Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 5, 2019

Illustrator Saturday – Shane Crampton

Shane Crampton was born in St.Andrews, Scotland. She spent her childhood years growing up there, as well as in Aberdeen and the Shetland Islands. At the ripe old age of 29 she moved from Scotland to the other end of the country, to sunny (sometimes) Cornwall in South West England, where she still lives today with her husband and four sons and their two ridiculous dogs. Daughter to an extremely talented artistic and musical father, she was encouraged from an early age to embrace her creativity as much as possible by both parents. Shane graduated from Falmouth University in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Illustration and has been working consistently ever since.

Her work is a mash up of scribbling, painting (usually with gouache) and digital techniques. Her favourite pieces that she has created lately are her “Daisy girls”. Music is really important in the Crampton household and Shane often listens to music whilst working on projects. At the moment Iron Maiden and Rob Zombie are favourite artists to listen to whilst illustrating.

Her motivation is to improve her skills as much as she can, so setting herself self initiated mini projects on a regular basis is something she feels is vital to keep her work moving forward.

Here is Shane explaining her process:

Below is one of my personal projects. I have always loved Mythology since I was a kid and my husband and I had been working our way through a documentary series about Greek Myths, which is why Athena popped into my head that morning. My process for that illustration involved drawing her out in pencil the scanning her into my computer.

I then coloured the characters first in photoshop and then finally I coloured the background. This one in particular was all coloured digitally in photoshop using a few different brushes. Sometimes for splatter marks I used paint splatters that I’ve done with ink or paint and scanned and sometimes I use photoshop to create them. The hair strands are just drawn in photoshop in exactly the same way as if I were drawing or painting them traditionally, there’s no magic tool for it. I create the texture by building it up in layers.

Below is another sketch to finished colour example.

Book Cover: MEET THE QUACKERS written by Tania Guarino – Illustrated by Shane Crampton – Published by Clear Fork Press. More in following interview.

How long have you been illustrating?

I graduated from University in 2014 and have pretty much been working solidly ever since.

To be honest though I have some of my old children’s books in my house from when I was about 3 which I’ve drawn in so clearly I thought I was an illustrator all those years ago already!

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I started printing owl designs onto fabric bags whilst I was still at Uni and they were really popular so that was probably the first time I really took selling my work seriously.

What made you move from St. Andrews, Scotland to Cornwall, England?

Family decision. It was only meant to be for a year, I fully intended to go back to Scotland but I love living in Cornwall and I can’t see me leaving now.

How did you decide to attend Falmouth University for illustration?

Falmouth University Illustration course has an amazing reputation and rightly so. It a fantastic course. I really can’t speak more highly of it. Just getting to the interview stage felt like a massive achievement, so being offered a place was amazing!

What types of classes did you enjoy the most?

Definitely ones where I was experimenting with different media. I think it’s really important to keep experimenting when time allows it. You discover techniques sometimes quite by accident. I always got a lot out of those classes.

Do you feel school helped you develop your style?

Looking back I would say yes, although it’s always evolving and I think I really started to develop it more after I graduated.

Did Falmouth help you find work using your art skills?

Yes, it did because the course is crammed with so much including “professional practice” which was really helpful. The tutors made absolutely every effort to equip students for life as a professional illustrator after graduating.

When did you decide you wanted to do children’s book illustrations?

During my foundation year. I was still unsure if I wanted to do Graphic Design or Illustration. I was already a big fan of Lauren Child’s “Charlie & Lola” books and one of my tutor’s  Natalie introduced me to Sara Fanelli’s work and I fell in love with Illustration right there and then and knew that’s what I wanted to do.

Was STAY WILD MY CHILD your first book?

No, It’s somewhere around book 5/6.

How did you get your first book contract?

An author contacted me after seeing my work on instagram.

I couldn’t find this book on Amazon. Is that because it is only on the UK version of Amazon?

It’s not actually been published yet. Once it’s published, which should be very soon, you’ll definitely be able to find it.

How did you get the contract to illustrate, CAVEGIRL with Bloomsbury?

Via my agent at Astound Agency. Bloomsbury were amazing to work with and it’s been a privilege to be involved in their “Young Readers” series. I know a couple of the other illustrator who were also involved, and I get really excited about seeing their books in the series too!

Do you have any desire to wrote and illustrate you own books?

Yes I do, I have a half written book on my computer at the moment, I just haven’t had time to develop it further yet.

How many books have you illustrated?

I am currently working on my 11th book, I work on a few at the same time in various stages.

It looks like Scarlett’s Spectacles has just hit the book stores. How long did it take you to illustrate that book?

I think I probably spent around 3-4 months from start to finish on Scarlett’s Spectacles.

Are all the illustrations done for SURGERY ON SUNDAY that is coming out next year?

Not yet, I’m still working on the roughs for the interior spreads.

Is that coming out around the same time YOGA BABY is coming out?

I believe ‘Surgery on Sunday” will be out around Spring 2020 so a little before “Yoga Baby” which will be out May 2020.

Any story behind how you got that contract?

Again, this was arranged through my agent. All of my children’s book work is arranged via them, it free’s me up to concentrate on the creative stuff.

How long have you been making a living from illustrating?

Just over 5 years now. It’s really picked up over the past 18 months or so.

Is Warren Publishing, a new publisher?

I am not entirely certain how long they have been established exactly.

How did you connect with the Astound agency and how long have they been representing you?

They saw my work on line and approached me to see if I would like to be represented.

I have been with them for around 18 months now.

 Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

Yes, I worked with Benchmark Education last year and illustrated two Spanish reading books for them.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

Not yet, that would be fun though.

Have you illustrate a book for a self-published author. Is that something you would do now?

I have actually.  I would, but only if I genuinely was excited about the story. I have one planned with a brilliant writer Jess Bleakly starting next year and I am beyond excited about it. I knew as soon as I read it that I wanted to be involved. It’s absolutely brilliant and Jess is a very talented writer.

I noticed you have won a number of awards for your books. Which ones are you most proud of winning?

I haven’t won any awards that I’m aware of, hopefully one day.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

I definitely wouldn’t rule it out.

What do you think is your biggest success?

The cover for “Stay Wild”. I LOVE everything about it and I am incredibly proud of it.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I like mixed media, so a little bit of everything all mashed up together and collaged together digitally.

Has that changed over time?

Yes, I work digitally a lot now.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Absolutely, it’s integral to my work…I use it every day. I draw everything out with pencil and paper first though.

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

Paper and pencils for sketching, selection of paints for some backgrounds, my scanner and photoshop.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I spend every available minute I have working. If I’m not working on a project, I will be working on personal pieces to keep my portfolio fresh and up to date. If I have deadlines looming I will work all day while the children are at school and nursery then work most of the evening once they go to bed. I try to take weekends off though to spend with my family.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I always research a project, I need visual references so sometimes I have taken photo’s. I like to also see if there’s any specific details that really need to be in there. For instance, I recently completed an illustration of Athena, and there were lots of little details I wanted to include in it so  a bit of research was involved.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely!

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Only to get better and better at my job. I learn a little from every project I do.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the final colour artwork for “Yoga Baby”, a cover for another book publishing next year and internal sketches for “Surgery on Sunday”.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us?

Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I recently bought a light box for the sole purpose of making sure my characters features are consistent, and I really don’t know why I haven’t done it sooner. I like to make sure that their eyes, nose, brows etc are correct each time I draw them so I use the light box to check that.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Draw for fun, lots of warm up drawings. If you draw every day you will really start to see an improvement. Also, work hard, as with most things in life, you get back what you put in!

And finally, do not compare yourself to other illustrators too much. It’s good to be inspired and love someone elses work…we all do that, but don’t start feeling crappy about your own work because you think it should be like someone else’s. We are all on different paths at different stages of our careers and comparison is the thief of joy!

Thank you Shane for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure to let us know your future successes. To see more of shane’s work, you can visit her at: 

Website: https://www.shanecrampton.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shanecramptonillustration/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shanecramptonillustrator/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ginger_Pigg

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Shane. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. What a great sense of fun in each of these drawings. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  2. LOVE LOVE your characters big eyes❤️❤️

    Like

  3. I love these! The faces are so inviting!

    Like


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