joined this great adventure called "life"
in the Autumn of 1971, in the city of Cape Town,
South Africa, the most beautiful place on earth.
Regrettably my birth did not co-inside with an extraordinary
or inexplicable global phenomena. There was no Kryptonian
meteor shower that left scientists baffled, no blazing
bright star leading wise men and shepherds, no paparazzi
hiding in the bushes outside the hospital ward,
no news coverage and no fireworks. Despite this
overwhelming lack of a proper welcome, it turned
out to be a rather exciting and creative journey.
I was fortunate enough to grow up all over the country
-Oudtshoorn, Smithfield, Malmesbury and Pietermaritzburg-
which makes me truly, and proudly, South African.
Like any (geeky) pre-teenager I spent most of my
childhood with my nose buried in comic books, with
Archie, Asterix, Richie Rich and Andy Capp being
among my favourites. The first ever movie I remember
seeing was Superman The Movie starring Christopher
Reeves and till this day the Man of Steel remains
my greatest hero and inspiration.
At school it came as no surprise that I completely
sucked at any organised sport that involved throwing,
catching or chasing a ball and soon turned to the
cultural side of extramural activities. According
to a very reliable source (my mom) I was always
occupying myself with some or other form of creative
project. (And till this day I can keep myself entertained
in front of a white wall). I especially loved drawing
and many of my schoolbooks sported margins filled
o the brim with sketches and illustrations.
It was only in High School, roundabout Grade10,
when my passion for Cartooning and Illustration
really took off. This was when two rather fortunate
1. Like any young artist I was frustrated with the
lack of skill when it came to the correct execution
of the Human Anatomy, but probably more so by the
constant criticism which always tend to follow my
amateurish sketches ("The arms are too long...
The eyes are too far apart... too big... too this...
2. The Simpsons first appeared on the small screen
as short vignettes on the Tracey Ullman Show.
Lightning struck! Inspired by Homer & Co I started
to deliberately draw characters that were completely
out of proportion. I made the eyes too big, the
arms too long and the boobs large enough for it
to have its own atmosphere.
In short, thanks to The Simpsons and sheer spite
questionable art turned into great cartoons!
And what an incredible world Cartooning and Illustration
opened up to me! It's a world where anything is
possible. A world with no rules and no boundaries,
where people can fly, animals can talk and one's
imagination has no limits.
Meanwhile, back on earth, I finished school and
set off to the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein
to become a teacher. This plan lasted just about
as long as microwave popcorn in my kitchen cupboard
and I decided that true joy can only be found in
pursuing a more creative career. Since I found myself
operating within a very limited pool of "creative
career" options, I opted for Graphic Design
to fill the void and put food on the table. In 1997
I obtained my N.Dip.Graphic Design at the Central
University of Technology and was also truly blessed
by being a nominee in the Annual SDSA Design Achievers
With my CV typed and Diploma photocopied I started
climbing, what turned out to be, a rather promising
and eventful career in the Commercial Arts. Still
based in the capital of the Free State, I worked
in two prominent Design Houses under very talented
Graphic Designers, one of which completely supported
my cartooning abilities and provided me with many
opportunities to develop this skill.
During this time I was introduced to Calvin &
Hobbes and (to this day) frequently loose myself
in the incredible technique, sheer talent and exquisite
wit of Bill Watterson. I am completely inspired
by his incorporation of full-page illustration with
basic cartooning. The Design Industry, however,
started to take its toll and after five years of
mass production, unreasonable deadlines, overtime
and idiotic changes to great designs, I woke up
one morning knowing that the time has come to move
In 2003 I entered the academic side of Graphic Design
as the Institutional Officer and Lecturer at a Design
School in the Free State. Over the next three years
I lectured at two private Design Schools as well
as the Central University of Technology. I lectured
in various subjects including the History of Graphic
Design, Design Illustration, Applied Concepts &
Visual Skills, Graphic Communications as well as
the Software Programmes, Photoshop and Freehand.
During this time I also started to present the odd
Cartoon Workshop on the side. Because of the fact
that I had to teach myself how to toon, I promised
myself to one day pay it forward and help those
who find themselves in a similar situation.
was my main subject, though, the History of Graphic
Design (which focussed on the History of 20th
Century Art movements) that ignited a new Passion.
I was (and still am) completely fascinated by
the influence History has on art and found myself
captivated by the origins of the Design elements
I had been using blindly up to then. The concept
that everything has indeed "been done before"
intrigued me tremendously and I started to draw
inspiration from those masters who, in a certain
sense, "did it first". I am still greatly
inspired and influenced by Art movements such
as Art Nouveau (especially the meticulous organic
detail in the works of Alfonso Mucha), and, of
course, Pop Art (especially the bold, brightly
coloured works of Roy Lichtenstein).
It was more or less during this time in my career
that The CrissCrossStudio first saw the light.
Overwhelmed by the fact that no discipline stands
entirely alone my studio is dedicated to the "crisscrossing"
of those disciplines I am fondest of: Painting,
Illustration and Cartooning. And a new vision
started taking shape. I imagined them big... really
Bloemfontein and I finally ran out of gas at the
end of 2006 when, armed with the slogan, "Sometimes
one just needs to jump and build your wings on
the way down", I followed my heart back to
the Mother City with one aim in mind: a Career
And it's here where the CCS found both its roots
and its wings.
I spent the first seven years working as a Store
Manager for a large Art Supply Store in the Western
Cape, a gig that turned out to be quite the blessing.
My day-job placed me right where the action was.
I met the most amazing and inspiring artists,
gained priceless knowledge about art-making, built
up quite the extensive network, and made new friends.
And then, of course, there was the Staff Discount!
Oh, yes, one should mention the Staff Discount
used it wisely and well.
after-hours, once I was done playing Retail Roy
for the day, Creativity continuously florished!!!
Evenings, weekends, days off, they were all dedicated
to working on and building "the dream".
At one point even my car served as a studio as
I drew, inked and "watercoloured" in
the early morning hours between commuting and
In 2014 ToonSchool made its reappearance, all
because of one single young lady's enthusiasm
and eagerness to acquire the skill. So, in the
beginning there was only one
During the same year I also finally mustered up
enough courage to take the inevitable leap from
employed to self-employed!
days I pretty much explore everything that can
originate from a pencil.
I paint some, I draw some, I toon some.
love what I do.
love how I do it.
love being Creative.
I am truly, truly blessed.
the Creative Force be with You!!!