21 Female Artists in 2021 – South African Illustrators to Watch

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We don’t know about you, but we’re tired of hearing that we don’t know any good female artists in the industry! South Africa is full of talented (and underappreciated) female illustrators who deserve way more recognition.

These women feature on this list because we felt their work speaks for itself. Plus, we love sharing news about artists we discover. Especially those who make us take a few steps back and have a cup of coffee while we admire their work.

Over the years, art has been a way for all genders to express themselves. The ability to create is one worth admiring and writing about. At Pixelsmith Studios we love South African Illustrators and want to do everything we can to promote them internationally (this is why we started our digital marketplace after all).

But enough about us, here are some phenomenal artists to check out who also happen to be women.

Kabelo Maaka (Cabblow studios)

Kabelo Art

Image from Instagram

Specialty: Animation

Kabelo definitely stands out from the crowd. But what makes her most interesting to us, is her podcast, The Business of Animation, and her webtoon, RISE.

We are happy that we were introduced to this artist’s work and we’re definitely going to be following her Podcast, as we also believe in building your business in this industry.

Keiara Reddy (Mokemonk)

Keiara Reddy art

Image taken from Artstation

Speciality: Concept Art

Keiara is a highly talented Concept Artist and also one of our Discord community members.

She’s been active in a few voice chats, where she also helped guide some of the art being made by providing constructive critique.

We definitely love having her in our Discord community and we look forward to more of her work!

Tasmin Naidoo

Image from Instagram

Specialty: Illustrator/Comic Artist

Tasmin is the creator of “Avocat and His Guacrocket”, a really fun comic if you’re looking for a good read.

We first met Tasmin briefly at Comic Con 2019 where we saw her work. She fits perfectly into this illustration feature, and creates some amazing work.

Ashe Ah-Sing

Image taken from Instagram

Specialty: Colorist / Illustrator

Ashe’s work really stands out for us, as we love her style. It’s so clean and her linework is neat, something we really love in good artwork.

Some of her pieces that stand out for us, come down to the one of Stitch above and this take on the old propaganda poster that speaks Victorian

Michelle Kao

Image from Artstation

Specialty: Concept Artist

Michelle is a bubbly personality, a pleasure to chat to and her work reflects that. We met her at the first CTIAF where she exhibited and sold some of her prints to the festival attendees.

Since then, we’ve seen her just put out amazing work that has just got better and better. We’re certain that her work to come will blow you away as much as we are blown away.

Gabriella Jardine

Image from Instagram

Speciality: Animator / Illustrator

Gabriella’s work is really pleasant to watch and we found ourselves watching a few of the videos on her portfolio site, admiring the smooth transitions and attention to detail in every piece.

Karien Barnes

Image taken from karienbarnes.com

Specialty: Fantasy art

We don’t often see a fine artist that pulls off the work at this level. Let alone, our own Neal or even Ruan…*cough* has the capacity to sit and finish a piece – for us to have found Karien’s work, was a massive inspiration and motivation.

Sasha Lee Coleman

Image from Instagram

Specialty: Concept art/Fantasy art

Sasha is a friendly artist, who we’ve spoken to on a few occasions at conventions and we really love her work.

One of our interactions with her was when Neal had an upstart artist at his table at UCon, when it was hosted at GrandWest Casino. She looked at his work, paying attention to his portfolio. Then proceeded to guide the new padawan with sound advice on how to grow as an artist and build his skills. Thank you Sasha.

Kim Bussaihn

Image taken from Artstation

Speciality: Illustrator / Animator

We met Kim at Comic Con 2019 and waved each time we walked past her stall. She’s super friendly and we’ve always been able to have a good conversation.

She’s one of the artists we admire for being able to balance two skills, each a speciality in its own, being Animation and Illustration.

Karien Benz

Image taken from instagram

Specialty: Animator

Karien’s work shows her passion for her craft in the flow and her illustrations’ facial expressions that are so relatable. She did work on two of the feature films produced by Triggerfish Animation, “Zog” and “The Snail and the Whale”.

At the time of writing, she is enrolled on a scholarship at Gobelins l’école de l’image in Paris. From what we’ve heard, this is a feat in itself!

Tammy Roussouw

Image taken from rtammy45.wixsite.com/tammyunicorn

Specialty: Animation/ Illustrator

Tammy’s work is really great in itself and it’s no small venture to be good at three specializations. What we love the most about her work is her website’s bio, as that is where we thought to be rather unique. Being in digital marketing, we rarely come across a personalized bio that stands out.

To put it in perspective, her bio claims that she has an unbridled love for unicorns and she’s a Star Wars fan too. All admirable qualities.

Valentina Phillips

Valentina Phillips

Image taken from Artstation

Speciality: Illustrator

Valentina is always fun to chat with, we’ve had a few conversations with her at conventions where she’s always got a good joke to crack and adds vibrant energy to the area around her.

Her work is just next level and we always enjoy seeing her art pieces when we see her at a table.

Cassandra Lee

Image taken from Artstation

Speciality: Concept art / Illustrator

Cassandra is a talented Concept Artist, at the time of writing, working at Drop Bear Bytes.

She also has her own webcomic, called Wool Gathering.

Emilia Glover (Pawlikowska)

Image taken from Facebook

Specialty: Concept fantasy art, now tattooist

Emilia is one of the artists who we’ve seen at conventions a few times and we really enjoy seeing her work. She’s currently working at Sally Mustang Tattoos as a tattoo artist and her work is amazing. Now you know who you can call for a great tattoo!

Marlize Eckard

Image taken from Behance

Specialty: Concept art / Illustration

Marlize is a freelance concept artist and illustrator who’s done amazing work for studios like Luma Animation. What stands out for us, is her work using geometric shapes.

Katya Wagner

Image taken from Instagram

Specialty: Illustrator

Katya works full-time at This Is Machine, a digital creative agency, and then still manages to do illustration in her spare time. She works mainly in digital media but has been known to dabble with ink every once in a while.

Kay Carmichael

Image taken from kaycarmichael.co.za

Specialty: storyboard and comic book artist

Kay Carmichael is a storyboard artist from Cape Town, South Africa, and the creator of the comic, Sophie the Giant Slayer.

We’ve seen her a few times at events and conventions, but that is just the tip of the iceberg on all her accomplishments.

Jessi Ochse

Image taken from Artstation

Speciality: Concept Artist / Illustrator

We know Jessi’s work from online interactions and seeing her post amazing art of the stories she’s read or watched.

Her style is truly unique. And her work on depicting the Mistborn Series and her take on the characters from Elantris, just bring those literature pieces to life in such a vibrant and lively way that we felt we were in that moment. It also made our experiences of reading these pieces so much richer!

Tessa Wessels

tessa wessels artwork

Image from Artstation

Specialty: Concept Artist

Tessa Wessels is a Concept Artist from Cape Town, South Africa whose work has a lot of focus on dinosaurs, abandoned buildings and robots. These are three topics we love!

Bianca Roux

Bianca Roux artwork

Image from Artstation

Specialty: 3D Character Artist

Bianca Roux is a 3D Character Artist from Cape Town, South Africa. At the time of writing, she is working at Drop Bear Bytes.

Her work is absolutely stunning and we first came across her work, when she posted an art piece for a challenge, of a character that uses a crucifix-themed rifle – SO COOL.

Robyn Daly

robyn daly art

Image taken from Instagam

Specialty: 3D Character Artist

Robyn Daly is one of our Discord community members and a teacher in the arts of animation, illustration and very knowledgeable on the business side of animation and this industry.

She’s also active in the community of the rookies, providing both feedback and reviews

What are You Waiting For? Go Follow these Female Artists!

Not literally though, we mean online. If you’re wondering how you can support some of these wonder women, go give them a follow on their socials, like their posts, and share their work. There’s no time like the present.

Curious about more awesome artists, head over to our artist interviews and listen to Neal ask all the questions you’ve been dying to know the answers to.

Know any other worthy creators, send us an email and we’ll see what we can do about adding them to a list like this one.

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