It’s time again for our new and exciting feature on the blog, all about the amazing girl bosses here in Taipei. Our next "Fierce Female in Taipei" is none other than the extremely talented and well-known South African illustrator, Roelien Booysen of Unrouxly Illustration.
For those of you not yet familiar with her and her amazing art work, she is a South African illustrator who moved to Taiwan about 8 years ago. Her work has been featured in the books of various publishers, magazines, and even once on the catwalk in Venice! She is also a teacher at a public school in Taiwan, and lives with her fiance, a ceramic artist and designer, in a little mountain house up on Yangmingshan where they get creative in their studios overlooking the lush greenery of the mountains. Roelien also has a passion for cooking, and gets just as creative in the kitchen as she does in her drawings.
She is also the creative mastermind behind A Style Alike's beautiful logo and illustration (which you can see below) and creatively put together this artwork that represents us and our blog's style in the best (and most accurate!) way possible. Roelien is truly talented and we can highly recommend her as a designer if you're looking for something that is unique, interesting and sure to catch the eye.
Well, without further ado, scroll down and see our interview with the lovely Roelien, and find out more about who she is, what she does, and get a look into their lives up on Yangmingshan in Taipei.
Could you tell us a bit about who you are, what you do, and where you are in the world right now?
I am an illustrator, yes, drawing pictures is my career. I have been living in Taipei for 8 years and I also teach kids – art, when I can – and pursue travel illustration whenever I get the chance. Oh, and I am getting married in January, (finally, according to my mom). That is big news, right?
What was it that made you start drawing?
I’ve drawn since I was very little – it was encouraged by my father who had a very good eye for detail. We had no television in the house – so we found creative ways with koki’s and paper to keep us busy.
Were you always interested in it, or was there something else before that you wanted to do?
Always! No, thank you.
And how would you describe your work ?
My work is based on solid observational line drawing, ink on paper. I think there is strength in incorporating mistakes and imperfections as a stylized element. It represents life, really. I add color with watercolors; the more the medium creates space for accidents, the more I like it.
What is the best piece of advice you have, in regards to illustration or otherwise?
Don’t worry too much about where you are or where you are heading, focus on the quality of your work.
What does the future hold for Unrouxly Illustration? Any projects you’re working on you want to talk about?
Hopefully, opportunities to collaborate with other creators. I would love to do an illustrated recipe book of all the places I have traveled to. There might be something coming up with a well-known South African wine and food commentator that I am excited about, but for now it’s wedding illustration all the way.
Also where can people find out about you, see your work and buy your stuff?
You can follow me on instagram @unrouxly, view more work here, email me for commissions at email@example.com, or buy some prints on Etsy here.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
It’s very isolating. It’s basically you on a little illustration island. So, it’s hard to keep up with industry standards and not underestimate your worth.
What has been your most successful project and why?
That’s difficult to answer, as success is measured in so many different ways. I guess the book Tuistafel I drew in collaboration with Errieda du Toit – a national food treasure in South Africa – was up there, as it was exactly suited to my style and she was a fantastic person and foodie to work with. Seeing your work on a hardcover on the Christmas shelf in Exclusive Books in South Africa, is an awesome feeling.
What kind of illustrator projects are you most interested in?
Food! I love drawing recipes and depicting the shared joy and comfort food gives us.
What other hobbies or interests do you have, and what do you like to do in your free time?
I love reading, cooking and socializing with wine in hand. With the priority in reverse order.
What or who is you number 1 inspiration?
Time. I wish I could have more of it. Also inanimate everyday objects that people love and form bonds with. Food and produce in unknown locations. Quaint spaces and places people occupy. Vintage tea sets and cake.
Your fiance is also an artist. Tell us a little more about him and what he does.
De Waal is a potter, he has been doing pottery for many years and he loves the techniques and inspiration Taiwan has contributed to his work. You can view his work on Instagram at @dewaalman
And finally, for those who are perhaps interested in pursuing illustration, what are a few tips you can give them?
You have to REALLY love it to pursue it long term. Also, get another source of income – it kills the joy if you are relying exclusively on illustration to pay the bills, and the clients are scarce. Never do free work for “exposure” or pay to be published.
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Roelien! Below you can find the links to her online shop, her website and also her Instagram account. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Roelien at email@example.com for design work and quotations.
Click here to visit Unrouxly Ilustration's online shop
Click here to see more of Unrouxly Illustration's work
Click here to follow @unrouxly on Instagram