SA Illustrators: Séan Verster

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Name: Séan Verster

’n Skrikkel/A Leap, by Séan Verster 

What is your day job?

I'm a full-time illustrator specialising in the creation of comics for communications and also advertising purposes. I also do live caricaturing gigs for corporate and private functions. Caricaturing people live is something I have fallen in love with over the years.

What road did you follow to launch your career as an illustrator?

I started drawing at the age of two and I can still remember the occasion. It was a picture of a man in a duffle-coat. From then on I drew everything I saw, and still do. I was lucky to have a father who worked for a paper factory, so I always had top-quality supplies, and needless to say, I filled everything with drawings.

Have your illustrations been published?

Yes, I’ve illustrated two books for Pieter Grobbelaar, the first being Famous South African Folk Tales and the most recent being Jakkals en Wolf, for which I have been nominated for the best illustrated children’s book award. I’ve also illustrated Wielie Walie for Louise Smit and the two of us had a Bak en Terie comic strip running in You, Huisgenoot and Drum for six months. Operasie MIAAU was another book I illustrated, for Carina Diedericks-Hugo.

I’ve worked extensively with various theme parks, including Ratanga Junction in Cape Town and Flamingo Land in the UK, to create characters and artwork to service the parks. Comics I have worked on have been published throughout Africa, and a cricket comic which I illustrated for three years was published in both Pakistan and India.

What is your preferred medium, and why do you enjoy working in this particular medium?

My first love is the most basic of all mediums: the pencil. I’m quite old-school and I firmly believe that one must master the pencil before moving on to other mediums where it’s easier to hide or disguise one’s lack of talent or skill. I used to do most of my colouring in Magic markers, but now I use Photoshop and I never have to worry about running out of ink halfway through a piece of artwork.

Are there specific genres or types of texts that you enjoy illustrating?

I really enjoy doing really cute stuff for small children; and at the other end of the spectrum I love history, specifically European history, and would love an opportunity to illustrate the Nordic Edda or even the mythologies of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Who are your illustration heroes? Were your development as an illustrator and your personal style influenced by the work of other illustrators?

Mort Druckett of MAD magazine, Goscigny and Uderzo of Asterix and Obelix and Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes.

Are you an avid reader? Who are your favourite authors?

Yes, I read a lot, but not novels. The only fiction writer I read is David Gemmell. I would give an arm to illustrate one of his books. That said, I used to read a lot of Wilbur Smith, who I think is one of the most talented writers on the planet.

What is the one existing text that you would most want to illustrate?

That’s a tough one. There are so many. I’d have to say David Gemmell’s Troy trilogy or the story of Druss the legend. Locally, I’d probably really enjoy something about the Boer War. Maybe the diary of Deneys Reitz.

Which writer, living or dead, would you most like to collaborate with? What would the fictional book be about that you would work on together?

He’s not a writer, but rather a film director: Mel Gibson. I would be the happiest person on the planet if I could work with him, either on a graphic novel or storyboarding a film for him.

Do you have an ideal audience/reader in mind when you create an image or a series of illustrations?

No, never. If I’m working on an adult project, then of course I draw according to their understanding, and if I’m working on stuff for very small kids I try to make everything as cute and loveable as possible.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I have just finished a book for Lapa and another for Protea Boekhuis, and then I am working on a very strange but thrilling piece of work for Die Burger, Beeld and Volksblad.

Which one of your illustration projects so far stands out as a favourite, and why?

A road safety comic I did many years ago and a set of illustrations for a theme park in the UK. They were very simple illustrations, but very bold and bright. Those two projects have always stood out for me.

Return to the SA Illustrators index page | Keer terug na die SA-illustreerders indeksblad.

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