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Flitsinterview Natalie Asplund

Who are your main influences as an illustrator?

There are way too many to name! I've always been a huge fan of Dreamworks early 2D animation, and Disney, but also amazing artists like Hergé, Arnold Friberg, Chuck Jones and Sven Nordqvist. So many of my favourite artists I have found online, like Francesca Buchko, Patrick Schoenmaker, Jeff Delgado, and Kate Beaton, just to name a few. The first i realized that illustrators actually made a career from their craft was in elementary school, when my librarian explained to me that, the people who drew the pictures in my favourite books did it as their jobs, I like to give a lot of my art-career credit to my librarian for planting that little seed when I was little. I never really ever planned on working in the illustration industry until late high school. I originally wanted to be an RCMP officer, but personal circumstances prevented that and I slowly got back into art and drawing more seriously. I eventually took a course in New Media, and further pursued an education in classical animation at Capilano University.

What is your opinion on 'ligne claire' comics?

I feel i might be biased, since I love Hergé's work, but I think Ligne Claire is absolutely simple, effective and beautiful. It's incredibly effectual for visual story-telling as well, because it doesn't take away from the flow of the narrative with overly complex images that are, very beautiful and eyecatching, but distracting. As much as I love detailed artwork, sometimes too much details distracts me from the story and i have to go back and re-read a bunch of the comic to remind myself what was going on.

How would you describe the cultural climate in Canada?

Canada is teaming with culture and arts! It probably helps that Canada has a great foundation of art, Joe Shuster was a Canadian, and almost everyone knows Superman! There are many influential Canadian artists that have even created amazing works and even making their own movement in a way, like the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, Emily Carr and Annora Brown, Photographers like Yousuf Karsh and more recently amazing artists like Kate Beaton! The amazing art that comes from this country is inspiring! Film and Animation especially is just growing more and more! Animation is huge in Vancouver and other major cities and the film industry is growing in Alberta and other parts of Canada, which is all fantastic! Canada embraces such a variety of culture and arts it's amazing and because we are so multicultural we get arts and cultures from all around the world, not just limited to specific cultural movements or content!

When did you first realize you're great at drawing?

I still think i have a lot of learning to do, but I think I really started getting really into art in late high school, and I think that's when I first started working hard at practicing and working on my skills in art. I always drew as a kid, and a teenager, it was always kind of a hobby, but I definitely didn't work hard or look at it seriously until later on when I was in my late teens. I'd like to think I have more of a skill than being talented I was never any better at drawing than anyone else growing up, I definitely noticed an improvement in my art when I started working hard on learning new techniques and drawing whenever I could, and always opening myself up for tips from others. In my opinion, there should never be such thing as a "self-taught" artist, unless you've lived in a cave with no reference or anything, you always are taught by your surrounding, influences and other artists.

When you read a work of fiction, do you think of the ways how you could illustrate it?

Oh ya, always! I think of ways to turn it into a graphic novel or single illustration or even storyboards! It's super fun to visualize things! Even when I see the way others have visualized narratives, like through movies or other comics, I still think of ways to visualize it myself! That's the most fun part about reading novels is that you get to create and imagine your own illustrations of characters and surroundings!

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