Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Ever caught yourself doodling and thought you could be an illustrator? if you just answered yes, then it's time to get cracking. Just like you, we came across a New Zealand-based fashion illustration, Natasha Joseph who also goes by the name 'A Paper Wish'. Fashion illustrator Natasha is known for her live fashion drawing skills at events. A one of its kind art, she takes anywhere between 10 -12 mins to complete a sketch. Working her charm at events with leading brands and publications including - Louis Vuitton, Dior, Grand Mercure Hotel, DFS & CosmoGirl, the young fashion illustrator shares her journey with us.
Tell us the journey behind starting out as a fashion illustrator?
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to draw. As a child, I loved drawing character sketches inspired by my favourite comic books. I discovered fashion drawing when I stumbled upon David Downton’s illustrations in a fashion magazine and I was hooked. I started drawing fashion illustrations as a hobby because I was so fascinated by this form of storytelling and used Instagram as a platform to create my portfolio. People started to appreciate my style and I started receiving orders for custom portraits in the form of fashion illustrations. In 2017, I received an email from Dutch CosmoGirl Magazine and was featured in the Artist Special column. This was a turning point for me, I was motivated to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator and launched my brand - A Paper Wish. What is a paper wish and what is the ideology behind it?
A Paper Wish is a fashion illustration brand that offers whimsy and elegant art prints, greeting cards, custom portraits, stationery and more! Customers can place orders through a little store I run on Etsy called Shop A Paper Wish. My brand has also expanded to offer live sketching services at store activations, PR events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, bridal showers and corporate events.
What is your source of inspiration?
This may sound cheesy but I do find inspiration in almost everything! It can be something as exciting as travelling to a new country or even a routine activity like going to a bookshop or observing commuters each morning while buying coffee. I also greatly admire the works of artists such as René Gruaú, David Downton and Antonio Lopez.
One of the coolest events that you’ve ever covered?
I was commissioned by Louis Vuitton to live sketch at their store based in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai for their Mother’s Day activation. I spent the weekend in their store where I got to live draw clients who came in to shop between 12 and 8pm. It was such a fun event and I got to meet so many lovely customers. The LV events team were fantastic to work with and I’m really looking forward to going back for their upcoming events.
One-piece that is extremely special to you and why?
My favourite piece is the fashion illustration that was featured in Dutch CosmoGirl magazine in July 2017. It was my first fashion magazine feature and was a life-changing experience.
How long does it take you to complete one sketch?
It really depends on the type of project. Time taken could vary from a few hours to a week. If I'm drawing live portraits of guests at an event, I have to sketch spontaneously and I take up to 10-12 minutes per portrait.
Something you keep in mind while making a sketch at a large scale event?
No matter how crowded or grand an event is, I always remind myself to stay calm and enjoy the experience. It’s natural to feel nervous when drawing live in front of a large audience specially when people start to crowd around your work station to take photos or watch you in an action. I find practising for a few hours every day before an upcoming event helps me to feel relaxed and confident. I also think it’s important to be well-rested and hydrated because live sketching continuously for hours during an event requires lots of energy and focus.
How does it feel to makes sketches for celebrities and what is the best compliment you’ve received?
I love sketching red carpet looks! I was very excited when Hollywood actor, Ava Cantrell posted my illustration on her Instagram account. It’s a sketch of her in a gorgeous Christian Siriano jumpsuit.
A piece of advice for all budding fashion illustrators?
First, practice drawing every day! And second, stay curious and never give up! If you are persistent and passionate about your dream, the sky is the limit! I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way but there were several hurdles along the way and staying focused and motivated is what helped me to come this far!
She channelized her creative side in a unique way and they say, when you're passionate about something, it doesn't seem like work. So for all you aspiring illustrators out there its time to make a start and work towards your passion.