Meet Avonnette Storkey: Black & White Creative Wanderer

Staying in touch with your child-like creativity is not an easy task, but it is the goal for South African illustrator, Avonnette Storkey. Her whimsical monochrome drawings tap into the likes and interests of kids.

Here she has a virtual chat with our blog editor, Jacqui Taylor, and digs deep on life as an illustrator and drawing to share the love.

Hello Avonnette, welcome to the Future Folk family. Tell me a little bit about yourself such as where you are from and where you grew up?
I’m a bit of a creative wanderer always looking for my next exciting adventure. I love singing the wrong words to songs, being outdoors where the wild things are and keeping my child-like wonder alive. You’ll find me doodling in coffee shops, roller skating my heart out or finding any reason to soak up the summersun.

Growing up was really interesting as my mother is from South Africa and my father is from Argentina. So I got to experience both cultures and learnt to speak English and Spanish from a very young age.

I currently live in Cape Town, South Africa with my husband of four years, we’ve been together for 14 years (basically high school sweethearts).

Have you always been creative?
Yes. The first thing I ever wanted to become was an artist. As a child I preferred paper and crayons to almost anything and would spend all my spare time drawing or making things. I loved being able to tap into my imagination turn it into a reality by putting it on paper or making it into something tangible. My parents have always been very supportive of my love for art and encouraged me to pursue what I enjoyed.

When did you commence your career as an illustrator?
After high school I studied a BA in Creative Brand Communications, specialising in visual communications and once the degree was completed became a junior art director / graphic designer. I worked in the advertising industry for two years before quitting my job and pursuing my own kids party planning company full time. When the pandemic started and lockdown hit, I quickly found myself with a lot more time on my hands. I decided to tap back into my graphic design routes and merge it with my newest passion, Illustration.
What do you like about illustrating/drawing?
I love that it allows you to share your imagination with others. You get to create something in your mind and then show your vision to the people that see your work. It’s just such a wonderful feeling to know that your illustration can make someones day a little brighter, even if it’s just for a moment. It’s a great way to spread more love and happiness in this world. 

Talk me through your creative process.
I enjoy to start off with finding my inspiration and that normally comes from the “why”. Why am I wanting to create this artwork, what emotions do I want to evoke or what story do I want to tell with this particular artwork? Once I have my “why” then  it’s onto Pinterest for me, and thats one of the most stimulating parts. I gather multiple references to pull inspiration from and then start working on creating something completely unique from that.

What practices are you introducing to your business/work to be more sustainable and eco-friendly?
I’m always trying to stay conscious and aware of the decisions I make and the effects it has on the environment and people in my local community. I try to support other small businesses and female owned companies especially. I reduce, reuse and recycle on a daily basis wherever possible. I’ll definitely be adopting the Furoshiki way of gift wrapping this festive season.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by various artists but one in particular is Karen Vermeulen (South African Illustrator). She offered free illustration courses via Facebook live during the first hard lockdown in South Africa and that really proved to be such a motivator during that difficult time. I admire her sense of whimsy and her willing attitude to always teach other illustrators/artists how to flourish in the creative world.

Another great illustration inspiration for me has been Andy J Pizza who I came across on Skill Share and I am now a super fan. He has such an engaging way of teaching and helping other creatives find their style and how to develop the business and marketing aspects of selling yourself as a freelance illustrator.
What do you do outside of drawing?
I’m a kids party planner and freelance graphic designer. I started my company back in 2010 while I was studying, to help pay my tuition fees. It has been my main source of income and allows me the flexibility to still pursue freelance design work on the side.

Give me three words to describe your style.
Bold, stylised, whimsical 

Follow Avonnette's creative journey on @art_by_avonnette and shop her prints at