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We had the great pleasure of interviewing Raymond Minnaar, a friendly and talented freelance fantasy illustrator and concept artist from South Africa.. He’ll jump on Facebook out of the blue and submits exceptional works of art and we though it’s about time to spread the awesomeness.


Draw as much as possible, and try to learn as much as possible, be a spunge, and try and meet some people in this industry

Raymond Minnaar

Fantasy Illustration & concept art, Freelance

What was your first job in the gaming field?

I Started out doing the odd thing here and there, but my first bigger job was a book cover I did, not really in the gaming field, but it’s still pretty awesome, soon after that I started doing some work for a few smaller indie game companies. which was a good way to get the feel for the type of work.

Where did you study?

I studied a bit of graphic and web design but nothing too serious, as for the art side of things, mainly online courses, I honestly can’t recommend an art institution, they’re often very overpriced,and the quality of knowledge is far from what you can get elsewhere, a far better option is to just go online schools or do mentorships, you can learn from the best artists in the world for a fraction of the price. aditionally the online community for artists is huge and you will definately bump into a few opportunites.

Do you draw on paper first or digital?

Its always good to sketch some ideas first of you want to create something, but normally I just stick to the digital side of things, I sketch, but not nearly as much as I should.

Personal Pro’s and Cons of being a freelancer?

I think this might be different for each person, it been a while since I’ve freelanced, but I can still remember a few things, Flexi hours f, your day is way more flexible, that can be a good thing and a bad thing, with a 9 to 5 you have a set amount of time and typically leave your home to go to work, there’s a big divide, and that’s a good thing, when you freelance from home there is no divide between work and home, so you either tend to work too much or too little, for some this might not be a problem, and for some it would. another thing would be the inconsistency of work, so it’s a good idea to get some savings before starting and making sure you have a few long term clients in the bag.

I started with a half day job, and half day freelancing, thats a good way to start.

Do you think it’s important to first get a job in an agency?

Not really, ive never worked with agencies so i cant really have a valid opinion.

When you get a commission from a client, what is the process from start to finish?

First thing would just be discussing some terms, signing a contract and just understanding what would be required, then some rough idea sketches, the client would choose one and we would go ahead with the art. Then, sending frequent updates until its finished, its a fairly simple thing that I for one got wrong so many times over.

Where did your passion for Fantasy and Sci-Fi creatures / settings come from?

Mainly games and movies from when i was a kid. more specifically conan, Diablo 1&2,Highlander, and then came along Morrowind and my life changed. i’ve never really read much as a kid, but thats changing now.

When creating characters from scratch, what process do you follow?

For me, its a bit tricky, i have a few different ways i can about this, but typically im starting with the basics, getting a proper pose and gesture to anything I do. working extremely rough and then slowly start adding things and polishing the art. Might not be the fastest process but its the one that works for me.

How do you overcome a creative block?

Well, typically whenever that kicks in, its either some external thing thats bothering me or its just the fact that im tired and need to rest a bit. so taking a break is a good idea, but if that problem persists I would look at whats distracting me and eliminate it,sometimes its just a good idea to go onto art station and look at what others are doing and get inspired, or watch a tutorial from your favourite artist or listen to a podcast.

Do you still have time to draw only for your pleasure?

Yes i guess i do, but at the moment everything i do has a purpose to it. but that doesnt mean it shouldnt be fun.

Favourite piece of work?

Oh thats a hard one, i honestly dont have a favourite from myself, i do however have favourites from other artists, but if i had to say its between the dragon chaser and the undead knight i painted some time ago

How many hours a day do you spend drawing?

It all depends on the work for that day, sometimes the whole day from 10 to 5 and then after work as well, sometimes not nearly as much as I should. For me there’s no definite answer

What would your advice be to aspiring Fantasy/SciFi illustrators in South Africa? (good resources, particular steps/milestones, channels they should follow)

To just draw as much as possible, and try to learn as much as possible, be a spunge, and try and meet some people in this industry, theres not allot of us here in south africa but almost everyone is friendly and willing to help out where they can, we have a group in johannesburg area, where we go out and draw in groups, its a great place to meet some awesome like minded people, here’s a link

What’s your experience with the Illustration Industry in SA, any advice for students?

Illustration in South Africa is not as big, but thats really not a problem, because we have internet and work generally comes from all over the globe, make sure you have an online presence, and you cant go wrong

A question from Lee Pistorius

“Are you aware of Gene Wolfe’s classic fantasy-science fiction Book of the New Sun, If not, what other fantasy and science fiction did you grow up on while living in South Africa?”

“Ha sadly no, I think he asked me that before. but I grew up not knowing much in the literature realm, ive read a few books since then, but nothing hectic, lord of the rings, Harry Potter, Witcher series, and then a few books here and there.” – Raymond

Where can people follow Raymond’s work?

Raymond has incredible galleries, we recommend you go have a look at the following galleries and social media platforms

Social Channels:

Thank you Raymond for your time, really great to hear about your insights in South Africa and the industry!

Another big thank you to everyone who submitted their questions!


Ruan Smit

Written by Ruan Smit

Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.