Ziyaad joined the Duck Duck Goose team in November of 2021. After a year and a half of service, he has become a sturdy piece of the business’ furniture and a consistent fixture of the Bree Street Mafia. If Ziyaad isn’t typing away on his laptop or doodling on his iPad Pro, you’re likely to catch him chatting leisurely with the usual suspects on the curb of 120 Bree Street. This balance speaks volumes of Ziyaad’s elite propensity to both lurk and work. Ziyaad is the poster boy for Duck Duck Goose’s employment philosophy, which emphasises the utilisation and development of any additional skills that team members can bring to the business. Since joining as a store manager, Ziyaad has elevated his position to the role of Visual Communications Lead for Duck Duck Goose as well as sibling companies Good Good Good and Together MFG, our manufacturing facility. A mere four months after joining the team, Ziyaad illustrated the flyer for the Franasonic and Friends party at the store in February 2022. With many more graphic contributions behind him since then, Ziyaad is now in charge of any and every form of visual communication concerned with our trifecta of businesses, including the formatting of products on our websites, the handling of tech packs and print production for some of South Africa’s most prominent fashion labels, and illustrating for our social media pages. On the side of his full plate of responsibilities, he still squeezes in the time to maintain his reputation as a revered salesman and ensure that our store spaces are up to standard. While he confesses that the balance can be tough to manage at times, no one has ever seen him show signs of stress. A true laid-back warrior, Ziyaad gets his strength to push on from the joy derived from seeing his illustrations come to life and connecting with some of his closest friends that he’s made through working at the company. “To this day, nothing beats a Friday afternoon conversation on the bench outside our Bree Street store,” he says. Since joining the team, Ziyaad has built his own brand as a capable freelance illustrator, now doing jobs for external clients alongside his in-house work for DDG. However, Ziyaad asserts that his time at the business has been very beneficial for the honing of his craft: “I’ve learnt a lot from those inside the business, as well as close friends of the business who are in the illustration and design industry. I’ve taken whatever knowledge I can get from them and implemented them into my process.” His gained experience has been accompanied by changes to his creative process, recently switching to a hybrid method which incorporates both analogue and digital components to the creation of his designs. The process for all his projects, however, begins far before he starts drawing: “I first do lots of research, finding out what’s required and everything about the client so I can get a proper feel of who they are. I then hit the sketchbooks where I do all my rough work. This lays the foundation for my digital drawing.” While Ziyaad has taken on jobs with a variety of subject matter, his heart lies especially with character work – his speciality. Ziyaad prides himself in being able to “create likenesses through people’s individualistic features and style. This also ties into my love for drawing clothing and how people style what they wear.” If you take a look at the illustrations that Ziyaad did for our most recent sale, for example, you can see this ability come to life in the depictions of Riley’s classic glasses-and-beanie combo, Josquin’s wide trousers, and Daniel’s shiny dome. We’re looking forward to seeing how Ziyaad will make further use of these skills especially in his upcoming personal projects, one of which is a zine that he’s busy cooking up. What we’re looking forward to the most, though, is the opening of Ziyaad’s barber shop, his biggest dream. We love the guy and everything that he makes, for us and for others, and you should too. For your own benefit of getting to know him a little better yourself, here are a few extra personal questions that we posed to him to hear what’s been happening in Ziyaad’s world. Are there any local illustrators whose work you’re crushing on? There are a few that I always crush on. Russel Abrahams has been making a lot of new work where he’s been experimenting with different interpretations of his style. I’ve also been enjoying a lot of the work from Shaun Hill, Kgabo Mametja (Saint Rose), Terence Ntsako and Michael Beckhurts. Watched anything good recently? I’m up to season 8 of Bob’s Burgers and I’ve been loving every minute of it. I’ve also recently watched the new season of Ted Lasso and The Last of Us. Another thing I’ve been very into recently is watching animated short films on YouTube. Almost every day I’m watching 2-3. So many good short films come from independent illustrators and animators and should be given more attention. Some of my favourites are “Cosmohedron” by Duncan Hatch, “Walter” by Lorenzo Fresta and “Metamorphoses” by Wizong. Do you have a Top 5 animated shows of all time? Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Bojack Horseman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adventure Time. I really could list more but those are the best I’ve watched. What about books? At the moment, I’m reading Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami. It’s a collection of short stories about men who have lost women to death or other men, and how they cope with their loss. I get all my books from Iman (my girlfriend), who has a big collection, so she puts me onto only the best reads. I tend to collect picture books rather than word books. You’re a picture guy after all. Give us some picture book recs then. “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Oliver Jeffers. Or anything by Oliver Jeffers. “The Bookshop Cat” by Cindy Wume. “Bobs Blue Period” by Marion Deuchars. And “The Bootleg Bible: A Guide to Bootleg Toymakers” by Blue Monday Press. You’re a recovering WWE fanatic. Who are your favourite wrestlers of all time? I come from the generation that just missed the Attitude era and rather attached themselves to the Ruthless Aggression era, so my favourites are the likes of The Undertaker, The Hardy Boyz, Eddie Guerrero, John Cena and D Generation X. As an Arsenal fan, how does it feel to have won nothing this season? OnlyPain. Lastly, how do you spend your spare time when not you’re not working or illustrating? I spend most of my time outside of work hanging with friends and family, smoking cigarettes, trying new food spots in the city, going to Levi’s in Access Park to find more discounted jeans. Otherwise, you’ll find me in bed watching cartoons.