Today we chat to Heleen Steyn, all- round creative, about her work and passion.
Who is Heleen Steyn and what do you do?
In short I’m an illustrator, digital artist and all-round creative.
I live to have a passion and a dream, and would waste away if I don’t pursue them! Since childhood I‘ve always been lost in my own creative world, expressing myself through the things I made. I guess I simply can’t be anything else than a creative.
After school I went to complete a 4 year Bachelor of Arts Information Design degree at the University of Pretoria. As it mainly focussed on design, it gave me a great technical background but left me desiring so much more!
After my degree I spent another year furthering my skills in other areas including animation, digital art and 3D. This truly opened my eyes to so many other possibilities! Still in my free time I was naturally drawn to digital art, but lacked the necessary skills. After many confusing weeks and countless prayers I came across Schoolism, an online art school where I took part in Bobby Chiu’s digital painting class. I got to learn from my idol in digital art, and am still humbled by that amazing opportunity. Passion = Found! I then spent months practising and perfecting my digital art.
It is still a work in progress but I aim to become an established and professional illustrator, who can one day pass on these skills and opportunities that I have been blessed with.
How would you define your style or art?
I am naturally drawn to highly detailed, ‘realistic’ or 3D-looking art. At the same time I am also very comfortable with other forms of illustration such as vector art and designs.
What inspires your work?
The world around me! It is a visually fascinating place to me, and I find myself inspired by anything from the characteristics of people to the random objects on my desk. Also, the way colour and light behave are especially interesting to me…and would easily be the inspiration behind an art piece.
What are you currently working on?
As I am literally taking my first steps into the world of digital illustration, I continue to work on personal pieces whilst freelancing as an illustrator and designer on numerous small projects.
I recently completed a conceptual art work called Endangered Beauty, which was done to help raise awareness against rhino poaching in South Africa. It will be showcased by AARP (Art Against Rhino Poaching) in the upcoming months. Hopefully there are some more interesting projects lined up. Holding thumbs!
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
At this point I can actually use some advice myself! But my journey taught me this:
1) Work your butt off! – Face it, artists don’t have it easy. Dedication, passion and faith will get you there, but always have a game plan and a goal in mind.
2) Never stop learning and exploring – Be curious and observant about everything, especially the physical world around you, there is so much you can learn!
3) Discover your strengths and focus on that – Be more of a specialist than a generalist.
4) Stay up to date– Know what is happening in the art/design world.
5) Learn from the pros – Best way to better yourself is to learn from those who already have the skills and knowledge. Do not copy, but learn from their techniques and styles.
6) Take critique well. – Advice and feedback is critical, it helps you grow.
7) Get an online presence! – Become involved in social media and similar online communities such as CG Society, Behance, CGHub etc.
8) Give back – Wherever you are someone, somewhere helped you get there, now go be that person to someone else. You’ll be surprised how many doors of new opportunities will open for you.
Where can our readers follow your work?