24 Styles: FUN

grobby | icing | paper | stylised


When the meaning is clear and we can play a little, these fun styles are a change from the ‘normal’ illustrations.

Grobby is versatile for emotion and humour, especially for young adults. Younger readers may think another child drew it… and badly at that.

Icing style can evoke traditional African embroidery as an alternative to the Legend style. It can also resemble actual icing.

Paper can be graphic and elegant, good for simple concepts. Or It can lift dry or earnest material without being flippant.

Stylised covers quite a broad range of styles – exaggerated and quirky styles that fit nowhere else. 

| icing | paper | stylised



Grobby is the newest and thus the 24th style.

Grobby was inspired by Kristofer Strom’s videos and art

This new style has very little to do with either. But watching his evocative animations somehow freed me up to do something new.

Back in the 80′s I was exposed to comic art, much of it very avant-garde. The artists were as obscure as they were talented. I remember protesting, ‘I just can’t draw as ugly as that.’ I didn’t understand at all…

More recently, there was a glimmer of what they were all about. Check out the children’s drawings for ‘My Children’s Act’. There was a charm there I just couldn’t replicate, no matter how I tried. Probably, I never will. But the Grobby style brings so much fun to my work. Local high school learners seemed to enjoy it too.

All work on this page was done with Kate Beaumont for Cambridge University Press


grobby | icing | paper | stylised


Icing: a deceptively naïve simplicity.

The Icing style emphasising simple lines by embossing them.

It can also look like traditional African embroidery. As such, it’s been used for a title page for a school textbook featuring aspects of South African life. It doesn’t appear often, but sometimes it’s the only style for a certain effect or mood. It is more delicate than the Legend style, which can seem too heavy, with its black outlines. Ethnic can also be subtle, after all. In fact – in the African culture, with its intricate customs and etiquette, subtleties rule.

In South Africa, we have many cultures, far more than the eleven official languages. It’s always a joy to borrow from other traditions and to honour them. Quite apart from that, this style is colourful and decorative – just right for the maps commissioned by the University of Cape Town, for people to find their way to and around the campuses.

The menu was one of the props in an ad for a toy ice-cream making machine. Here the style shows confectionery decorations and fantasy- with a child-like, playful character. The icing style was perfect for the menu drawings. The African embroidery possibilities came much later.

The Icing style can combine many elements, just like collages. Many different things can be knitted together or linked with one dominant style. Each is still its own picture, though, in the ‘Intro’ page showing different elements of South African life. The purpose is different from that of the Fotomelt technique, where many elements come together to form one picture or scene.

Clients whose work appears here includes: Shuter and Shooter (Pty) Ltd; Axis Films, UCT

grobby | icing | paper stylised




Paper art covers a fairly wide spectrum of ‘looks’. 

The extra dimension is what makes the Paper style different from the Cut-out style.

It may appear to be the Cut-out style with a drop shadow but there is an effort to make it look like paper. Sometimes I add a linen grain. The shadow is usually part of it. One can also imitate a crayon or pencil line on it, or a ragged edge using the highly gifted computer only. In some cases, actual paper is photographed. 

The idea of using old or stained paper is a good way to get away from the constant digital feel. The work of e.g. Patrick Latimer, Cape Town, has inspired me to play with that technique more often.

 In other examples of this style, from my Dappleshades paper decor range, the paper becomes a 3D sculpture evoking foliage or a cascade of bubbles or stones.  There’s no reason not to use this as an illustration technique as well. I’ve used it in animation to construct a paper moth called ‘Tallulah (a very small love story)’

grobby | icing | paper | stylised


Stylised is a perfect style for adding some abstract qualities, a mood, humour, a concept.

Stylised is all about fun: very minimal, or complex and exaggerated.

As you will see from the examples, this style is great for illustrations that can be just about lines, only about shapes, or exaggerations of form.  

The subject can also be quite serious, so use this style to lighten the mood but still get the message across.

It is probably safe to say that this is a style with some form of exaggeration, whether in a complex direction, emphatically minimal or decorative.