Natalia Rojas is a self-taught artist and illustrator from Colombia living in Tampa, Florida. She specializes in highly detailed and realistic graphite and coloured pencil drawings and loves to create portraits of people, pets and wildlife, as well as meaningful pieces that could be anything from a portrait of a loved one to a special item or a still life. She has worked on the board game Wingspan by Stonemaier Games, as well as all its expansions.
"My name is Natalia Rojas. I have been a board game artist since 2017, but it's hard to think about myself as a board game artist since I've only worked on one game. I prefer to think I am in the process of becoming a board game artist.
"I became a board game artist because a once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself when I met the co-founder of Stonemaier Games right when they were looking for a new artist.
"The art style I am best known for is realism and scientific illustration.
"The first board game I was an artist for was Wingspan. I am very proud of all the work I've done for Wingspan and every expansion has taught me something. From the base game, I learned a lot about research and scientific illustration. With the European expansion I tried to find a good balance between size and detail, but the most challenging one has been the Oceania expansion due to the very intricate birds in Australia and New Zealand.
"I like creating artwork that has a meaning behind it, that tells a story of something special. I work from photo references so I am attracted to just simple beautiful images.
"I get my inspiration from nature of course, but also from meaningful moments or objects. I like to draw simple things that will tell a story or bring back a memory.
"I think one of the most important parts of making artwork for a board game is precision, because you have to make sure the art aligns with the theme of the board game.
"I think the most challenging part of making artwork for a board game is timing, because there can be tight deadlines to meet. An illustration is not a speedy process. It can take me from 8 to 36 hours to draw the art for just one card.
"The longest I worked on art for a board game was for the Oceania expansion. It took me around 10 months to complete my part, because I decided to work on a larger scale to include more detail.
"In my view, more board game artwork should continue to embrace different art styles but also be more inclusive to women and people of colour in the industry.
"The artists whose style I admire the most are Ana Maria Martinez and Beth Sobel, but I like many other artists that don't work on board games art, like Jono Dry and Ileana Hunter.
"My favourite colours are red, white and black.
"What very few people know about me is that I often, if not always, imagine my memories and thoughts in some form of childish cartoons.
"If you wanted to become a board game artist yourself, I would tell you to reach out to board game creators and work on your portfolio.
"If you want to get in touch, you can reach me at my website nataliarojasart.com and also my social media as NataliaRojasArt as well."