Frané Els is a character designer, illustrator and animator from Potchefstroom with a bright future ahead of her. She’s currently completing her fourth year of study at North-West University, and recently bagged herself a Gold Craft Loerie at this year’s ceremony for her experimental typeface, UBUZU (which is the Zulu for ‘faces’).
Last year was a defining year in Frané’s education, as she not only decided to branch into multi-media design from graphic design, but also discovered her love of character illustration. Armed with a giant Moleskin and inspired by her second year lecturer Khaya Mtshali, Frané started sketching characters every day, and slowly honing her own personal illustration style.
“I love illustration, because there are no boundaries. If you want to draw a man with a beard made out of a sheep, you can. Animation is even better, because you can make all those things move! It adds so much to something when it moves, twirls and splashes!”
With this new world of multi-media have also come challenges. Frané says that she’s had to negotiate a steep learning curve on her way to learning how to animate, code websites and build games. But this challenge has been well worth it.
As for graphic design work, Frané is a fan of clean lines and simple shapes, a side affect of what she calls her chronic perfectionism. “I love vectors, because you can achieve neat lines and perfect shapes and never have to get your hands dirty” she explains, but adds that a balance is always needed between structure and spontaneity.
Frané is inspired by the passion many local creatives show for their craft. “The highlight of doing what I do is definitely finishing something and feeling happy with the result” she says. Her recent Gold Loerie Award is proof of hard work paying off.
As she charges towards the finish line and whatever exciting thing happens next, Frané reflects on the key things that she has learnt during her studies, which are: “You can never know enough shortcuts! Also, rulers and guides go a long way and by watching others work, you pick up on a lot of simple things you might not have known”.
We look forward to checking in with Frané again during our Graduate Series at the end of the year.
See more of Frané’s work on her Behance profile: www.behance.net/FraneEls
Elgar the Colourless