Artist Spotlight: Natalie Zigal

Natalie’s Website  |  Natalie on Society6

medusa_finalCould you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)?
I always loved to draw.  I didn’t always see it as a potential career.  I just liked it and  I wanted to get better at it.  I applied to  the San Jose State animation illustration program because I loved the curriculum and was drawn to the energy that came from the students and the faculty.  I never really knew where I fit as a professional artist though.  So when I graduated I cast a wide net.  I did everything from designing bathroom fixtures to designing shoes before I landed in the toy industry.  Oddly enough it was at the shoe gig where I painted my first pin-up girls.

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills. 
Many of my professional endeavors have  been in fashion and product design.  I think these different disciplines have taught me that there is beauty and character in the details.  I always spend extra time to think through the nuances.  It has also helped me understand and refine my forms.

PrintHas working professionally around so many other artists influenced your art and comic style?  If so, in what way?  
There’s nothing more important to me than being surrounded by passionate people in a work environment.  Working with amazing people, from so many different disciplines, makes me think differently about how I compose, color, and present my work.

Has it been difficult balancing a full-time art job with your personal artistic commitments?  
I think the balance is imperative in my life.  When I create for myself, I bring more to my career.  If I don’t have my own stuff to work on, I begin to feel dissatisfied in work and life.

You’re a new mom, how has the experience been for you so far? 
Being a mom is VERY new to me – only two weeks in.  It’s a trip! It’s crazy how this new person just appears and suddenly becomes everything.  I know my life will never be quite the same and I often wonder if and how my personal art will evolve to accommodate the little free time I will have. It might take a while to find that balance. I truly hope it’s something I can share with her someday.

What other women do you find artistic inspiration from?
I have always loved Holly Hobby.  Her water colors are so expressive.  Of course Mary Blair.  I also draw a lot of inspiration from girls in the group.  In my time with Girls Drawin’ Girls, I have met and been exposed to so many talented ladies.

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?  
While I have worked in both, I will always love traditional media.  It’s scary, challenging and so rewarding!  I love mixing colors and solving problems in the raw.  It also gives me total control of the final output.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything…) that you have a passion for?
Painting, life drawing and iPhone photography – mainly of my dog, and probably now my child.

Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at clay sculpting, sewing and glass blowing.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?  
1. Your path isn’t always a direct trajectory to your dream job. When starting out focus on just finding work, because your work ethic is your strongest attribute.  You can always keep looking for your dream job.
2. Never work for free.
3. Enjoy your journey

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