In our continuing series of interviews where we find out more about the creative inspirations, techniques and hidden talents of the people at LEAP, we present Natalie House. Natalie is a creative producer for our pre-visualisations department. She helps agencies and brands develop the concepts, characters and narratives of their ads through storyboarding and animatics.
How do you express your creativity?
I love exploring new ideas and ways to become inspired. Often, it’s little things which can spark something. I take a small drawing book around with me on the bus or tube to sketch people and things and write down anything interesting. But then I’ll want to come back to it and not be able to find the right notebook!
What are your creative tools?
When I’m drawing up shooting boards with a client, my creative tools are a good old layout pad and a gel pen or 2B pencil to get it all down quick.
When I’m doing my own stuff, I use different types of paper to create collages, compressed charcoal, and oil bars which are fantastically sticky. You can really layer the paint on thickly and then smudge it around, it behaves just like oil paint but it’s a bit less messy.
When I’m taking pictures, my eyes are sometimes more important than the type of camera I’m using; I try to really take it all in.
When does creative inspiration usually strike?
Inspiration usually strikes when I’m walking around town – discovering a previously unknown (to me) corner of London, a backstreet or beautiful little park hidden away behind a busy road. It sounds a bit morbid, but city graveyards are really interesting – reading the gravestones and wondering what life was like for those folks 200 years ago and imagining how different London would have been back then.
Do you do anything special to boost your creativity?
To boost my creativity, I go for a run, which focuses my mind and usually an idea will pop up while I’m jogging around the park. I also visit artists I know, have a coffee and chat about life and work, and that almost always boosts me to try something new.
Briefly describe your creative place.
I love sitting on a park bench with a pad and pencil, but who am I kidding, there’s hardly time for that!
I don’t have anywhere specific, but the best places for me to be creative are busy ones – spaces where you can bounce ideas off others, or people watch. The busier, the better. I really enjoy going into agencies and working with creatives to sketch out their ideas for storyboards or bigger animations. It doesn’t get much better than that for me.
Who’s your inspiration?
I love writers who richly describe and fiction that can take you away to another place. I really admire those who have total confidence in their creativity and who make their visions happen – film directors, artists, authors and broadcasters.
My family is a big source of inspiration. We have two small children who are so funny and unique. Their creative ideas are usually nuts, but we have a lot of fun making them happen. My husband is a very talented composer and creative person, and he keeps me sane!
London is a constant source of inspiration for its history and our huge cultural melting pot. It’s fantastic to meet people from all walks of life, listen to their stories and be inspired by them in all sorts of ways.
What’s your hidden talent?
I’ve written poems for friends and family to celebrate big events and occasions, and I’ve found that I’m not bad at rhyming couplets! I’ve also designed wedding stationery for lots of people. Being a bit stubborn about it, I have made everything by hand – invitations, order of service covers, place settings – so that everything ties together. My inspiration starts with the couple, and something they hold dear. The stationery for my in-laws who used to live in Hong Kong, are meant to represent fireworks! It’s a lot of work but a labour of love; my wedding present to them.
I also bake vegan cakes, mainly because my son has a severe dairy allergy and I couldn’t bear him missing out on cakes at parties! I’m always searching for baking inspiration and the best vegan chocolate.