CN: Please introduce yourself, who you are and what you do?
Sinomonde Ngwane: My name is Sinomonde Ngwane and I am a third year student at Durban University Of Technology, studying towards a diploma in Graphic design. I am an illustrator as a hobby as well as a freelancer. I also make colouring books for adults and I run a blog.
CN: What got you into the design field?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Growing up I was always a creative person and I read alot of books which were very visual and I was always attracted to the images. I then started developing a love for art and took art in high school. I would really enjoy art and always found myself looking for new artists and drawing in my spare time. My love for art slowly started to move into design and combining both my fine art skills into the digital part of things. Which then led me to decide to pursue graphic design at varsity.
CN: What are your thoughts & experiences of the education system compared to real life practice as a designer/illustrator?
Sinomonde Ngwane: At varsity you are not encouraged to have a style and an opinion but rather you’re taught how to be a better employee. Which I disagree with because from my personal experience and study of illustration I have found that the illustrators that are successful are often those who have a style and who’s voice comes through their work. Varsity also often teaches you to overthink and be too conceptual which I find is sometimes what causes you to be less efficient in real life as a designer. Often the best ideas are the most simple. I believe that the education system of design is very flawed and needs to teach designers and illustrators how to have their own style and own voice. In the real world it is exactly what you need if you want to stand out.
CN: Yet you continue at varsity, why haven’t u dropped out?
Sinomonde Ngwane: I am black lol. My parents would never allow that and I believe that as much as education is not always the key sometimes you just have to get that diploma for security. As a black person some things you just have to do because life is not always on our side. The creative hustle can be harder without a diploma as much as a qualification doesn’t automatically make you a good designer and illustrator.
CN: What kind of work do you do outside varsity?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Outside of varsity I do commissions for people. I have my blog which I update regularly, I also make colouring books and during the holidays I work as a graphic designer. I am currently doing a collaborative project with a poet on a series of artworks for a poem that she wrote.
CN: Why colouring books for adults?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Colouring has been proven to be therapeutic for a lot of people. It relieves stress and anxiety and I believe that for people who sometimes feel bored with life it’s a good way to reconnect with your creative side even if you are not a creative person. Adults often have too much to worry about and colouring books provide a sort of escape.
CN: Can you share what inspired the collaboration with a poet?
Sinomonde Ngwane: When I started my blog it was all about doodles and poetry because those were the two things that I always found myself occupied with. I combined lines from my favourite poems and then doodled my interpretation of that line and I would post it on my blog. Hence why my blog and other social media pages are called “doodlesandpoety”. The poet (Sbo Ngubane) heard about about me from someone else and she contacted me and we met up and she shared what she had in mind for her poems.
CN: How do you balance varsity and commissions?
Sinomonde Ngwane: It gets really really hard. This being my final year it has been the worst. I have to stay up late at night to try and get commissions done and varsity work. The trick is just to use my time wisely and try to prioritise sometimes.
CN: How has your family reacted to your success in the creative industry?
Sinomonde Ngwane: They are proud of me and have supported my creativity since I started. They always think my work is amazing even when it isn’t.
CN: Whats the creative community like in Durban ?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Lol, it does not exist to be honest. People always work alone and there are barely any spaces for creative people to network like there are in Cape town and Johannesburg. The creative people are very talented but we do not have enough platforms to showcase our creativity. Plus we are very slept on by creatives in South Africa.
CN: Isn’t that an opportunity for you guys to galvanise yourselves and make the noise?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Yes it is but I guess people are afraid to start things here.A lot of creative people are full of doubts and are not brave enough to make things happen. And even when we do try to start things we don’t have any support so it quickly dies out.
CN: How have you handled the business side of your freelance life?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Most things I have had to learn myself and get advice from a friend of mine who is also a creative person in business. To be honest I still have a lot to learn, things like pricing my work still stress me out. In varsity they do not teach us about business so as a creative the business side can be very challenging to navigate on your own.
CN: You recently did a commission for Ogojiii, how was that experience?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Lol, It was actually an assignment for campus. It was not a real commission. I wish it was though. One of my goals is to be featured in Ogojiii. That is the reason why I chose to base my project on.
CN: Who are some of the creatives you are feeling?
Sinomonde Ngwane: I look up to people like Lady Skollie, David Tshabalala, Karabo Poppy Moletsane and Maria Magdalena.
CN: Any Durban creatives we need to know?
Sinomonde Ngwane: Yes,
Thulisizwe Mamba – http://lessstudioandco.com/
Lindo Msibi – http://bigfootartworks.tumblr.com/
Nontobeko Kunene – https://www.behance.net/snontwanakcf6d
Zamangwane Zikhali – https://www.instagram.com/bossofsmiles/
Shaquille Abdul Rasheed – http://semibold.co.vu/
CN: What do you think Durban needs to grow as a great creative city?
Sinomonde Ngwane: We need creative people to change their mindsets and start seeing what people in other provinces are doing and be inspired to take their creative careers seriously. We also need more spaces dedicated to honing our creativity.
CN: What does creativity mean to you?
Sinomonde Ngwane: To me creativity means finding your voice through whatever way that you are comfortable with, even if it doesn’t fit within the boxes which people have made for creatives.