Cool Illustrator: Kobie Nieuwoudt


Cape Town-based artist and illustrator (interviewed in 2016, here) Kobie Niewoudt aka Kobie, catches up with VISI about what she’s been up to since then and how her love of GIFs hasn’t changed.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I studied graphic design at CPUT, then went on to complete an honours degree in illustration at Stellenbosch. While working on my honours, I started my brand Koba illustrations. It’s also during my time at Stellenbosch where I developed a fascination with scientific illustration, in particular botanical illustration. I also made my very first frame-by-frame animation during this time. I have buried that animation very deep in the archives!

The last time we spoke to you was in 2016. The world has changed a lot since then, has your work evolved?

Things have certainly changed. In 2017 I was allowed to work full-time as a motion designer. As of today, I have been working as a motion designer for almost 4 years.

Working as an animator has influenced my illustrative work and creative process. In previous years my ideas came from a negative place of insecurity and self-deprecation, while that occasionally happens today,
I think my work has evolved to be lighter and looks more to the future than the past.

Are you still big into GIFS?

Absolutely! Don’t think I’ll ever be over GIFs.

A GIF will start with me hearing a song, then visualising a certain dance or scene to go with it. Once the idea is there I can’t let it go.

kobie nieuwoudt

What are your favourite things about illustration?

Illustration is a versatile art form. Illustration can be serious, it can be absurd, it can be used in a sequence or standing alone, there’s no right or wrong medium, it can convey stories, it can also be brought to life through animation.

What does a day in the studio look like for you?

I’m an early riser. There’s something about working while other people are sleeping that gives me more energy! I try to get admin out of the way first, check my inbox, water my plants, then it’s full steam ahead with motion design till 17:00. I will usually go for a run around this time. I continue with commissions and personal projects around 19:00 and go to bed at 11 most days.

kobie nieuwoudt

What’s your drawing style?

I would describe it as playful, handcrafted, nostalgic, cheeky and humorous.

How do you keep things fresh?

When I find myself in a repetitive, creative cycle I tend to explore other creative fields. I have a profound love for fashion, textiles and pattern design, so I’ll either watch DIY embroidery videos or watch behind the scenes footage at runway shows eg. how a Dior haute couture collection comes to life. Furthermore, I try not to linger on Instagram for too long.
While scrolling through other artists’ feeds might bring inspiration to some, I’ve come to find it just leaves me feeling jaded.

kobie nieuwoudt

Do you have a preferred method of creating?

I prefer a mix of both. I will usually plan out artworks digitally and then commence with more traditional mediums.

How do commissions work and do you find them tougher than your creative pieces?

Sometimes commissions are tougher. They usually challenge me on a technical level, where I will find myself working with software, I’m unfamiliar with or having to paint an exotic flower that has so much detail that I don’t even know where to start. Clients usually contact me via email or Instagram. The challenge is also making sure what the client is envisioning, aligns with what I’m understanding from their brief often in a short time frame.

kobie nieuwoudt

See more of Koba’s work through her website and follow her on Instagram, here.

Looking for more on art or design? Take a look at the work of French street artist Julien de Casabianca.