top of page

Photo by Bernard Brand

Imile Wepener is an artist and illustrator from Johannesburg, South Africa.


Imile earned a BA Honours in Visual Communication  (specializing in Illustration)  in 2015 from The Open Window Institute in Pretoria (one of his Honours projects even nabbing him a Loerie Award in 2016). While in High School, Imile was the apprentice of South African master puppeteer Toby van Eck, and added the skill of puppetry to his repertoire that also includes sculpture, animation and painting. 

He currently mostly works as a freelance illustrator, having created commercial illustrations for Standard Bank; Exclusive Books; PUMA; Motherland Coffee; Scholastic; Karen Zoid; Bouwer Bosch; Desmond and the Tutus; Shortstraw; Donna Magazine and many others, for which he was ranked #17th best illustrator in South Africa by the Loerie Awards and as one of 50 of the best Emerging Creatives by the Design Indaba

Apart from illustration, he also works as part-time puppet maker and has created puppets for various entertainers and productions and is currently completing Bernd Ogrodnik's year long course on the art of carving wooden puppets. 



Nami Concours

I was shortlisted for the NAMI CONCOURS Picture Book Illustration Competition and my work was exhibited at The Magical World of Contemporary Picture Book Illustration in Seoul, Korea. 


Loeries - Best Ranked Illustrators

I was ranked as #17 on the Loeries List of Best Ranked Illustrators 2018


Culture Leader Arts Competition

I was runner up in the Visual section of the Culture Leader Arts Competition 2018

Feb 2018

Design Indaba Emerging Creatives

I was chosen as one of 40 of the best up-and-coming young creatives in South Africa, and exhibited at the Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town.


The Loerie Awards

I was awarded with a Student Craft Certificate in 2016 for one of my Honours practical assignments - 'Bad Blood 1')



I was awarded with Best Design/Illustration Portfolio 2015 at the Behance Portfolio Night JHB 2015

Courses Completed

2022 - 2023

Art of the Wooden Puppet ACADEMY Course

Bernd Ogrodnik"s year long Academy course on carving wooden puppets


Art of the Wooden Puppet FOUNDATION COURSE

Bernd Ogrodnik"s  foundation course on the basics of carving wooden puppets


Basic Hand / Rod Puppet Building

BJ Guyer's course on building a foam hand & rod puppet, via Stan Winston School. 


Animal Rod Puppet Building 

Peter Court's online course on his method of creating Animal rod puppets


Human Rod Puppet Building

Peter Court's online course on his method of creating human rod puppets with the use of soft-scultping the heads and arms


Fabric characters design and creation

Piti Piti's online course on the design and creation of soft-toy characters, via Domestika

bottom of page