The Creatives - Tanya Vermaak

09 October 2022


How did you find the jump between being a student versus industry work?
I think I was well prepared in terms of skills, but obviously, there are things that you will only learn once you’ve entered the industry. Doing work for a company in a team has been an adjustment. You have to grow thick skin. It’s not like doing a project at uni for yourself.

Who inspires you in your practice?
Oh, there are so many! I love the work of Mark Conlan. His illustrations are so colourful and playful! I am in love with the lovely illustrations of Piotr Socha in his children’s books: “The book of Bees” and “The book of Trees”. I also love the work of local illustrator, Maria Lebedeva, who illustrates children’s books.

A favourite Open Window memory?
The exhibitions. I remember how it felt to just look at what you and everyone else created and just see how happy, proud and relieved everyone was. It was a great feeling!

Do you have any advice for an up-and-coming creative?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find your voice/style. Just keep on doing what you are doing, and figure out what you like and what you are good at. You will get it. It does not happen at the same time for everyone.

What is your favourite spot to work in besides your desk at work?
Any place where I feel comfortable. If there is a nice table/desk with enough space, then perfect. My working environment is influenced by how I feel. Sometimes noisy places are perfect, sometimes not at all.

Favourite coffee brand/supplier?

What is one thing about studying that you miss the most?
The freedom. I loved that I could illustrate in any style, interpret things the way I wanted and focus on what I liked and enjoy.

What is a work mantra of yours?
You’ll be okay! When I am feeling overwhelmed, I like to remind myself that I will look back and see that I made it through.

How do you keep yourself motivated to stay creative?
I love spending time in nature, with friends and family, and I surround myself with other creative work! These things help me to be creative and keep my mind fresh.

What is an unpopular opinion you have?
Chocolate is always better than vanilla!!

What is a dream you are still working toward?
I would love to illustrate children’s books. I love using my imagination to create beautiful and magical characters and environments.

What was your major, and are you still working in that field?
Illustration! I am currently working as an illustrator and designer.

Where do you currently work?
Felix Studios in Cape Town

Do you prefer online or in-person work?
A little bit of both. I love being around people and other creatives, but since the pandemic, I got very used to my own space.

Your go-to creative snack?

How do you get past a creative block?
I get out. I go outside, I take a walk, or I get a coffee. I try not to think about my work when doing these things, but I usually end up getting ‘the idea’ then anyway!

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