Artist's Story

"At the bottom of my garden in the Cornish countryside, gently nestled into the wild hedgerow of alder, blackthorn, brambles, and birdsong lies my small artist studio called Thickets. I look up from my drawing board and over to the neighbouring meadow where wild rabbits run through the long, wind-teased grass, a silent buzzard circles overhead, and the occasional glimpse of a fleeting deer or fox at dusk never fails to fill my heart with wonder. I have an affinity for the relationships between flora and fauna, and our beautiful changing seasons."

Natalie Toms - Wildlife Artist painting in her art studio

My name is Natalie, I'm a Cornish wildlife artist living and working in the village of Lanlivery in rural Cornwall. Inspired by the countryside, moorland and coast, I have been influenced by the natural world for as long as I can remember. I spent the summers of my childhood marvelling at the worlds within the countryside that surrounded my grandparents' house; the same woods, fields, hedgerows and little rivers also inspire me today. I used to set off down the garden with my sketchbook and pencils to reach unobtainable tree boughs and tangled thickets where I would hide and wait patiently for wildlife to emerge. I would observe all manner of creatures and their behaviours for hours on end. I took to drawing from a very young age, asking my parents for a 'piece-y paper, piece-y pen' on a regular basis. My childhood portfolio began with cartoon characters, followed by mythical creatures, and settling at last on the varied, remarkable occupants of the wild local landscape, revealed before my very eyes. I was a capable and hardworking student in school, but introverted and lacking in confidence to put myself forward in front of my peers. My enjoyment and developing skillset as a young artist nurtured a quiet confidence in me to pursue my dream. Combining my passion for art and my love of the natural world excelled me to take gradual steps towards the career I cherish today.

Natalie Toms drawing when she was a child


Alongside my creative drive, I also have several medical conditions that keep pace with me. I was born with an autoimmune condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which affected my liver as an adolescent, and a heart murmur which was also picked up at age 7. Following emergency abdominal surgery, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in my late 20s and managing this condition encouraged me to take a step into uncharted territory and become self-employed full-time. Not long after losing my mum in 2019, I was diagnosed with heart failure the following year and I had a TIA (mini-stroke) in 2022. These events have only hardened my resolve to combine my passion for drawing and painting, and my love for nature and conservation, turning them into my life's work. From my garden studio I look out onto the very same landscape that filled my heart with so much joy as a child and kindled my love for wildlife. It's not always easy or straightforward but turning my passion into my profession and working for myself has allowed me the flexibility I need to make the most of the good days, and is helping to take back a measure of control over the bad ones. I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without the support and encouragement from my loved ones, for that I am tremendously grateful.
I have been developing my creative process and techniques over many years. I surround myself with the references I need in the form of nature books, online images, and my photographs where possible. On cold press watercolour paper, I sketch a detailed composition in pencil before I slowly begin to add layers of drawing with ink and painting with watercolour. It's a delicate and meticulous process.

I sell my work as fine art prints and cards both online and in local shops and galleries in Cornwall and a few further afield. I use only recyclable and biodegradable materials for posting, even down to my packing tape. All of my cards are sent in glassine paper sleeves with are 100% recyclable and plastic-free. My Giclee prints are sent gallery wrapped in plastic to preserve the longevity and archival quality. I've also recently started producing solid oak picture frames for my Giclee prints, with hopes to expand my range online and in various stockists, not just at events.
I am also a proud business supporter of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, helping to protect Cornwall's wildlife and wild places. I also rehome hedgehogs from the wonderful Prickles and Paws Hedgehog Rescue in Cubert.
Natalie Toms - Wildlife Artist standing outside her art studio in Lanlivery, Cornwall.