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 http://10and5.com/2014/05/08/nowplaying-ruschka-du-toit/
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 ruschkadutoit.com –which is getting a ridiculously cool facelift very soon. FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ruschka-du-Toit-Design-and-Illustration/119852434719247