This is an illustration that I did for a children’s book that my brother, Paul is writing.
Ok… so it’s taken me a while to get back with feedback. I’m still getting used to the blogging concept and to be quite honest the idea of writing something that anyone can see freaks me our quite a bit, especially now that my blog is linked to my new website – eeeeek! But, let me stop faffing around and chat about the tea I went to two weeks ago with some old illustrator friends.
It was Anzell’s idea to have a picnic at Spier, but then due to various factors we again ended up at Paddy’s house on her beautiful farm in Jonkershhoek. It’s always such a treat to visit Paddy. We had cheesecake, coffee and wine, chatted about illustration and caught up where we could in the time we had. Of the students that were in our group, 4 of the 9 were there. These included; Anzell Jordaan, Victoria du Toit, Willie Schlechter, and me.
Anzell is currently living in Hanover, Massachusetts in the USA where she is working at an art gallery. She is going to be going to the Bologna Book Fair in Italy one of these days as some illustrations from one of her children’s books has been chosen to be on exhibition! I haven’t seen these illustrations, but do know that the story is featured on a little bunny girl. Not to fear though because Anzell’s website will soon be online so we can check out her latest artworks.
Victoria lives in Paarl and is currently teaching English at Paarl Gym. Victoria is an artist working in various mediums, but I know her mostly as a botanical artist, which has been focus for the past 3 years. Her work is sometimes executed in the traditional botanical watercolour form and at other times carries a more conceptual approach, which became the focus of her MPhil work. Her final MPhil exhibition, for which she received a Cum laude, was at Off the Wall Contemporary in Paarl and entitled Identity: Cut & Dried. She will soon be exhibiting this work again at a gallery in Calitzdorp.
Willie lives in Durbanville, behind the boerewors curtain (as he always says), where he teaches Art at Stellenberg High School. Willie is a writer and illustrator of children’s books, a botanical artist, fine artist, photographer, gym bunny and much more. He is currently working on a children’s book entitled The Girl Who’s Dreams Got Too Big.
Otherwise Willie is working towards two botanical exhibitions, one in Italy (Botalia 2010) and the other for the Kirstenbosch annual botanical art exhibition. Below are two illustrations that he’ll be sending to the exhibition in Italy.
I’m going to cheat with when discussing Paddy Bouma and copy her biography from her own personal blog…
“Paddy Bouma was born in Cape Town in 1947. She studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, obtaining the degree BA (Fine Art) in 1967. She was awarded the McIver Scholarship by UCT for 1969 and studied Lithography at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, University of Paris, as a Bursary Student of the French Government (1968-69). She taught Lithography and Illustration at the Dept. of Fine Arts, University of Stellenbosch 1971-2006 and has exhibited on numerous occasions as a printmaker and illustrator. She has written and/or illustrated a number of picture books that have been published internationally. Her illustrations for Are We Nearly There by Louis Baum (published by Bodley Head, London; 1986 and by William Morrow, New York as One More Time) were shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, 1986. Around 1997, she began writing alternative comics for adults. Her comics are autobiographical in content or address social issues. They have been published in the comix magazines Bitterkomix, Stripshow and Bitterjusi. She is married to the architect Raymond Bouma. They live on a small farm in the Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch.” Paddy has recently illustrated the children’s version of Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.
But what happened to the rest of my Mphil class; Archie Collier, Cobus Nienaber, Alex Noble, Sunel Lombard and Daisy Jones? Well, I was in Exclusive Books in Somerset West last Friday and to my surprise there on the shelf stood Helga’s Big Splash illustrated by Archie Collier! Congratulations Archie!
I haven’t heard from Sunel in ages, but according to Anzell she is living in Bermuda where she works at an art gallery. I don’t know what she’s working on at the moment in terms of illustration, but Anzell insures me that she is still working like a machine. As for Alex, I have found her as a featured artist on the Sparx Media website. Its not easy getting onto their list of illustrators, so she must be doing pretty well. I haven’t heard anything about Daisy Jones, but will look into it. She is a talented writer and artist, but also a mother so it’s possible that she’s been pre-occupied.
Tomorrow I meet with some friends and fellow illustrators for a picnic at Spier wine farm. It’s been about a year since I’ve seen some of them and now is the time to catch up socially (as much as one can over one lunch) and discuss our latest illustration endeavours. We’re a mixed bunch, but what we share in common is the fact that we studied together, doing our Mphil in Illustration at Stellenbosch University. Some of us completed the degree on 2 years, some in 3, and others are taking a break planning to finish it when life lends them the time. At commencement of the course lead by children’s book writer and illustrator, Paddy Bouma, in the true cliché saying; I felt a whole new world awaited me… which did. Paddy offered a truly awesome course where I learnt so much and was introduced to talented, interesting people. It’s been 4 years since that beginning and I have subsequently learnt that being a freelance illustrator is not such an easy endeavour and I am curious to find out how my ex classmates have been coping with the challenges which surround our profession. I’ll be back with feedback!