Monday, October 10, 2016

Can I call you back? No1

Things have been so busy the last year that I completely neglected doing any personal or sketchbook work. Commercial work stretches my skills and problem solving capabilities -  my personal work keeps the flame for illustration burning. In my little universe, I need both to be my best. So for the last few weeks, I put a little time aside daily to work on a personal series  of illustrations called "I'll call you back." Here is the first result. You don't have to have eight children to feel like this.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Africa Evidence Network Conference

The Africa Evidence Network (AEN) conference was held from 20-22 September at the CSIR in Pretoria.  I was privileged to do the graphic facilitation at this fantastic event and to be submerged into a subculture that I did not know existed. The AEN is a collection of researchers (social political, scientific, environmental etc) and policy makers that aim to bridge the gap between research and policy decisions. Policy decisions in government is often not informed enough by research. Some of the reasons are that the policy makers are not aware of the research that is being done, the research is not in plain understandable language and other factors, such as politics, take priority in decision making. The AEN aims to connect these the different parties to create an environment where it is easier to make evidence informed policy decisions. Apart from the interesting people and content, it was also the best organised conference I have attended. Well done to the Conference Consultancy team!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Portrait of Matthys

Two years ago, I was commissioned to do conceptual portraits of a filmmaker friend of mine, Matthys Boshoff, and his associate.The plan was to use the illustrated portraits as their profile pictures on the website. In addition to interviewing them, they mailed me personality assessments of each other. Some of it was hilarious and some of it very real - one's oddities and weaknesses cannot be hidden from someone you work so closely with. I was given creative freedom to blend their interests, personalities, passions and eccentricities into conceptual portraits that would characterize them. It was a delightful project and I was very happy with the result.

And now, Matthys has won an award for a short film he directed! Below is the portrait, an interview
with him and a link to a trailer of his short film, "Vlees van my vlees." Well done Matthys!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

September illustration for GO magazine

Here is the September editorial illustration for GO magazine.

"With two small children who only nap in the car, Jon Minster has done a lot of random driving over the past few years. But it has also given him the opportunity to explore…"

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Disabilities: Myths and facts

 A cement company recently launched an internal awareness campaign to educate it's employees about  the realities of the lives of people living  with disabilities. I was commissioned to illustrate a poster highlighting some of the myths and facts surrounding people living with disabilities.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Character development

I'm busy developing a character  that will to be used in an animation on Tuberculosis prevention and management. Below are some of my exploratory sketches. The character has to be a middle aged miner and a TB survivor. After my first attempt the client decided they need a more jolly, healthy looking person. The last bearded character turned out be the client's favourite.

Monday, July 25, 2016

August illustration for GO! magazine

Here is the August's illustration for GO Magazine. What an interesting article on invasive species in Australia - and how it creates work for foreigners.
"While working in the Australian Outback, Ian McNaught Davis meets fellow immigrants – namely, the amphibians and weeds."

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy Mandela Day!

I was very privileged to be part of a colouring in book project for Mandela day. Remata print and communication initiated the project and approached me to develop the content. Nelson Mandela's story has been retold in so many ways and his image has been reproduced, adapted, adjusted and commercialised from every possible angle. It makes it really hard to do something unique.  All I can say is that I tried - and  really enjoyed the process.

Despite his story being so familiar, I found myself once again deeply touched by his life as I researched the content. It is impossible not to be moved.  I re-watched all the famous clips of his release from prison, his first speech as a free man, his inauguration. I browsed through the mountains of well publicized photos, and indulged in the heart warming anecdotes of his interaction with people. I couldn't help feeling  a bit overwhelmed by the task of doing justice to his legacy.  I suppose it is impossible. It can at best be just a tribute to an outstanding man.

Happy Mandela day!

You can order the colouring book here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Graphic Recording at Deloitte Greenhouse

Last week, I did my second graphic recording at Deloitte Greenhouse. This venue is any graphic recorder's dream: Curved walls covered with paint you can draw on and state of the art drawing materials that they supply. What a blast.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Illustrated logos

Although I was initially trained as a graphic designer, I rarely do design work anymore. The prospect of doing a layout now fills me with dread. There are many illustrators out there who are successful designers as well - but I am not one of them. The closest I get to being a designer nowadays, is when I get commissioned to do an illustrated logo.  Below are some behind the scene sketches of a logo I did quite a while a ago. I really enjoyed this one and the client was very happy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Shape Game

One of my favourite conceptual tools is called the "shape game." I draw a random shape, and then transform it into whatever the shape dictates. I used to teach this technique to my students as a conceptual ice breaker. The results are almost always staggering. I still use it whenever I get stuck or just for fun. And its is a lot of fun - if you are a drawing nerd. Below are some recent attempts.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Graphic recording for Flux Trends

I had the privilege to do a graphic recording for FluxTrends on Tuesday 17 May. Spearheaded by Dion Chang, Flux specializes in trends as business strategy. You can read all about their approach here. Every quarter, Flux hosts and Open Session presentation covering their latest trend research and it was to one of these sessions that I was invited to do my thing.

The fascinating presentation covered the how new technologies and skills are busy changing the corporate workplace. The long career is dead, artificial intelligence and mechanization is stealing jobs, hybrid skills are becoming increasingly important and flexibility has become an essential survival skill. 

Super interesting but slightly disturbing to think that a robot might one draw at these sessions instead of me. Until then, I'll keep hustling my old school skill, hoping to hear loads more of these interesting talks.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Yiynova MSP 19u Digitizer tablet

Up to the end of last year, my process was pretty traditional - a cycle of penciling, scanning and inking up to the final stage of digital colouring with my Wacom Intuos tablet. Despite having an Intuous, I could never get use to drawing digitally - the process just did not feel natural.

I assumed that a direct on screen digital drawing tool would bridge the gap. However, the pricy Wacom Cintiq was just too expensive to be an option. Enter The Yiynova MSP 19u Digitizer tablet. I read about this tablet on the now discontinued Drawn blog. For a fraction of the price of a Cintiq, the Taiwanese company Yiynova produced drawing tablets that apparently compared well with the Cintiq.

So when a friend of mine went to the States last year, I took the plunge and ordered one. And since the beginning of the year, I am the proud owner of  a  Yiynova MSP 19u digitizer tablet. It was the best  move I could make - I absolutely love this piece of technology. My process is now fully digital and feels fully natural. It took me while to get used to but now I honestly cannot imagine going back to working the way I used to. So here it is:
I mounted the tablet on a monitor arm which improved the ergonomics of my work space drastically. The tablet and pen is accompanied by a funky looking ninja glove that reduces friction between your hand and the screen (and keeps the screen clean). I also switched my primary drawing program from Photoshop to Manga studio 5 but that is a story for another day. Watch this space fro a fuller review of the tablet and Manga studio 5. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Afrikaans teenage poetry anthology

Hi Everyone
I was recently tasked with illustrating a poetry anthology for teenagers - a job which I found quite demanding. After the text has been set on the page, there is often very little space on the page left to do illustration. The challenge is also not to be too literal about the content - so in some cases a texture or visual mood would suffice. But that is not my natural inclination. I lean towards a figurative and conceptual approach, stylized with bold linework. And lastly, being a mother of small children, I find it really hard to relate to the teenagish content. The gap between wiping bottoms and dealing with identity issues is quite big at the moment...But hey, it was a great challenge and I am happy with the result. Below are some pics

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New PPC Animation

Hi again
Here is the new animation in the PPC series. This one is all about PPC being world class - and what keeps them from it.

May 2016 illustration for GO! maggazine

Hi Everyone

Mountain Therapy is the the title of May 2016's illustrated article.

"Spending time in mountains can do wonders for body and soul. The 650 km long Rim of Africa Trail – which starts near Clanwilliam and ends in Knysna – gives you plenty of opportunity to reboot your hard-drive. Toast Coetzer walked only a fraction of the trail, but felt like cashing in all his leave by the end of it."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New work

Hi Everone. Here are some quick updates on my recent work.
Go Magazine recently published a guide to travelling Namibia, featuring one of my illustrations.  To get your hands on a copy of the guide click here.

I also recently did a poster for a mining company in Mozambique. This poster ties in with previous work I did for them. Scroll down to see an example.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Another Go illustration

Hi all

After a long absence, here is another editorial illustration for Go Magazine.

"We all love to travel to the ends of the world, but the exotic stories we bring back from those places can’t be the only memories we take with us to the old age home. Sophia van Taak believes we must also turn the ordinary into extraordinary memories."

Monday, February 22, 2016

New illustration for GO! Magazine

The March edition of GO! is on the shelves. What a fun story this was to illustrate - so many crazy characters. 

"In an old Soviet state like Georgia, the line between a polite visit and a riotous jol is a blurry one. Crippled by politeness, Ian Mcnaught Davis learnt this the hard way."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Update on update

Here is the full whiteboard animation that I did for PPC (Pretoria Portland Cement). This video is going to part of a series of 5 videos, explaining PPC's new strategy, vision and strategic aspiration to the employees. This video provides an overview of the whole process. Two characters are attempting to breakdown the complicated business language into layman's terms.

Below is the full map illustrated map done for ITD.  The client, a mining company, is attempting to maximise its productivity through improving relationships among the workers. This map forms part of a training program that will be rolled out in the mine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Below are some excerpts of the projects that's been keeping me busy over the past few weeks.

Educational illustrations for Pearson education,

...illustrations for a manual on responsive parenting,

...a scene form a whiteboard animation for PPC,
...and a snapshot from an illustrated map for ITD:

Friday, January 22, 2016

The new here is year!

2015 ended in a hurricane of freelance projects and it seems as if the storm is continuing into 2016. I'm obviously grateful for a busy January, although a gradual acclimatization to work would have been kinder to my holiday brain.

Anyway, here we are! Happy 2016. Below is my Go! illustration for February - a visual reminder that the holiday is over.

A thirst for travel
 Some special drinks stay with you long after your glass is empty. Intrepid traveller Nick Dall indulges in a spot of nostalgia as he travels around the world in a fistful of drinks.

Last year ended with an animation in collaboration with Six degrees. (See below...)

...and a poetry book for teenagers.

Currently I'm working on a colouring book about Nelson Mandela's life (no sneek peeks allowed), some more educational illustration, a corporate animation and an illustrated map. And some graphic facilitation for Conceptual Eyes in between.

All the best for 2016!