For this Pink October Kickstory and Altai teamed up to help raise awareness about the importance of early prevention and diagnostic of breast cancer.
We invited two amazing illustrators for a chat, to talk about their work, their influences, and why women are always the main theme of their art.
So #wearpink with us and understand a bit more about the matter.
For the second Pink October interview, we talked to Nanaths, ilustrator from Minas, who lives in São Paulo. With her own published book and drawing that inspire girls of all ages, Nath depicts the female figure in her art in the most natural way, reflecting on self-acceptance and self-knowledge, but keeping it very light and in good humor. She told us about her trajectory, inspirations, her long history with Converse, and the importance of Pink October in her life.
“My name is Nath Araújo, I’m 29 years old and I was born in the countryside of Minas Gerais in a little town close to Varginha called Paraguaçu… maybe that’s the reason I draw so many aliens (laughs). During my adolescence, I lived in Jundiaí and for the last 10 years, I’ve lived in São Paulo. I came here to study advertising and ended up staying for good. I even worked a little bit with advertising but always doing drawing on the side. I’ve always been into the internet and social media – before Instagram I had Fotolog, a Blog, Tumblr, making my own content pretty much the same way I do now, post drawing, pictures, and texts.
But it was Instagram that made the whole thing professional, while I was still working with advertising, I would post only a few drawings here and there but then people that I had never seen in my life started following me and asking me things. I got really excited with all that till it got to a point where I was working two jobs. Today I’m exclusively an illustrator and I have the privilege to hand pick the work I want to do since so many people want to work with me because of my style of drawing.”
What does Illustration mean to you?
nathIt’s a part of me. Like most kids, I learned to draw before I learned how to write, but the difference was that when people grow up they stop drawing… but maybe I liked it more than the others because I would keep drawing for a long time. At that time it was just for fun, when I was a teenager it was a way to express myself and today it’s my job. These days not only do I express myself but I express so many other people that follow me and what I do. There are certain situations that I didn’t have to go through, but I draw about them because someone asked me to or because of a comment.
Do you remember when you made the decision of making illustration your profession?
nathWow! It was intense (laughs). When I was a kid I lived in a small town, it didn’t have internet like it does today and so I had no reference of people that worked in the business – There was Mauricio de Sousa and Walt Disney, but it was all too far from my reality. It may sound silly but they were men so it was hard for me to identify myself with them. Even in my family nobody ever told me to become an illustrator, it was always ” you should study fashion or advertisement”, but I’m pretty sure that illustrator never even crossed their minds. As time went by, and I grew up, I started to notice that there were people making a living out of this. Besides, I always liked to write and I really wanted to work not only with illustration but with writing as well.
Instagram and other social media really helped me, I started getting more and more clients, usually from actual people that would ask me “could you draw me? Could you draw my grandma? Could you draw my mom?” until it reached a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore, and I started to charge more because I wasn’t getting everything done. I posted a series called “who are you on Instagram?” and the first thing I did was the “Instagram Hipster” which was an illustration with the characteristics written on the side, like “only posts pictures of the sky” or “subtitle that nobody understands” and people loved it and really related to it. It was supposed to be only that one piece, but after that, I did a bunch of them and this project really helped me.
I started to show up on magazines and other places that really gave a lot of visibility, I started getting large budget jobs from big brands while I was still working for the other company and I wasn’t sure how much to charge for a job. But I had this friend that worked with me and she was the one in charge of hiring influencers for projects and I asked her how much should I charge for the job, and she told me to ask for an amount that was such an absurd to me at the time that I thought that I wasn’t even going to be able to say it to the client. So she offered to go into a meeting room with me, call my client and pretend she was my consultant (laughs). Since already knew how to negotiate and had way more experience in this area than me, she talked to the client, settle on some dates, and was an all around great agent, while I was just sitting next to her, pale, not believing anything that had just happened. But in the end the client agreed and that was when it hit me that I could make a living out of that, that I could make actual money to sustain myself. The same thing happened with a couple of other brands, and my friend kept helping me, my friend who later on left the company and is my consultant till today.
I didn’t stop working for another 3 months, with my day to day job and whatever illustration was going. Until I got this job from Nike, that with the routine I had, could only be finished if I never slept again – so I need to leave the company to finish the job in time, and it was a risk that I took especially because it wasn’t this huge job that would pay my bills for an entire year. And besides, I was scared to tell my parents that I had quit, to live out of art, I thought they were going to kill me (laughs), so I quit and only told them after, but in the end, they didn’t really care (laughs).
When I finished this job things just began moving forward, and I created more internet content, so I could put myself out there and here we are today, it’s been almost 2 years.
You have a style of your own. When and how did you find your style?
nathI always say my style has been the same since I was a kid the difference is that back then I didn’t color my drawings, this was something I started doing when I got older. One thing that got in the way and also kinda helped at the same time was that I didn’t have any sort of degree in drawing so everything I did, I learned by myself, there was no one to tell if it was right or wrong, I just went with it until I came up with my own thing.
You just released your book "Yes I think you are kinda crazy". Tell us more about the idea and the process behind your book.
nathAs I mentioned before, I liked to draw and to write ever since I was a kid, and since then I would make little stories, with a narrator, with little texts, I didn’t even know what I was doing at that time (laughs). At that time I loved to read Ziraldo’s books, and one day I asked my teacher who drew all the illustrations on his books, and she answered me like it was the most obvious thing in the world that he did the drawings himself – I was amazed that he drew and wrote his own books!
Since that time I’ve wanted to publish something, and about 10 years ago I started writing a book online and publishing it by chapters. As time went by I focused more on my drawings and once I noticed that I tried to publish these old stories so I would leave aside this part of me that likes to write, but no one wanted to buy it because the story was really heavy and it had nothing to do with the person I am today.
Even though this project didn’t go down, in the end, I found something that I wanted to do, as I said before, I wanted to do what I was already doing on Instagram with my drawings and my subtitles. The title is “Yes, I think you’re kinda crazy” and the message behind this is for you to always be true to what you want, what you like and to yourself. Since like for example, when I said I was going to make a living drawing everyone thought that I was crazy, when I was a kid I would create these weird crazy stories and people would think that I was crazy (laughs), but in the end I realized that everytime people would think that, it was better for me.
The book is interactive, so you can talk about all those crazy things, so you can look inside and realize that in the end, there are things that are only yours and that they can become something else, may work, maybe some project, something that you might think is silly but it’s something that’s uniquely yours.
Why have women always been such a big theme in your work?
nathI’ve been doing therapy now for 2 years and I still haven’t figured out (laughs). Like, nowadays things are a bit more equal, but when I was younger, woman had the coolest clothes, coolest hair, makeup and today we have Pabllo. So I think I got used to drawing women and now that’s how it is.
What are your inspirations? For illustration as well as in style and in life in general?
nathAll my inspirations come from the internet but when it comes to illustration I avoid looking at other drawings because if you look at it most illustrators have very similar themes because if you look at it they’re all looking at the same things and in the end, it all looks a bit alike. So I try to always take from things that are very personal, like aliens as I mention before, or my cat – Samuel. My references are always up to date with colors, prints, and everything but always with things that are mine, things that are really me.
Now talking about sneakers, what's your relationship with sneakers in general?
nathSee, I’m a person that doesn’t wear heels so I basically wear sneakers. But I’m not really into collecting, but what I do have are sneakers that have been with me for a long time, like an All-Star that I’ve had since I was 16 and that I’ll keep for eternity.
The brand that I most have is Converse, I have a white one, a black one, a red one that I bought because of Stuart little, the Miley Cyrus one with the glitter outsoles and another all pink one. Since it’s a brand that I’ve been wearing since I was a kid it has been a big part of my life, my family wears it, I even gave my dad one for his 50th birthday. You can wear All-Stars if you’re old, if you’re young, it’s a total classic.
This interview is part of a collaboration between Kickstory and Altai, in partnership with Converse for Pink October, to bring awareness to the cause. What made you want to participate in this campaign with us?
nathI have taken the position to not be really activist on social media because I’m a little scared of it. Even though I draw a lot of women I don’t really position myself as “feminist”, even so, because there are a lot of people doing this that really know about this subject. But when there is a cause that really touches me I have to talk about it. Pink October connects strongly with me because I had a friend in college that was really young and had cancer. Today she has overcome that, but it was something that hit really close to us. And she even found out early because she always took care of herself and always went to the doctor and despite it happening when she was really young and so aggressively, she healed herself.
Besides this story, my grandmother died of breast cancer, so it’s something I worry about since I was very young, to me it’s always been so normal. I’ve heard friends saying that they’ve never done the self-exam because they’re embarrassed – turning something that everyone should be talking about into a tabu. This campaign for what this month stands for, it’s an information that could save lives.