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Q&A: Jaco Haasbroek


We chatted to Cape Town-based illustrator and designer Jaco Haasbroek about his energetic style, his SPCA campaign and how we came to see his designs on Modern Family. When did you know you wanted to become an illustrator? I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist. I've always enjoyed drawing and did not really make a conscious decision to go into illustration. I guess it kind of happened naturally. You’re well known for your quirky T-shirts. Which one of your T-shirts did you enjoy designing the most, and why? I've enjoyed making most of my designs and it's difficult to choose one. However, I quite liked the process of illustrating my 'Z-A: Movie Characters' design. It was fun choosing the different characters and trying to capture their features using a very basic style. Only after finishing it did I consider applying it to a T-shirt. Your T-shirts have been worn by characters on hit TV shows like Modern Family. Tell us how this came about and where else we can spot your popular tees? Most of my T-shirt designs are printed by an American company called Threadless, which I discovered in 2007. The process is as follows: You submit your designs to their site, the community gives it a score out of 5, and based on the overall score and comments, Threadless then selects which designs they are going to print. I'm not exactly sure how my designs ended up on the show, but I'm assuming that Threadless has an agreement or relationship with the network, seeing as a few of their shirts have appeared on the show. I'm just happy that two of those designs happened to be mine. Take us through the creative campaign you recently designed for the SPCA. I was approached by Bester Burke to make the illustrations and design the poster for the campaign. They supplied the concept and had a good idea of what they wanted. I did however, have the freedom to illustrate it in the style that I thought would work best. It's a great campaign and I really enjoyed working on it. Where do you draw inspiration from when illustrating? It's quite difficult knowing when inspiration will strike. I feel you have to be open to new things. I like making observations, looking for connections and changing my perspective to try and fuel new ideas. It's a process of exploration. Inspiration can come from unlikely sources, it can take on many forms, and you have to put yourself out there and allow it to find you. 6. What are your plans for 2014? I would like to focus on applying my existing designs to new products while continuing to make new work. I have a basic idea of where I would like to go, but am also open to changes that might cross my path at any given moment. I'll be looking at new collaborations and maybe broadening the range of work that I do. To view more of Jaco’s illustrations and designs, visit jacohaasbroek.com. Interviewed by Lindi Brownell Meiring