Vian Oelofsen

Vian was born in the small town of Prins Albert, South Africa, and grew up in Stellenbosch, where he went to school and university. As a child he loved to draw his own comics and stories, and was fortunate in always being encouraged to do so.

His favorite books as a child were Asterix, Tintin, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and books by Richard Scarry.

He has always loved telling stories through pictures, but his career as an illustrator began in earnest when he landed his first picture book deal with Human & Rousseau (Cape Town) in 1999. Writing came afterwards, when he started adding text to some of his illustrations. Eventually, his first picture book as both author and illustrator was published in 2005.

Vian’s inspiration comes from people, animals, and emotions. Various people and things have influenced his work. The ones he would regard as most important are those that have influenced his way of thinking about drawing. Works by Will Eisner and John Burningham come to mind. Even though Vian likes drawings to look as good as possible, it is always the idea/concept behind the drawing that is most important to him.

His advice to aspiring illustrators is to draw, draw, draw. And read. But draw as much as possible. Always.

He likes most sports and plays tennis and squash whenever he can. His hobbies include films and cooking. Future plans include creating more picture books.

Vian is married and currently lives in Portsmouth, England.

Annick Press books
illustrated by Vian Oelofsen