Jade Klara

Jade Klara draws things, and she draws them real good. We caught up with Jade on our #TDKafrica tour to talk about her goofy work, meeting — or not meeting — expectations, and the design scene in Cape Town.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

Hi ☺ I live and grew up in South Africa, where I have a studio in the Woodstock Exchange where I currently work from. My work is a bit goofy and I try tell a layered visual story through character and tone. I love creating a narrative that’s interesting, and polarised. I do an amount of personal work for exhibitions or commissions and then I do commercial work for various clients.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

Ideally my workday starts with a sunrise surf, then I get into our ONLY TODAY studio just after 9 o clock. Daniel Ting Chong is already here because he’s always the first one in. I make a pot of green tea and start the day by sketching a dog in an apron frying some eggs, or something along those lines. The day goes on with more drawing, or designing punctuated by a studio game of Call of Duty. The studio is my happy place; it’s really special to be surrounded by people you’re inspired by.

Design work by Jade Klara The Design Kids interviews Jade Klara work-2

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

It took a long time to develop a style that I felt was really mine and I still feel it’s developing. The only tip I have is to create all the time, do as much as you can, and be true to your voice. I think everyone has a special and unique way at looking at and interpreting the world. Like no two handwriting is the same, no one’s style is the same and that’s so exciting. I love it when you can see the soul of the person in what they do.

What have been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it?

In the 10 years I’ve been working there have been a series of setbacks or disappointments or mental blocks that happen that you have to overcome. I think when creating work it’s a personal process and it can at times leave you vulnerable to life’s practicalities/ pressures, but you just have to move. I’ve learnt that if something doesn’t turn out the way you would have liked or expected, that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Interesting things grow in those spaces.

Design work by Jade Klara The Design Kids interviews Jade Klara work-4
Design work by Jade Klara The Design Kids interviews Jade Klara work-4

Like no two handwriting is the same, no one’s style is the same and that’s so exciting.

What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?

It makes a difference when you really believe in what you’re doing, like, if you wake up and you’re excited to get to the studio and start drawing. It’s that warm feeling when you’re in that creation process that I love and makes it worth it. In the immortal words of Journey, “don’t stop believing”. My second piece of advice would be to stop embarrassing my 16-year-old self.

What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?

Cape Town is an incredibly inspiring city. It’s so full of talented people, each coming from different design or cultural backgrounds, which makes for a layered creative landscape. People are really open here and driven and it’s an exciting, diverse atmosphere.

Design work by Jade Klara The Design Kids interviews Jade Klara work-6
Design work by Jade Klara The Design Kids interviews Jade Klara work-6

Where to find Jade Klara online.

Website: jadeklara.co.za

Instagram: @jadeklara

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