Celestial Portraits by Illustrator Natalie Foss


Natalie Foss is a freelance illustrator based in Oslo. Her images first caught her eye over on Instagram where she regularly posts works in progress that provide generous insights into her simple yet highly effective processes. Using mostly coloured pencils, Natalie creates totally unique portraits in vivid bubblegum hues that depict characters who seem to exist in a state between dreams and reality.

The use of colour really defines these illustrations, lending them a magical, multi-dimensional edge, however the realism is just as important. Natalie’s talent for conveying emotion by creating layered human faces that viewers seem to find impossibly beguiling is the dual crux of her work.

Having developed and continued to perfect her skills using varied media at Olso’s Strykejernet School of Art, Natalie also studied on slightly closer shores, gaining her BA in illustration from Kingston University in London. Cities and people-watching seem to inspire and influence her work as, rather than creating self portraits, her illustrations feature subjects that seem unaware of her of the viewer’s presence, creating a sense of artistic voyuerism and lending her characters the vulnerability that naturally accompanies everyday emotional responses.

Using a blend of gentle shading, hard lines and block colours, Natalie has created an instantly recognisable bank of work that is both deeply communicative and a pleasure to look at. Occasionally layering playful repeating patterns behind her subjects, filling their hair with cat’s eyes and dressing them in bright patterned shirts, her pieces allude to the various strangers, subcultures, cosmic beings and songs that inspire her on a day-to-day basis.

Having just exhibited as part of a Nordic Fashion Illustration exhibition and her own ‘Alienation’ show at Gallerikunstgress in Oslo, it seems hat her exquisitely layered pencil illustrations aren’t just popular with the likes of us. It certainly suddenly doesn’t take a genius to see why.


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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth