Last year, while I was finishing my PhD thesis, I had become a shell of a human: I had just spent the last of my official funding and the end wasn’t in sight. Not only was I broke, but I became very depressed because I wasn’t drawing anymore. My actual passion has always been cartooning and character design.


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My friends suggested that I do illustrated commissions to raise money and to motivate me to keep drawing. The response was out of this world! I’ve since completed over 100 portraits of families, friends, lovers and pets, and am pretty much drawing really special, personal, out-there, oddball portraits for people who love each other, full-time! If that’s not a cool job, I don’t know what is!

People send me photographs and briefs (which are often suuuper detailed), I interpret them, patch the pictures together and create these very posed portraits. Often people tell me it’s impossible for them to get all their family members together for a photo – so my drawings help people overcome long-distance, busy schedules, and even commemorate sadly departed pets.

I draw on Hahnemuhle Bamboo paper with Pentel’s pocketbrush for the linework, and do colour with a mix of copics, acrylics inks, gouache, koi markers, sharpies and magic markers.

You can follow my work on instagram @nannaventer, and all of my commissions under the hashtag #nannacommish

More info: nannaventer.co.za

@bee_helpful and @christie666

The Benadé family

@sanmarie_durand & @duvandurand

Michelle & @chef_rikku

Anna & Iranza

@hunter.f.thompson (@janesaysdesign) & @ryanmcmanusfoto

@thestartumproject & @baobabjo_

@madamjeanne & Richard Marshall

@francoisvancoke, @laliewild, #alexlila and #ringovancoke

Marais & Nicola, Christien & Neels, Henk& Celeste & Bjorn, the LeFergs

@danelmeow and @lilleyames

@sheilamadgeb & Ziggy