Shavaun Cronje | Interview | Drawing From Observation
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Interview: Shavaun Cronje

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Getting to Know Shavaun Cronje

1. Tell DFO a little bit more about yourself

I am a Graphic Designer. I design adverts for the local newspaper and I love what I do.

Designing isn't the same thing every day. With every advert, you get a chance to do something new and different. I only get to draw in my free time and I’ve been drawing since primary school. I would take a piece of paper and practice drawing my favourite cartoon characters.

A high school teacher inspired me to draw. During art class we had to draw a self-portrait. I still remember how horrible it looked and I dismissed the project as a failure. A week later, I found out that my artwork was one of the few chosen to be displayed at our school's annual showcase. It was such a confidence boost that I started drawing right there and then.

Also, most of the people who are going to read this interview don't know me anyway so I could be as outrageous as I want... But as tempting as that sounds, I think I will just settle for I still like sleeping with some of my stuffed animals from time to time.

2. From an art perspective: What are your biggest weaknesses?

My weakness is definitely being lazy. I'm also indecisive. If you check my Instagram account, you will see that I change my style of drawing frequently. Even though I draw in a manga / comic style, I am not very consistent compared to the many artists that I have seen.

3. Be bold – tell us: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

To be honest, I just want to improve my designing. That competitive side of me sees the many talented creatives out there and it just makes me want to be better than the best of them. I see myself surpassing the many expectations I don't even know I had. I see myself being an art director so that I can tell everyone that their work is wrong... Just kidding! (Mostly...)

4. Out of thousands of artists in SA, why should people appreciate your art?

I guess I could say you could appreciate that my art style keeps changing. That I am so keen to try a new style I've seen but to add my own unique "Shavauness" to it. That what you will see next will be unpredictable.

5. "What do you like about being in the creative industry? / What do you enjoy about using your creative talent?"

I like the challenges of creating something, new and different. I feel like it is a great fun way to keep your brain active. 

6. What do you consider to be your biggest creative achievement??

My biggest achievement is definitely the fact that my art supplies keep growing and growing and growing. In fact my whole room is a mess with everything lying around BUT I still know where everything is, (and that is an achievement by itself)

7. Tell us about the last time a client, family or friend questioned your art or creativity. Elaborate on what happened.

Well it was really hard to find a place to hide the body of my last critic... Just kidding! Criticism can definitely be demotivating. Sometimes it's hard not to take it to heart but you have to take a step back, put the knife down and really think about the critique you have received.

You don't always need to agree to it but sometimes it could be just what you needed to really boost your artwork to the top.

8. When working on art "describe your definition of done."

My definition of done is when there is no turning back from overworking it...and then going back in just to make sure...

9. When creating, what kind of work environment do you like best?

My ideal environment is to have a clean tidy work space (which I am definitely too lazy to create). However, I adapt very easily, so I would draw in my bed, couch or even on the floor. I also need background noise, so I will either play some tunes from my laptop or stream from the Spotifiy App.  

10. Define your creative/drawing style?

My drawings focus a lot on a cartoon style. I like the line art you can apply to it, especially those thick brush lines that can be seen in comic books.

11. What can we expect from you in the near future?

I've got a comic marker project in mind that I want to make a collage of. Think modern comic meets Andy Warhol composition and colours. 

12. What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Learn from other Illustrators and Artists. Practice using different mediums until you find the perfect one (or more) that suits you. Don't be afraid to even mix your media.

Most importantly, you should want to grow. The best way to do this is to practice, practice and practice.