I particularly enjoy all the wrinkles on older faces, which show so much personality. I’m not so interested in photorealism but rather a snap shot of their personality which differentiates the drawing from a photo. It was tough deciding what to draw each day throughout the drawing challenge and my go-to when I was tired (or perhaps a little hungover) would be hamsters. So now I have on record the number of hangovers I had that year…
: Your work has been both awarded and exhibited at different galleries! What is it like to see your work displayed and get recognition?
: Of course it’s always lovely to have my work appreciated. Creating art can be a solitary process and it’s great to see my artwork in the real world and have people enjoy it. It makes all the hard work seem worthwhile. One of my proudest moments was seeing one of my collages on a postage stamp as part of a special edition set of stamps for the London 2012 Olympic games.
: How has your artwork changed or adapted since you first started? What has your artistic journey been like?
: My artwork has explored drawing, collage, installation and painting. The collage work was an exploration of space and architecture. I used gouache paint as an editing tool to carefully select what parts of the image to show and which to hide, leaving certain elements, i.e. furniture, floating in a sea of colour. The pictorial space is flattened through the addition of colour, which I hope acts to disorientate and dislocate the viewer. The images I use were carefully selected to be setup or aspirational interiors from mid 20th century interior design books, which acts to further disengage the experience of my work from the reality of lived in spaces.
My practice is also influenced by my clients. For one project last year I was required to add colour to a graphite illustration – this was a new process for me at the time and has been fun to explore since.
: What are some of your current plans or goals for your artwork? Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
: I’m planning on selling prints of my drawings and I’m currently working through a selection and proofing process to choose the ones that I think will work the best. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I’m selling them on my website. I’m also starting work on illustrating a children’s book. It’s always been my dream to illustrate books so I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into this project.
: Do you have any advice for other artists?
: Don’t give up! Opportunities can come from the strangest places and at the funniest times. I once heard a funny old adage that rings rather true – “If opportunity knocks at your door and you’re wearing your dressing gown – answer it!”. Take every opportunity you can, you never know where it might lead. And go with the flow – even my waitressing and bar work has led me to contacts and experiences which have proved invaluable years later.
And don’t work for free! Value your time and all the work it’s taken you to get where you are. The promised “publicity for your work” is rarely what it’s hyped up to be. For yourself and the industry as a whole it’s integral that artist’s value their time and experience. I’ve made it a policy to only work for free when it’s for a friend or a charity, which is rewarding in a different way. Artists deserve appropriate recognition for their work.