Who is Jess Jardim-Wedepohl and what do you do?
I am a designer working at Nicework in Johannesburg. I also do a bit of copywriting – we’re a small studio, so everyone gets to do a bit of everything.
How would you define your style of Illustration?
It’s a mixed bag of stuff. I think a lot of it is pretty fun and cutesy – not necessarily a style I’ve moved toward on purpose, just what I do naturally. I do tend to go for a lot of organic lines and “noodle arms” – I haven’t had the opportunity to do a lot of commercial illustration work, which is kind of a blessing in disguise because it allows me to be a bit silly and have a creative outlet outside of work.
I really, really love children’s books – my mom is an artist and my dad’s side of the family are voracious readers, so we had a lot of beautiful picture books around growing up. There was the most beautiful copy of The Snow Queen in our collection, illustrated by Richard Hook, and I’m pretty sure it played a big role in my desire to draw.
I also like children’s books because it’s an audience people tend to underestimate. There’s a really great quote from Children’s Picturebooks: The art of visual storytelling about how publishers often keep art and writing needlessly simple for younger people, when they’re actually a lot more perceptive than we realise.
All of this is kind of weird, because I’m really bad at interacting with actual children in the real world.
What other creative interests do you have ?
I’ve tried writing creatively, but I don’t really have the same motivation to write in my spare time as I do to draw.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been working on my own children’s book for a while now, but it gets put on the backburner most of the time. I post sneaky teasers on my Instagram feed from time to time, even though realistically it will probably only be done in another couple of years. Slow and steady wins the race!
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
Don’t try to specialise too soon – you might get a little taste of a few different things in varsity, but it’s hard to know what you really enjoy and excel at until you’re working on real projects with real clients. Also kind of on that note – it’s not usually a good idea to freelance or start your own business straight after studying. You might be confident that you have what it takes, but it is so much harder to do well without the kind of client relations experience, discipline and professional network that you can only get from a “real “job”. Also, you know, believe in yourself and whatever.
Where can our readers follow your work (Please sent twitter/facebook/website etc)?