Interview Manel Prints

If you are looking for the perfect balance between creativity and technical knowledge, Manel Prints is the place to go. Founder Olu Vandenbussche offers various affordable courses on digital print design through her platform. Young Patterns decided to get to know Olu and Manel Prints better via an interview.

Hi Olu, nice of you to take the time to answer our questions! First of all, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Yes, of course I can! I have several years of experience in print design, but everything started with my textile studies at Sint-Lucas in Ghent. I really liked this programme, but noticed that it was difficult to find my place in the labour market afterwards. I started giving artistic workshops, then ended up working in a company doing graphic design for books and started drawing my own prints in my spare time. All these different experiences made it clear to me that I was looking for a job where I could combine my creativity and technical knowledge. I was regularly asked to give workshops and discovered that this was the way for me to bring the two together, and it has been my main occupation for the past four years.

What exactly is Manel Prints?

With Manel Prints, I want to offer my students what I did not find in any existing training. The idea is that after following my course, you will be able to convert your creative ideas into a usable print. There are six modules that fit together perfectly, but they are also interesting individually. The first one is technical to give you a good basic knowledge and after that we work on Illustrator, Photoshop, trend analysis, botanical prints and developing your own portfolio.

This seems very interesting to us and we are sure that many others think the same way. Who is your average student?

This is always a very diverse group, with people from different age groups (20s to 60s) and from different backgrounds. It is a combination of people who attend classes for professional reasons or because they are looking for a hobby. Although 95% of my students are currently women, the course is suitable for everyone. So men are certainly welcome too!

Suppose you want to follow the training: how does it work exactly?

I started with the workshops at different locations: at my home for small groups or on the road throughout Flanders. Given the current situation, I recently started an online course that brings together all the knowledge I have acquired. It is a combination of theory lessons via self-study and guided sessions, which last from six to twelve weeks depending on the module. I find it very important to keep it personal, despite the fact that it is online, and therefore I work with small groups which allows for personal guidance and feedback. Of course you have to invest some time in it, but it can certainly be combined with another course or job.

We read on your Instagram page that you are a social entrepreneur, how does this translate into your work?

I see this as social artistic work, where I try to tackle social problems through art. For example, I organise workshops with refugees to discover their hidden talents, to increase their self-confidence and especially to let them forget their worries for a while. At the moment, I do this mainly through trainers, where the participants can take home a self-made and self-designed pair of shoes at the end of the week. I developed this concept together with Jan Caus, a friend who designs shoes himself. We would like to develop this further in the future, as both the participants and us derive a great deal of satisfaction from it.

Talking about Manel Prints makes us want to follow the course. When can we start?

Two new modules start in May: on the 6th May you can join module 1 and on the 10th May module 4 starts on trend analysis. So you don’t have to wait long before you can get started!

Are you interested in a training course at Manel Prints or do you want to stay up-to-date on further developments? Don’t hesitate to take a look on her social media and her website, or by sending her an email.

Instagram: @manelprints
Facebook: @maneldesign