2022 Grad Show

Natalia Ionescu

AUArts Grad Show Screen Shot 2022-04-15 at 4.24.08 PM

VCD – Character Design & Illustration


Natalia Ionescu is an illustrator and designer based in Calgary, AB. With a focus on communication design and visual development, Natalia’s illustrations explore a variety of stories, characters, and environments through a distinctly cute and playful visual approach. Working primarily in digital formats, she enjoys the versatility and endless possibilities that digital softwares provide. Natalia is motivated by the power of visual storytelling, and inspired by expressive figures, whimsical settings, and organic elements. She has fallen in love with the process of visual development — from initial in-depth research, all the way to final adjustments and refinement — and is eager to share her characters and stories with the world.

Natalia has worked on a variety of projects, ranging from art criticism writing for the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, to most notably her 250ft long transit safety mural in collaboration with AUArts and Calgary Transit. Post-graduation, Natalia would like to apply her skills towards visual development for entertainment and interactive media. Photographer credit: Elisha Lozares

Life on the Danube Delta

Home to thousands of different plant and animal species, the Danube Delta is renowned worldwide as a major achievement in wildlife preservation efforts. As a first-generation Romanian immigrant, Natalia used this project to reconnect with her home country in the context of exploring Romania's natural wonders. Rooted in a storytelling approach and captured through a warm idyllic mood, she sought to represent the richness of this environment and its wildlife in this piece by making sure there is something to discover and enjoy across the entire composition.

Lucine, Video Game Demo

School assignment turned passion project, Lucine is an 2D platformer RPG game demo written, designed, illustrated, and animated by Natalia and programmed by her partner in Unity.

Small Medicine, Cinematic Keyframes

Small Medicine is a speculative fiction short story written by Genevieve Valentine. It follows the life of a young girl, Sofia, and her unique relationship with her "grandmother", who has been cloned and synthetically reproduced into a robot following her death.

This visual development project reinterprets Valentine's story through a child friendly approach. Exploring heavy and complex topics in children's media is not uncommon these days, so I wanted to challenge myself to do the same.

Amelie Book Cover Concept

This project involved reimagining a book cover concept for a modern audience. I chose to illustrate a film instead of a classic book, with the goal of capturing the themes and emotions of the movie in a new way. Amelie (2001) is a movie known for its imaginative, playful, and whimsical storytelling style. I chose this movie partly because my work shares similar themes.