Octavia seduces us with her otherworldly illustrative powers.
Octavia Roodt leaves us in awe of her exquisite illustrations. This incredibly talented Johannesburg based illustrator and graphic designer is able to draw people with the utmost sensitivity. Her incredible mind and technical skill has us believing she is an otherworldly being. We chatted to this mysterious creature and this is what she had to say.
Tell us a bit about your background? Where are you from and when did you begin drawing?
I began (and will hopefully end) my existence in South Africa. Since I was very young, my mother used to throw out paint, crayons and pens onto a little plastic table covered in pieces of coloured paper and encourage us to draw. I’m not absolutely sure it counts as my own creations, however. Looking back now, it’s clear she chose flattering colour palettes and art directed our attempts. After a few years of being frustrated with commissioning her to draw kittens (that never turned out like what I saw in my mind’s eye) I finally picked up a pencil myself. The moment when I truly began drawing however was when, at 13, I finally sat down in front of the mirror and attempted to draw what I saw in front of me, not what I thought was there. I still have that drawing.
How would you describe your drawing style?
I can’t, unfortunately, paint. Paintings always become sketches. In a nutshell, I enjoy drawing from life, cross-hatching, interesting shapes and muted, dull colours.
What music do you enjoy listening to while drawing?
The last few years, I’ve largely neglected music in exchange for listening to political commentary, lectures and documentaries. I am feeling rather saturated at this point, so its perhaps finally time to return to music.
How do you approach an illustration?
Unless pressed for time, paper is the place to start. After a few rough thumbnail sketches, I either sift through my personal photographs for the right figure or summon the courage to trust my visual memory and start drawing. Once scanned and edited, I start layering colours over the sketch. Its only later when I decide if I’ll keep my original pencil lines or paint over them altogether. While I work, I routinely flip the canvas horizontally to check for any uncomfortable spots.
If your creative muse was a magical creature, what would it be?
I took a Harry Potter Patronus test once, and it was an otter…
Are there currently any artists whose work you have been drooling over?
Yes! On Instagram, in no particular order: @an_anandrk, @farazshanyar, @eleeza. All of them have a brilliant line quality and refreshing approach to figures.
Where would you like to see yourself venturing in the future in terms of your art?
I adore books of all kinds and would adore venturing into illustration and layout for children’s books, poetry and fiction. My primary focus at this point is to improve my drawing skills and technique to the point where I can comfortably draw a scene from imagination and hopefully develop a story worthy of a full-fledged comic book. Other than that, I want to dabble more in three dimensional software and photography.