Drawing on love
While Grant refers to his illustration work as something of a ‘pet project’, and a way to stimulate his artistic side, freeing him from the corporate world, it is also his way of tapping into his love for life, design and music.
His passion for drawing, Grant says, started when he gripped his first crayon as a child, and it has never diminished. “My earliest memory is of drawing imaginary castles and creatures in play school. I always loved how drawing allowed me to put what I could see in my mind down onto paper.”
He is married to his childhood sweetheart Samantha and they have two daughters, Olivia Rose (nearly three) and Sophia Grace (eight months). With two small children in the house, Grant says he usually spends time in the evenings or early mornings drawing.
He has a hand in several other businesses, including his wife’s family business, an online advertising agency, and is also part of a young entrepreneurs and businesses organisation.
Grant completed a design diploma and printed his first book, Munty Bear, a few years ago.
“There was no brief, which excited me. I took around a year to complete the book. I am my own worst critic and am pretty embarrassed by it now,” laughs Grant, who still reads the book to his daughters.
Asked why he decided to do children’s books, Grant says there are many reasons, but two stand out for him – it allowed his mind to wander and get lost in the world he created, and the fact that children are a beautifully receptive audience who buy into the world you create, even more so than the writer!
“My kids are my inspiration and have truly changed the direction of my personal work, which now includes portraits of my wife and our youngest daughter, as well as sketch of my eldest daughter Olivia which proudly hangs in our bedroom.
“I love the creative freedom drawing allows me, and how it has trained me to look more closely at the world light, shadow forms and details.
Grant is currently working on his second children’s book, Bear and Bunny which is based on a dad’s love for his daughters.
“Bear and Bunny is probably the work I am most proud of. The format is that of a children’s book but at its heart it is really a father’s love letter to his daughters. Any parent can relate to the message. If you have not had kids yet it’s hard to articulate just how much of an impact they have on your life and how deep that connection is. The story is a window into moments that show how amazing the world is through your children’s eyes, it’s about how a parent changes from before and after they have their children. The Bunny character represents my girls’ character traits and their personalities are reflected in the story. The Bear is figuratively me – but it could be any father.”
The book will be available early next year on Grant’s website and 50 percent of the profit will be donated to a children’s home.
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Christmas with the de Langes
Christmas is all about family and is without a doubt the de Lange family’s favourite day of the entire year! “Preparations start on Christmas eve, when we wrap presents with Christmas music playing. We prep the food, and it’s our tradition to bake Father Christmas fresh cookies (using a family secret recipe) the night he comes to visit. Olivia loves baking.
“Typically, we wake up super early on Christmas morning and drink tea and eat cookies in bed while the girls open their Christmas stockings. We then run out and check for Father Christmas’s ‘sleigh marks’ in the grass (something my parents did for us as kids) and the kiddies squeal with delight to find the reindeer have eaten the carrots left for them. We remark on how hungry Father Christmas was because he ate all the cookies left for him too! With Christmas music playing, we huddle under the sparkling Christmas tree to open presents! We all get changed and meet the family at Grace Church for praise and worship, after which we head to my parents’ house for lunch, where we all get involved in the kitchen and enjoy Christmas together as a big family.”
Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport | Photograph: Taryn van Rensburg | Hair and makeup: Britney Morris from Nixon Makeup, email@example.com | Samantha dressed by: Bianca Warren, www.biancawarren.com