Aberystwyth student chosen to illustrate new childrens’ book

AN ABERYSTWYTH student has been chosen to have her illustrations published in a new children’s book.

19-year-old Natasha Morris, a first year Fine Art student, was picked by the book’s author Nicola Mortimer, to illustrate the book, after replying to an email sent to all Fine Art students at the university.

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“I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator, and this was my chance to actually be one.” said Natasha. Coming from an artistic family, she explained her early exposure to art, especially through her grandmother:

“I loved the way she just drew things onto paper and made them look so beautiful. I doubt I would have been anywhere near as interested in art if my Grandma hadn’t had been so artistic.”

However, she still seemed surprised at being chosen. Natasha said: “At first I thought that I probably wouldn’t be chosen and that someone else would be better suited for the book, but the author loved my take on the main character, Harry.”

Alongside her family, Natasha also received encouragement from her secondary school art teacher Mr Manning, who she credits for her inspiration. Describing his ‘contagious’ enthusiasm and passion, she said: “My love for art continued when I went to secondary school. There my inspiration came from my Art teacher, Mr Manning, who taught me through my GCSE years. He was always full of ideas and positivity when it came to art.”

Natasha has also found inspiration for her work in artists such as Alan Lee, the man behind most of the artwork in the Lord Of The Rings books, as well as a concept artist on the movies, and Tracy Yardley’s Sonic The Hedgehog illustrations.

Harry & his crazy adventures

The book, called Adventures To Have Before You’re 4 Years, 1 Day, 2 Hours and 25 Seconds Old tells the story of Harry who writes a list of crazy adventures which he wants to go on, these include brushing a dinosaur’s teeth, baking a cake with a pirate and teaching lions to juggle elephants.

When it came to drawing the illustrations for Adventures To Have…, Nicola Mortimer told Natasha she wanted the look of the book to be in a similar style to that of Quentin Blake, but then it was up to her to make the characters come to life.

“Blake’s style is iconic, so when I was asked to draw Harry in a similar way, I was slightly nervous,” Natasha said, “I finally decided to mix my cartoon style with Blake’s, and came up with something which Nicola loved.”