© Christine Pienaar
It was a casual drawing while on holiday that changed the course of Renske Werner's career. A talent that came naturally —and was, therefore, discounted by the artist— suddenly sprung into her forefront. From her Vancouver studio, the illustrator answers Enliven's questions about inspiration and workspace.
What made you want to become an illustrator?
I became an illustrator because it was a passion I really wanted to pursue. I have always been drawn to making and crafting and while I love the process, the results of painting or making jewelry were never satisfying. This changed three years ago when I felt inspired to draw something with only a black felt-tip pen and a piece of paper at my disposal. I drew one of those wicker-woven hanging chairs, a furniture piece that was on my wishlist. Then I added some art on a wall, a drawer unit in the background, and cozy blankets and pillows in the chair.
“The results of painting or making jewelry were never satisfying”
The simple mediums of pen and paper really spoke to me and the fine-tipped pen allowed me to explore my love for detail. It was this simple drawing that marked the start of my path to becoming an illustrator. I didn’t stop liking the scene I drew and that was a significant first.
Let's talk about the workspace. Do you have your own studio, where to 'be in peace', or are you sharing it with other creators?
I work at a co-working space for creatives. It is a beautiful space with lots of plants, white walls and white floors. The community of creatives, the collaborations and opportunities I got to be a part of because of this space have been imperative in my pursuit to become an illustrator.
What are the pros and cons of being an illustrator in Vancouver?
It's great. There are pockets of creative communities all over the city, but since the overall local creative community is quite small, collaborations are often the norm. There are loads of markets for crafters and makers and everyone seems to offer support where possible.
What inspires you the most?
I enjoy noticing the details in the environment around me, whether it's how leaves on a tree look in a certain light, or how I perceive a painting in a museum. People inspire me too - their stories, their lifestyle. Sometimes I need a dose of Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration, other times I simply start drawing and I let the process inspire me.
How do you describe your illustrations?
As a delightful pause. I want to evoke a happy feeling with my work. This feeling can be found in the details of my work, or a playful naiveness in the perspective. I want to create a pause in people's busy days. My illustrations are predominantly line-work in black and white, with a colorful exception.
What materials do you use for your work?
Before I used fine-tipped felt pens and paper, but I transitioned to drawing in Procreate on the iPad. It's a wonderful way to work digitally, without losing the tactile process of working analog. All I need is my iPad, my Apple Pencil and I am good to go.