Ever since I was a little girl clutching a box of Crayola drawing has made me happy. The thing is that most kids love illustration and art. Humans are naturally creative; the problem is that a lot of us stop drawing and creating when we grow up. Lucky for me, I never quite grew up. Literally and figuratively speaking. (At 1,54m I still shop in the children’s’ department!) I also never stopped creating and ended up making a career out of it. I’ve been illustrating professionally for the past 15 years and for a long time, I’ve wanted to teach. This year I finally made it happen. People often think that when it comes to art, you are either talented or not. I somewhat disagree. Yes, there are some very talented people out there for whom drawing seems to come naturally. Yay, for them! Like anything, though, illustration can be taught, and with practice, you can create beautiful art. And most importantly have fun in the process.
The trick is to put away your inner critic and instead imagine you have an inner Golden Retriever, gushing over how great you are. Forget having to draw realistically. I don’t. When I was younger, I spent many hours practising life drawing. Even when I was pretty good at it, I never really enjoyed it, I found the expectation of ‘getting it right’ stressful. And merely drawing what I was seeing didn’t feel very creative to me. I prefer the creative freedom of illustration. I love being able to express ideas and feelings. And I love that I don’t have to get it ‘right.’ Teaching has been super interesting to me. I have to reverse engineer my process and really think about how I go about coming up with ideas and expressing myself, then figure out how to convey that to others. I love showing people that they are more creative and skilled than they imagined. I’m continuously surprised at the amazing illustrations by students who claimed that they ‘can’t draw’. I teach at Bright Studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. All workshops are R450 for a 3-hour session. I like to keep classes relatively small so that everyone can have some one-on-one instruction. I have all the materials you might need, pencils, pens, watercolours, inks and beautiful paper. There is no need to go and buy stuff, just bring your inner Golden Retriever to cheer you on. At each class, you’ll also receive a small gift of my favourite pen, cute sketchbooks or signed art prints depending on the workshop. If you would like to join one of my workshops you can go to www.brightday.co.za and click on BOOK NOW or email me on karen.vermeul@gmail.com for more information or bookings. And right now you can win a spot in one of my workshops! Go to www.karenvermeulen.com and sign-up to my newsletter to enter. Once you’re on my mailing list, you’ll also stay in the loop of all upcoming workshops and events. Competition closes 1 November 2019. I hope to see you in class soon.

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