Natalie Rompotis is a talented fashion illustrator originally from Melbourne and currently based in Sydney, Australia.
Her love of illustrating began from childhood and despite practising as a commercial lawyer for a number of years, she made a return to her original passion, which has taken off in a wonderful way.
Inspired by the magical world of design and classic cinema, not to mention a strong dose of French culture; Natalie's fine drawings have featured on the official website of Beyoncé and also shared by Maison Valentino and Reese Witherspoon, among other famous identities and fashion houses.
In 2015 Natalie was named Official Illustrator for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and has also been listed as one of the top Fashion Illustrators to follow by Harper's BAZAAR and Huffington Post in Australia.
We spoke to the ever-so-talented Natalie about her beautiful work, why she made the switch from law and what inspires her most.
Have you always had a love of illustration?
Yes, I’ve always loved drawing and I know it came from my Mum who is a very talented artist. For her it was mostly a hobby but I do remember she had a lot of patience and sat there for hours, guiding me through my drawings.
When did you decide this could be a career for you?
I never actually took it seriously until I had my kids- it was always something I did on the side to relax me. I was more studious as a child and ended up getting into Arts Law at Monash University in Melbourne. I graduated in 2005 and worked as a lawyer for seven years, commercial litigation was my main area. It wasn't an easy job and I was always going in and out of court dealing with corporates. Often during my down time I would sketch barristers to the point where people thought I was the court artist.
When did the switch from corporate to creative take place?
I had my son in 2012 and took a break from law with the thought I would go back to it after having my children. However, having my kids brought a new perspective to life and I picked up drawing again as a means of doing something in between their nap time. My good friend saw them and said to me “Why don’t you put your work up on Instagram?” I was a bit hesitant but luckily she did encourage me. That is what has allowed me to get to where I am today.
Was there a lucky break?
We moved to Sydney and the same friend surprised me one weekend and said “Make sure you have someone to look after the kids tonight, we are going to the Fashion Festival." She told me to bring along my sketch book, as she knew I loved live illustrations and we wanted to make a night of it.
During the evening she took a photo of me drawing one of the outfits that was on the runway and I posted it on social media, plus hashtagged it. A few days later I received an email from IMG Fashion, who run these events telling me I won the most creative photo and I had no idea there was even a competition running. A few months later, the same girl emailed and asked if I would like to be the official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Illustrator. Of course I said yes, and from there it all started.
Is there any style you would like to focus on?
I’ve always loved expressing a story through my illustrations and there is obviously a strong feminine element to my drawings- I also have an affinity with French culture. I do quite a lot of bridal, which came through word of mouth and have couples who request illustrations for pre and post wedding; such as thank you cards and one- year anniversary gifts, as it’s the paper anniversary.
What inspires you most?
I love vintage vogue editorials- those covers for me are magical and my favourite would be the 50’s and 60’s. I think there is a grace and elegance to this era that I absolutely adore. I always try and draw with elegance in mind and with a sense of mystery. I adore old Hollywood movies, the ‘Golden Era’ of cinema and even old Greek films. I grew up watching Vouliouklaki and Tzeni Karezi- there was such a beautiful aura about these women, which is timeless.
Are you nervous during live illustrations?
I was at the start but it comes down to muscle memory and you are always your own worst critic. When you are restricted with time and confronted with a short deadline you have to develop a skill where you know what you need to draw first and prioritise.
Can you tell us how one of your illustrations appeared on Beyonce’s website?
That was early on when I drew a picture of Beyonce’s sister Solange, who was in a gorgeous Kenzo wedding gown and cape- it was extremely striking and unknown to me, it ended up on Beyonce’s official website. I had people messaging me saying "You know your drawing has landed on Beyonce’s site." That was also a turning point, where I thought maybe I should keep going with this.
What would be your dream project?
I would love to go to Paris Fashion Week for live illustrations- that would be my ultimate dream. I also like the idea of opening up a studio when the kids are a bit older and I’m able to do so. I just want to continue doing what I love and having happy clients who are pleased with my creations.
FAST 5 with Natalie Rompotis
Fave destination: Paris
Fave restaurant: Touristiko in Xylokastro, Greece
Fave illustrator: René Gruau
Fave designer: Valentino
Fave drink: Singapore Sling at Hotel Costes[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]