Design Indaba Emerging Creative: Gwendolene van der Merwe

INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring

We spotted 25-year-old Cape Town-based illustrator Gwendolene van der Merwe at this year’s Design Indaba festival, where she was featured as part of this year’s 40 Emerging Creatives.

We caught up with her to find out more about her beautifully illustrated books, her love of creating and what’s next.

What inspired your latest illustrated book The Thought Fox?

It was originally a project I did for my Honours in Illustration, for which we were briefed to created any type of narrative illustration. I was inspired by the poem The Thought Fox by Ted Hughes. His poetry really evokes my visual senses.

When did you start illustrating?

I’ve been making art and drawing since I can remember. I only started taking it seriously when I entered high school and have been practicing on improving ever since. I studied Visual Communication Design at Stellenbosch University and my work leaned more towards traditional art and illustration themes, so I furthered my studies and did the Honours in Illustration course, which I graduated from this year in March.

What do you love about illustrating?

I love exploring with different mediums and telling stories. I also love using it as a way to speak about my own experiences.

How many books have you created so far? Any new books on the horizon?

I have only created a few books for university, but I have a few non-book illustration projects on the horizon (nothing specific yet) and also a possible collaboration that will remain secret for now. People can keep updated via Instagram or Facebook.

Browse the gallery above to view a selection of Gwendolene’s work.