Natalya Balnova

She / Her

New York, NY

Natalya Balnova is a New York-based illustrator, designer and printmaker who is a big fan of lettering, silkscreen and poetry. Her clients include: Apple / The New York Times / The Washington Post / Time / The Wall Street Journal / Victoria and Albert Museum / Dogfish Head / The Boston Globe / Penguin Random House / Harper Collins / Farrar, Straus and Giroux / De la Martinière Jeunesse.

“I just draw the way I feel.”

Any person who really helped you in your awesome artistic journey?

My mother, who was a designer herself. She introduced me to drawing, painting and art history. From my early childhood we always played with different materials: sculpting figures in clay, making masks with paper-mâché, doing collages and crafts. She was a very positive person with a strong willpower, and constantly wanted to learn new things. That was very inspiring.

When you get a new project from Blue Q, how do you begin? What’s the starting point?

I start brainstorming, make a lot of drawings, and eventually something interesting comes up from this flood of sketches and notes.

What’s your biggest art inspiration? This may not be visual. Like, anything!

From multiple resources. From life observation and online resources to my own wild imagination. A lot of characters come from self-reflections, I am projecting my feelings and emotions to the form of characters and words. I like primitive art, folk art of different origins. I am interested in poetry and surreal visual narration and appreciate dark humor. So I am mixing all these different aspects in my work.

Where do your best ideas come from? (dreams, shower, museum, train?)

Most of the ideas come while I am drawing. Art for me is a form of visual diary and at the same time a sheltering niche in which I can find a piece with myself.

What do you do when you need a break?

Calling friends, watching videos, going to coffee shops, taking a walk along the river or park, biking, going to museums, theaters, bookstores or aimlessly walking around the city and observing the street life, window displays, architecture, human characters.