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As I’m sure you know by now, I am trying to collect family portraits from different South African artists/illustrators & hope to one day have a whole feature wall with different interpretations of our lives.  We may not be your usual family (what with our children being four-legged & furry), but we are a family nonetheless.  And I hope that my discoveries will help you as well – perhaps you will find your ideal “style” & want to join me in a quest in getting all different pictures done!

I was browsing one of the Facebook community groups that I am part of, & saw SLDV Illustration recommended by a few people & knew I had to immediately jump on this.  Sarah responded to my message so quickly, & was so friendly that I knew I had found a gem.  Read on to find out more…

Our Family Tree (1)

Your name:  Sarah-Louise de Villiers3

Business name:  SLDV Illustration

Social media handles:  Facebook & Instagram

Tell me a bit more about what you do & your unique style of art:  Together with my fabulous assistant Anastasia, we create personalised illustrations that represent our clients’ families and loved ones.

When did you start:  I have been creating these illustrations for myself and friends for around two years, but only started offering them commercially in June this year.


What did you do before this:  I have a photography and publishing studio. My publishing website is here and my photography website is here.

At Typostudio we do mostly PowerPoint presentations and documents for our corporate clients, but also venture into more traditional print products like brochures, magazines, etc.

In contrast, at SLDV Portrait our photography is aimed at giving the everyday older woman a make-over and magazine-style photoshoot experience, followed by archival products that can be passed down for generations. This is a high-end offering and quite different from the so-called “shoot and burn” typical South African model, where clients do a quick photoshoot and get a disk of digitals afterwards.

SLDV Illustration has been an extension of SLDV Portrait; I wanted to create an affordable and fun (but equally bespoke) product to compliment my more exclusive portraiture brand.

Illustration FB cover

Have you always been artistic:  I have always been creative, but didn’t explore this side of me until relatively recently. I originally qualified as a psychologist but didn’t enjoy the profession so slowly kept searching until I found my soul in art. Incidentally, I have just started a Facebook group for women who, like me, are finding a “second life” or profession after having children, and are re-evaluating what they want to do for a living. It’s called “DIY Branding for Moms” and women can join our group at this link. It’s a safe space for those of us who want to ask questions and learn and share about the amazing online tools available to create one’s own logo, corporate identity and website, etc. It’s also a space for like-minded women to support each other in this often intimidating journey of finding oneself again after dedicating years of our lives to raising toddlers.

Obviously it’s always going to be preferable to go to a professional graphic and web designer to create your brand, but many of us don’t have the funds and – in any case – would enjoy playing around with our ideas ourselves.

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Do you do custom pieces, & what price range do these start from:  All our work is bespoke. Before we start we send a questionnaire to the client in which s/he indicates which people and pets they would like to include in the illustration, as well as the general style or theme. We then provide a draft and the client can send through edits until they are happy.

It should be noted that we are not the original illustrators of these characters, we work with a Photoshop programme which allows set options to choose from. Once we’ve created the characters using the programme, we then create a “scene” according to the client brief which is 100% bespoke and created by us.


What have been some of your favourite pieces to date:  We have created so many stunning illustrations for our clients that we can’t share as we respect their privacy. But I think my favourite so far is an organogram that Anastasia made for me of my family.

Can people still order from you for Christmas:  Yes, absolutely. We are super busy creating orders at the moment so there may be a slight delay, however we will still add orders to the waiting list up to and including 30 November. We will then open and take orders again from Thursday the 3rd of January 2019.


How do people place an order with you:  We don’t have a website, so clients can have a look at our Facebook page, which has a “Shop” section. They could send a Facebook message from there, or alternatively they should email Anastasia will confirm the order and send through a brief questionnaire. Together with the completed questionnaire the client will then send us some photos of the people and pets that they would like to include.

Why do you encourage people to support local:  I think there’s a wonderful sense of creativity and community in South Africa. Despite all its issues we do live in a stunning and vibrant country, with so much to offer.

But more than this – as a business owner I know how tough some days are and always do my best to support the women around me who, too, have found their joy in creating their own brands. I read a quote the other day that said when you buy from a small business there is someone doing a little ‘jig’. That really is true. Anastasia and I still get excited about every order that comes in.

Mandela Day (1)

Quote you live by:
I have so many quotes that I love, I have collected them since I was a teenager. But my favourite passage of all time is Love after Love, by Derek Walcott.

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

This poem represents, for me, the woman who has dedicated a good decade or two of her life to raising children and prioritising their needs before her own. She now has more time again, and a renewed yearning to learn who she is and how she wants to spend the rest of her life. More importantly, it’s about loving and appreciating yourself again, despite wrinkles and shortcomings and the detours that life throws at us.

Luthando Dlamini

Anything else you want to add:  Thank you so much for the opportunity to be featured on your blog, we are completely honoured to introduce ourselves to your readers.

How much do you love Sarah & her beautiful heart?  Gosh, just reading over this once again before I press “post” makes me smile so much & I am so grateful that I stumbled upon her & her stunning creations.  I am already deciding what I want to order from her & can’t wait to see what she comes up with!


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