Niewoudt received invaluable exposure to the commercial side of design while studying towards her degree in graphic design from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), but after graduating still felt "voiceless" in the world of art.
Niewoudt believes that having a particular style – while also remaining versatile – is beneficial when approaching potential clients for work. How? Here are four tips she picked up for cultivating your artistic voice...
01. Study your craft
Illustration was a personal outlet for Niewoudt during her studies; "a means to escape the formal requirements of commercial design briefs."
Encouragement to further her passion for drawing came from a lecturer at CPUT, and Niewoudt enrolled in a post-graduate course in illustration at the University of Stellenbosch. This decision allowed her to experiment and develop her style as an artist.
"Looking back, I now enjoy the illustration for the same reasons as when I was a child, for the solace and focus it provides," she says.
02. Create personal work
In her latest series of illustrations and GIFs, 'The Performative Nature of Tsotsitaal', Niewoudt explores the communicative nature of 'Tsotsitaal' – the language used by gangsters in South Africa's townships.
For Niewoudt, the way in which people communicate verbally and non-verbally is immensely interesting. Growing up in an Afrikaans household, Niewoudt wanted to investigate a form of communication that differs greatly from the culture and language she knows. She also wanted to communicate it through a medium she knows well.
03. Experiment with different media
Alongside her favourite media like pencil sketches, gouache and collages, Niewoudt added a digital medium to her repertoire after she was introduced to GIF-making.
"I usually give myself the challenge to create an expressive, entertaining GIF out of the least amount of frames. I enjoy a challenge," she says.
04. Finish what you start
Niewoudt's motivation to create stems from a strong opposition to the idea of 'creative block'. She says that when she has an idea for a project, she can't let it go until it's completed.
"I stopped believing in creative block, because once you say you have it, it makes it worse and you start believing it," she explains.
Kobie Niewoudt is one of Design Indaba's Emerging Creatives 2016. To see more of her work head to her website. To see the full collection of featured South African creatives go to: designindaba.com/southafricandesign.
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