Illustrator: Nathaniel Eckstrom

Published:  September 21, 2011
Illustrator: Nathaniel Eckstrom

You’ll know Nathaniel Eckstrom’s illustrations when you see them – often dreamy characters set to a backdrop of soft greens, browns and yellows. He has exhibited internationally since 2006, has featured in a handful of publications including desktop (he designed one of the four covers for our June 2010 issue), Australian Art Review 2010, Boxed and Labelled, Semi-Permanent 2008, 2009 and 2010 books and can now add lecturing to his field of expertise.

We caught up with him to find out what the life of an illustrator entails and what projects he’s been working on lately.

Alive and Loud, Safety Solutions Magazine

Asia, 11Eleven Exhibition

Hi Nathaniel! How did you decide that illustration is for you?
I really got into art during college and loved looking through all the illustration annuals and art books. I’m not sure exactly when I decided but it’s always been a part of me to create things. When I was younger I used to admire other people’s work. But I needed to make my own. It wasn’t enough for me to sit back, watch and be content with what other people were doing.

You’ve been involved in a few charity exhibitions recently (Get Trucked; Illustrators Australia – Japan charity auction) and contributed to Fingerprint No. 2: The Evolution of Handmade Elements in Graphic Design, what other projects have you been working on?
I have a few ongoing personal projects that need finishing. A personal picture book which is slowly evolving. I’ve been busy lately with client-based work. I’ve recently finished illustrating a CD for the acappella group – ‘The Idea of North’ and I’ve just started lecturing at Raffles College. So, it’s been a learning curve lately trying to manage my time more than ever before.

Can you tell us about your studio space?
It’s an old warehouse in Surry Hills. Tall ceilings and open plan. The space I’m in used to be about five separate rooms. There are about eight artists in the space. Painters, illustrators, glass artists and video people. I have a couple of desks, chairs, a sofa bed. All the essentials. We have a common kitchen and dining space. It’s a great place to get things done. I was set up at home for a little while but it didn’t work for me.

Caged. Safety Solutions Magazine

Nightshade, personal

You’re involved in The Drawing Book Studio’s online gallery, Perspective. What was your initial reaction when approached to be involved?
Being relatively new to the Drawing Book, it was the first picture I created since joining. So my initial reaction was – I better make this the best thing I’ve done. I enjoy that kind of challenge and thought process that goes into the art. The fact that it’s something personal makes it all the more special. I’d followed The Drawing Book for years before I approached them and was invited to join. It’s quite an honour to be part of the team.

Do you feel that Perspective is a useful tool to give artists a voice about their artwork?
Absolutely, it’s also great because it allows everyone to concentrate on subjects that may not have been priority. Having these strong one word themes really makes you think. What does it really mean to me? Having so many different artists focus on the one theme is amazing.

How did you interpret the first theme in the series – Power?
I wanted to show how nature is an unbeatable force. The ocean and its inhabitants are superior. I wanted to convey the awesome unstable spectacle of nature and how insignificant we are when up against it.

Power, The Drawing Book Studios

Dental appointment cards,

How does it feel to receive a personal connection from someone about your art? Any interesting comments you can share with us?
It’s great if it touches someone in a personal way. I enjoy reading everyone’s interpretation of my work. It makes you think about what your work in a different way. I really didn’t expect to have so many connections with the first perspective piece.

What can we expect from you next?
A lot more drawing. I want to work on some different hand drawn techniques and experiment a little more. Less use of the computer if I can help it.

Thumbnail image: Joe the Alien Astronaut and Friends from Outer Space, Colouring Book, Lala Land.

2 Responses

  1. leah

    Great article! Nathaniel’s are some of my favorite illustrations and it’s exciting that other people will now be more aware of his work.

  2. Yi-Ling

    I bought “The Idea of North” CD and love the illustrations Nathaniel has done for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *