Month: January 2015

Ruschka Dutoit – Illustrator and Designer

Happy Thursday Creatives! This is one of my favourite days of the week and today I have the privilege of sharing with you some pearls of wisdom from this talented illustrator/designer that I have the honour of knowing personally. Ruschka is such a beautiful yet fiercy person with an incredible sense of humour and her love for simplicity and all things organic really shine through her work. She has great vision and is able to communicate words/idea’s through imagery and reading through her responses will make you want to get offline and get back to basics with some paint and brushes. I hope this interview will inspire you to do less, be more brave and make MORE art! Have a great Thursday! X

1. If you could describe yourself in just 3 words, what would they be and why?
Ok I find these kind of questions really hard so I asked my boyfriend for help.”Conscientious, hardworking and strategic” was his immediate response. Haha, that makes me sound very boring but I guess it does describe my work ethic quite accurately. Conscientious – because every day that I get to do what I love is a privilege and so I try to do it to the best of my abilities. I have found that talent takes you far, but being committed and having a standard of excellence in all you do will take you even further. This does sometimes backfire on me though cos I think I can become quite attached to my work and be my own worst critic. Hardworking – being a freelancer, this is kind of a given, but hard work has only ever paid off. Brave – Everyday requires courage. To put my work out there for people to see, to interact confidently with clients, to believe in myself and what I am creating, to trust that things will work out even if it’s a quiet month. ‘Let’s be brave’ is how I would sum up the past year and a half of my life…and now there’s no looking back.

2. So when did your interest for art / design start?
I have always been a very visual person, even as a kid, I made killer collages out of old magazines. I’ve just always loved beautiful images and words and shapes. In high school, destiny stepped in and I had to choose between science and art. I didn’t choose art because I wanted to paint, but rather because it was the only alternative to science (oops). Not having picked up a brush since I was a kid, I was terrified of what I would create. The experience completely transformed me and I realised the power of expression through my lines, my brushstrokes and my subject. I also found art history fascinating. That is really where it all started. Then I studied advertising which was a disaster but through that I realised how much I enjoyed the process of designing and simplifying shapes and lines especially in creating logos. Three years of studying multimedia design got me into print and web but a strong desire to break away from the computer got me back into painting and illustration. I had a very dedicated and passionate lecturer who saw my skills as an illustrator and encouraged me to pursue it more. That really played a crucial part in my journey.

3. What inspires you as an artist?
Wow, so many things. Like today, I bought a bag full of fresh veggies and the simple act of washing them under cold water and cutting the stems off the beetroots and carrots inspired me. The purple texture of the coleslaw, the way the water turned pink from the beetroot, the bright green details of the spinach. Haha. This is starting to sound like an episode of Portlandia, but honestly, the simplest things can inspire me to create, even if it’s just to make a simple salad. Words inspire ideas and visuals in me. I can spend hours looking at beautiful photographs (especially close up portraits) and imagine how I would interpret the lines into a drawing or painting. I love drawing faces and features.

4. What has been your favourite project to date?
No there are too many! I can’t choose. The dream is always to work on projects where I have complete creative freedom. When clients approach me to do an artwork for them or for a friend and the brief is to do whatever I wish, those are definitely favourites. The illustrations I create for my greeting cards and notebooks really allow me to explore my own brand and just create things I like. I really enjoy that and don’t see it as work at all. Working with my friends at Aleph Surf International is definitely a favourite too. This is ongoing project as we are constantly creating new things and working on new products and designs together. Not only do I get to work with one of my besties, super talented creative director Vanessa van Zyl, but I also get to create things that extends beyond just being a beautiful body of work but communicates a bigger purpose – the changing of lives. I have also really enjoyed projects that allow me to create in a new way and takes me out of my comfort zone – like styling shoots or putting up a group show.

5. For someone looking to go freelance in your industry – what advice would you give them?
Firstly I would say that it is going to take a lot of courage and hard work and is definitely not for the feint hearted BUT it is worth every single late night and tight deadline if you are doing what you love. Don’t let fear hold you back. Build up a small client base before you go freelance full time. A piggy bank really helps. There are often unforeseen expenses and having some money saved has really helped me out in tough times. It also comes in handy when you want to invest back into your business. Read, ask, research. When it comes to things like rates and terms and how to handle tricky clients/situations use the resources available. (I can recommend reading “Design is a job” by Mike Monteiro) Be willing to work hard. Really hard. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and will encourage you when it gets tough (and friends who understand when you can’t make it to after work drinks cos you have a deadline.) A good accountant will save you a lot of time and stress.

6. You have travelled a little and we have seen a love for Paris in some of your artwork – how was that for you and do you have plans for more travelling?
Paris was the most incredible experience. I imagined it to be perfect and it was even better. I definitely have plans for more travelling this year and at the moment it’s America vs Europe.

7. Who inspires you and how do you inspire yourself as an artist?
People who take risks towards living their dreams. Bravery inspires me. I draw a lot of inspiration from other creatives, seeing people do what they love and pushing themselves to create new things and become the best they can be, that really inspires me. I find inspiring myself is mostly about discipline and practising my skill. Sometimes creating the time and space to just explore. Always trying to learn, trying new things, pushing myself to become better at what I create. Trying to fight the urge to just go online and scroll through reams of information but to rather let creativity flow from a more organic place.

8. What music are you currently enjoying?
I tend to find something I like and listen to nothing else for weeks haha. At the moment its Childish Gambino’s “Because the Internet” album. Also, if you’re into music, here’s a cool little playlist I created for a local website

9. Do you collaborate with any other artists?
That’s something I am really hoping to do a lot more of this year. I am collaborating with a very talented photographer soon on something I cannot spill the beans on yet.

10. Where can our readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Instagram and twitter: @ruschkadutoit and my website –which is getting a ridiculously cool facelift very soon. FB:

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Natalie Vice – Designer and Shop Owner

So before my trip to South Africa I was browsing the world wide web for some Christmas gift ideas when I came across the Sugar & Vice website. WOW, I was completely blown away at the amazing products and art work that capture the heart of Cape Town where I am originally from. Natalie mixes the old with the new in her designs and her slogan ‘decorate your life’ really captures everything you see on her site. Her story is a pretty amazing one too, inspiring all of us creatives to step out and just do what we love! I really enjoyed interviewing Natalie and her answers are pretty uplifting and have encouraged me to be bold and courageous in my gifts and abilities! Have a great Wednesday all! Dream big always! X  

1. How did Sugar and Vice start and what inspired the name?
The name Sugar and Vice was initially inspired from my surname ‘Vice’.  I really like the yin and yang element of two opposing elements positioned together like that of Sweet and Sour, Kind and Wicked etc. and that’s why I chose the sweet connotations of sugar to accompany the ‘vice’.  I am a firm believer that positive and negative forces attract and have made sure my product range offers that same balance as should the name.  I feel that it’s the perfect fit to describe my designs and product range such as the Innocent Dear against the Daring Sugar Skull.

I love beautiful things – things that are beautifully made, beautiful to look at and ones that create beautiful memories and feelings when shared with loved ones.

Growing up, I dreamed of the day when I would have the opportunity to make a home for myself to share with others. After school, I went globetrotting for a while before returning to South Africa to study interior decorating, graphic design and completing a mini MBA. I got myself a job and after hardly any blood, a fair bit of sweat and lots of tears I eventually got my own place.  In doing so, I inherited my grandmothers beautiful emboya couches and my great grandmother’s gorgeous dining room chairs and discovered modern vintage – the successful blend of old and new. My dream was becoming far more than just a reality and I embarked on a mission to create a home that would speak a thousand words.

It quickly dawned on me that there was a huge gap in the market for exquisitely unique yet affordable household trimmings and accessories. In order to find something original and gorgeous – I scraped and saved enough to be able to buy good quality fabric from a local supplier which I then had printed, I drew tattoo like patterns and had them printed on my scatter cushions and the old inherited furniture was upholstered.  I rolled up my sleeves even further and after a lot of very late nights, even earlier mornings and endless cups of tea – Sugar and Vice was launched.

S&V contains all the things I have in my home and all those that I would like to have and the journey has been electrifying. I create my illustrations by hand and then use my computer to digitize and transformed the artworks onto an array of different products available in my online shop.  As like my home, S&V will never be complete but rather a work in progress. I am constantly busy with on-going projects at home and at S&V – upgrading ideas, redecorating rooms, redesigning motifs, creating new artworks and reworking old ones.

Creativity, passion and attention to detail are the only things that go into my products. And being sourced and produced locally means no matter how deep my imagination goes, your wallet wont.

2. What inspires you most as an individual?
Everything around me, in nature I find the most inspiration – I get inspired by the colours and patterns.

3. Were you born in South Africa?

4. Do you create all the art for your online products and what is the process for this?
All my designs I have hand drawn, I scan it in and digitize it, then I get it printed on the various products.

5. Do you like to keep busy on new projects and what are you working on at the moment?
Yes I am constantly working on projects in my head. Always contemplating my next move. I am planning to bring in different colour ceramics and products. Also working on some new designs. Watch this space.

6. What is your most prized material possession?
That’s a tie between my recent Kindle that I got as a gift and my laptop, okay who am I kidding…my iphone!

7. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
Finding the time to get everything done that you want to do. To stop thinking about your business every waking second of the day and then dreaming about it at night.

8. What do you do in your spare time?
I love nature, going for hikes, drawing, cooking and reading.

9. What advice would you give to someone looking at taking their art to the next level?
Start small, believe in yourself, stop being hard on yourself and just do it.

10. Where do you see Sugar and Vice in the next 5 years?
I am dreaming big and would like to open a physical shop and workshop and be able to continue sending little parcels of happiness all over the globe.

11. Where can our readers find you online?
I sell on my own website and on the following platforms:


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