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Meet the maker: Karen Vermeulen

Meet the maker: Karen Vermeulen

Est 2019, Cape town, Western Cape

Who is Karen Vermeulen ?

I'm Karen an illustrator, designer and writer. I've been drawing since I could clutch a Crayola crayon in my little hands, these days I've swapped my crayons for an Apple Pencil. I work digitally in Procreate on my iPad and then I have my illustrations printed on fine art paper with archival inks. I'm in love with colour, pattern and humour. Apart from selling art prints I also take on freelance
projects like illustrating children's books or designing book covers and I regularly teach illustration workshops. Sharing creativity and
beauty makes me very happy. I'm inspired by strong women and my cat Sir Henry.

What was the idea behind your brand? 

I want my work to spread happiness and I want everyone who comes to my workshops to leave feeling inspired and with newfound creative confidence. My work tends to be light, fun, quirky and positive. That is the energy I want to put out in the world. There is enough sadness and heaviness in the world, I'd love for my work to be an antidote.

How many people work for you? 

It's just me and Henry my cat meow-nager with some help from the lovely people at Artist Admin an agency that helps out with my online shop, Knus orders and production.

What is your creative process that inspires you to create what you do?

I tend to start with an idea, then my first step is to find a colour palette. Colour is very important in my work. From there it's a lot of planning and research, which means scouring Pinterest for references and a lot of rough sketches. Once I have a clear picture

in my mind's eye of what I want to do, I put on a spooky podcast and get drawing. An illustration can take anything from a few minutes to forty hours!

I get inspiration from the world around me, it can be a bright pink bougainvillaea against a grey sky or a funny remark from a friend. A good idea or spark of inspiration can come from anywhere, it's all about keeping your eyes open and paying attention.

What are your best sellers?

Ophelia and the Sneaky Blue Ladies are favourites.

What is YOUR favourite product of your collection?

It's so hard to pick a favourite, but I think it has to be Lucid Dream as it's such a personal piece with a positive message inspired by an actual lucid dream I had. I dreamt that I was alone treading water in a lake in a dark forest at night. It was terrifying until I realised that it was a dream and that I have the power to change it. I did, everything stayed the same except that I chose to see the

beauty and the dream was transformed from being sinister and dark to be beautiful and magical. The stars shone overhead and a feeling of calm came over me, I stopped treading water and lay back floating looking up at the night sky. That dream has stuck with me through the years and reminds me that while I can't control what happens to me, I can control how I view it. It's always worth looking for beauty.

What to you is the best thing about selling KNUS

I'm a big Knus fan. I love that my work is being sold amongst all local artists and artisans. No mass-produced soulless merchandise. Instead, it's full of products made with heart and soul by people like me. I'm very proud to be part of such a beautiful company.

How would you say it has impacted your business selling through KNUS?

I think selling on Knus helped me build more credibility and trust in my business. Knus is a well-loved brand so being associated with them is fantastic.

Why would you say it is important for customers to support local?

Because the big chain stores don't need you, local artists do. Every time you buy something from Knus, an actual person does a little happy dance! And it means that they can keep producing beautiful products with soul.