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Featured: Emma Maria Strydom

Emma Maria Strydom


Emma Maria Strydom works as a designer at 140 BBDO and creates fantastic illustrations in her spare time. Much like a photograph, Emma’s drawings exist to capture her memories. She draws scenes from her life, creating a collection of illustrated memories instead of a photo album which pull her right back to the very thoughts she had at the time. “I dream of living in the French Victorian times,” she says, “therefore I draw my memories in this decorative style. I adore the glamour and decadance of that time.”


What and where did you study?

I studied Graphic Design at the Stellenbosch  Academy of Design and Photography.


What did you want to be growing up?

I really wanted to be a Pathologist.


Tell us a bit more about yourself and your journey so far…

I always loved to sit on my mom or dads lap while they played cards. I would draw them and their friends playing and getting drunk. They never wanted to take photos. Plus cameras were scary back then. So, to remember the shenanigans I drew it. Today things haven’t changed much. I still draw friends and family getting drunk. I never thought my work was particularly good. Realism was the thang growing up and I just didn’t want to do that. I’m just fascinated by documenting my perception. Some could get terribly offended by this but that’s what makes it better than a photograph. Now I can remember fantastic moments and all the emotions that came along with it. I think my journey has only just started.


Did you always know that you would pursue a career in a creative field?

Pretty much, yes.


What three words would you use to describe your illustrations?

Decadent, grandeur and whimsical.


What mediums do you use?

All and any kind of black markers (even if they’re dry), black fine liners (living or dead) and ink.


When drawing, what’s going through your mind?

Well because I’m essentially reminiscing, my mind plays the scene I’m drawing over until I move on to the next thing. Kinda reinforcing the memory of it.


What are some of the things that influence and inspire you?

Roald Dahl and French/Victorian times.


What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Go with confidence.


One thing you can’t go a day without?

Bath time.


And finally, tell us about your plans going forward…

I don’t have new goals set out yet. Well I just want to produce the best work I possibly can. Then things can only look good going forward.


See more:

Photographs by Greg Maxwell.



Emma Maria Strydom

Emma Maria Strydom

Emma Maria Strydom

Emma Maria Strydom


Emma Maria Strydom

Emma Maria Strydom





Emma Maria Strydom


Emma Maria Strydom

Emma Maria Strydom

Between 10 and 5