Published 15 February 2021 in Interviews
Octavia Roodt Interviewed for Nintheart 2.0
By Thierry Groensteen
Translated using Google Translate
Thierry Groensteen: You were born in Johannesburg in 1995. In what environment?
Octavia roodt: I grew up in the suburbs, a fairly urbanized neighborhood called Four Ways, much more English than Afrikaans. My parents were a bit apart in this environment. In the 1980s, my mother had studied art and my father had studied philosophy. Then they came to teach English in Paris, and my father graduated from the University of Paris VIII (I think it was a post-doctorate, I'm not sure). On their return to South Africa, they had several children. In the rest of my family, there are also mathematicians. My parents are very artists. My father had dabbled in literature once. Now he writes political essays, in Afrikaans, which I don't always agree with, even though I like him a lot as a person.
I grew up with 'Bittercomix' [ 1 ]. When I was younger, I had read 'Tintin', and suddenly, at the age of fourteen, I discovered something that resembled 'Tintin', but with a completely different content that left me speechless, taken aback.
We also had close friends in Belgium. I went to visit them on Christmas last month. When they came to our house, they brought comics: it ranged from 'Boule' and 'Bill' to 'XIII' and 'Thorgal'.
When did you start drawing?
I have always drawn. I never stopped. And very quickly my drawings took on a sequential form. I traced six frames on a page and told a story.
I understand that, very early on, your comics took an autobiographical turn ...
Yes indeed. I always had a sketchbook, and another notebook in which I kept my journal and wrote poems and various things. I change it every year. When I look at my old sketchbooks, I see that I was drawing myself in them. It became a habit. I would probably have to detach myself from it.
'[Octavia shows me her current sketchbook. I see mainly observation drawings, in pencil, portraits of different models, or images copied from an illustrated Bible.]'
I like to draw on the motif, to represent the people around me. My notebook is also a very safe place for me, where I can allow myself to try things, without exposing myself. Sometimes I draw my dreams there ...
Sketches of children and dogs