Natasha Alterici is an artist based in Oklahoma. She recently was commissioned to do several book covers for Charon Coin Press, including all of the State of Horror anthologies. She is multi-talented and has a great style. Alterici’s art makes a person sit up and take notice and whether a book cover or painting, her art is nothing short of wonderful. We recently had the chance to catch up with her and learn a little more about the artist behind the covers.
Charon Coin Press: As we get to know you a little better, what drew you to art as a career?
Natasha Alterici: Well, I’ve been drawing for a long as I can remember. I’ve sort of always knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. When I went to college it became pretty clear to me that art was the only thing I wanted to do. It makes me happy, it challenges me, and I think it enriches other people’s lives. I just love it!
CCP: You have had formal training in art, where did you get your degree?
NA: I have a B.A. from Northeastern Oklahoma State University
CCP: Was there a particular type of art you studied or are drawn to? (No pun intended)
NA: Haha, well that was the tough part. There’s a surprisingly wide field of art careers to choose from. But I have two professors to thank for helping me narrow down my focus to Illustration. First was Tony O’seland, who had me read my first graphic novel Manus in his Comp I class. Second, was my adviser Lance Hunter who showed me a Spectrum Fantastic Art book, an annual publication that shows off all the best in contemporary illustration work. The idea of combining literature and art, great stories with great pictures, is what I love about illustration and why I primarily work in that field now.
CCP: It is always such a good thing when you find something that clicks for you. You do book covers and graphic novels, what are some of your other works?
NA: In addition to the cover art and comic book work, I’ve also dabbled in concept art for film and video games. This is a whole other set of challenges, but everything you do in concept art feels new and exciting. I also like to flex my muscles in traditional fine art painting and drawing. I’d even like to do a gallery show this next year.
CCP: You have such a great style. What inspires your artwork?
NA: Oh that’s a tough question. I don’t think I’ve ever really understood what inspiration is, haha. But I suppose it’s the same kind of thing that gets other people excited, a great song, or that movie that makes you cry, or a book that changes your whole outlook on life. Sometimes if I’m not coming up with ideas I’ll browse, or watch a nature documentary, learning something new about animals or outer space or something science, like that usually gives me that sense of wonder. I am a bit of a nerd, and admitted knowledge junkie.
CCP: Do you ever find it difficult to match the customer’s vision when you are doing commissioned pieces like book covers?
NA: I’ve heard that disagreements with clients can sometimes be job-ruining, but thankfully I haven’t had much trouble with that. I try my best to envision what the client is asking for, asking for more details or reference photos if necessary. And make suggestions for alternative designs if what was originally discussed isn’t working out. Commission work can be trying, but patience and clear communication make it much more enjoyable for everyone.
CCP: Do you have a favorite median—where if you could just do what you wanted all the time, this is what you would do?
NA: It’s my dream to just draw all day long and get paid for it. And for the most part that’s what I’m doing now. But I’d like to be able to work on more solo projects, I’ve got graphic novels I’d like to write and illustrate myself, as well as do some big gallery shows or oil paintings and charcoal drawings. I think ideally I’d like to devote about 30% of my work time to commissions and the rest to my personal projects. Right now the ratio is flipped which is okay. I’ve got to pay my dues.
CCP: What artists do you feel have influenced you the most?
NA: So many…Short list would include Ashley Wood, Jon Foster, William Bouguereau, Rick Berry, Frank Franzetta, and Phil Hale. And the sculptor Bernini.
CCP: If you could meet any artist, from any time period, from anywhere in the world, who would you choose?
NA: Hands down it would be Rick Berry. I’ve watched all his painting demos. I would have so many questions for him. Also I’ve heard he is a very nice fellow.
CCP: You are doing all the SOH book covers. Is there a state you are really looking forward to doing?
NA: Hmmm, I think I am most excited for California, just because its dimensions are going to afford me a lot of space to draw inside.
CCP: Favorite snack while you work?
NA: Snacks…oh I’m always eating something. I’ve got a terrible sweet tooth. But I like to reward myself with ice cream when I’ve finished a big project. Or rum.
CCP: What do you do to relax or for leisure time?
NA: Usually in my free time I’m just hanging with my roomies, playing video games. I like to go hiking when the weather permits.
CCP: What should people know about you?
NA: Fun fact—I am pretty much incapable of saying no to dinosaurs. So if anyone absolutely wants to entice me to work on their project, dinosaur is the password. Other than that, they can follow my work on my Facebook page, twitter, my website, and my blog. Always working on something new and exciting.
LEARN MORE: Natasha Alterici is an artist and illustrator living in quaint little Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2009 from Northeastern Oklahoma State University and has since pursued a variety of artistic endeavors. She currently works full time illustrating book covers, and collaborating on comic books. Her latest works included the covers for the “State of Horror” anthology series from Charon Coin Press, and a new comic book series called “Illustrated Girl”. When not working she likes watching old dinosaur movies, going hiking, or playing video games with her friends.