There’s an underlying sense of humor to Fran Labuschagne’s character design. Though her characters lack facial expressions – indeed, they lack faces at all – they manage to capture the human experience at its very essence. In one image, a couple is seen riding a tandem bicycle, the woman carefully balancing an icecream cone in one hand and a picnic blanket in the other; another image shows a couple clinking champagne flutes in celebration. Images like those capture the small moments of joy in life.
“My work is very detail-oriented,” reflected the South African illustrator in an interview with Ballpitmag, “and I’ve come to realize that I see small details in the real world. I see patterns on trees, faces on top of mountains, I notice the colors of a seagull’s feet. My work brain and life brain is someone forming one.”
Each piece begins with some light sketching. “Sketching out an idea first can be very helpful,” says Labuschagn, “as you aren’t trying to make it look good, but rather attempting to get the idea out your head.” Being the perfectionist that she is, Labuschagne prefers digital mediums to more traditional ones, with her favorite program being Adobe Illustrator. “Working with a medium that enables you to align points and object with one another is quite enjoyable for me,” she admits.
Once the sketch is approved by her clients, she dives into the final render on Illustrator. Her work – a mix of organic and rigid shapes – also packs a punch, when it comes to its color story. Sometimes, Labuschagn uses Photoshop for some texturing, but mostly she prefers subtle textures to jarring ones. Take a look at some of her pieces in the gallery below: