Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 4, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Claire Shorrock

Claire Shorrock is a freelance illustrator based in Bristol, where she studied at the university of the West of England, graduating in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in Illustration.

In 2011 she won the Bristol Short Story Prize cover competition, as well as Receiving ‘Highly Commended’ in the Macmillan Prize for her picture book, ‘Magnus’, which was exhibited in Foyles gallery, London.

Magnus was published by Lion Children’s in July 2015.

Selected clients

Lush, Lion Hudson, Hallmark, Tigerprint, The Labour Party, Venue magazine, Remedy Quarterly, Crumbs, Juno, The Holburne Museum, Nature and Health, James Ellis, Paragon, Do The Green Thing, Tangent Books.

Claire is available for commissions and collaborations and is represented by Plum Pudding illustration agency. Contact:


Here are my sketches, paintings, and images from the final spread in Snow Globe Wishes.

I paint mostly by hand and then arrange everything from the sketch layout in photoshop.

I painted textures here for the walls and floor and added the light and shadow in procreate.

My process is a mixture of traditional gouache and coloured pencil and digital collage and then also digital drawing within the piece, (for example, I added the window and scene outside in procreate).

I used to paint everything as one piece but this is much quicker in case mistakes are made. I also think I get better layers of texture when I work in this way.

Here is my Interview with Claire Shorrock:

How long have you been illustrating?
Professionally, for 9 years.

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

I’m finding that very difficult to remember, but it was either for Tigerprint (a greetings cards company I worked for or for The Holborne Museum in Bath, which was my first big job. I had to illustrate a sculpture trail around the museum and grounds. I really enjoyed that job actually and am still quite proud of it which definitely isn’t always the case!

What made you decide to study illustrating at the University of the West of England?

I had heard that it was a good illustration course and I really liked Bristol as a city in general.

What types of classes did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed print making at uni, something I never do now and that I wish I had the time for.

Do you feel school helped you develop you style?

Yes it definitely did. One defining moment was when we had to pastiche someone’s work for a project. I spent so much time thinking about how I didn’t want to copy anyone else’s work so then being asked explicitly to do this felt very strange, but I learn’t so much in the process. I picked Miroslav Sasek and really loved painting in his style. My work doesn’t look anything like his but it gave me some confidence and improved my painting in general.

Did the school help you find work when you graduated?

Not really but they did encourage us to enter competitions and taught us about how to approach getting work by emailing publishers, art directors etc

I found a picture of a mural you did of the beach. How did that job come about?

I genuinely can’t remember, my friend Nat Osborne and I did it, I can’t remember who it was for which is terrible, sorry!

Have you done any other murals? Do you think you will do more?

I have done some mural painting for some nurseries around Bristol, I would love to do more! Both of my studio companions, Zoe Power and Anna Higgie are mural painters so I’m inspired by them a lot but also see how hard it is and what a different job it is to painting something small in my studio.

It looks like you like doing paper cut illustrations. What caused you to get interested in using cut paper to create illustrated scenes?

I was having a ‘creative block’ and wasn’t excited about making anything, until I woke up one morning and thought it would be cool to cut everything out that I painted that day to make a little ‘set’. As soon as i had thought this i was immediately excited by the prospect and had loads of ideas. It’s so strange how this happens but I do feel that by making something a bit more ‘3D’ and tangible, it felt like I had made something more ‘finished’ and ‘worth showing’ in a way.

Have you had a chance to show off those skills in a picture book?

No, I had a chat with my agent about it and they basically said that publishers don’t like seeing anything with a ‘shadow’ behind it and told me to flatten everything I had produced like this to put in my portfolio. That’s ok though. If when I’m stuck in a bit of a rut and I want to make something into a little set, it’s just a vehicle to making more work and sparking new ideas that one way or another, people can see and more importantly, I enjoy the process.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

At uni, probably when I did the Sasek pastiche.

Was Magnus first book you wrote and illustrated?

How did you get that book published?

I received highly commended in the 2011 Macmillan children’s book prize and then worked with Harper Collins on the book for a while. At this point, I wasn’t ready and didn’t understand the process well enough (in my eyes, i wasn’t mature enough for this step) so after going through a few drafts, the project was dropped.

However, a few years and drafts later, it was picked up by a smaller publisher, Lion Childrens.

What was the first book you illustrated for someone else?

Snip Snap Croc for Quarto.

In 2018 you illustrated Storytime: Snip Snap Croc by Caroline Castle. How did you get to illustrate that book?

I think I got that job through my agent, they just contacted means said they were doing a re- release of an old title.


Last week, I featured your new book SNOW GLOBE WISHES by Erin Dealey. You did a wonderful job creating the illustrations for that book. How long did it take you to do the artwork?

It’s hard to pinpoint that exactly as I work on other things alongside each other but about 3 months, with roughs to final artwork.

Was this your first book with a US publisher?

Yes, it was.

How excited were you to see it was recognized on Goodreads in their year-end Goodreads Choice Awards semi finals?

Oh it was really lovely to see, I loved illustrating Erin’s wonderful text so was mostly happy for her about it to be honest.


Do you still illustrate and sell greeting cards?

Yes I do, I mostly illustrate cards for James Ellis, a company based in Bristol who make really high quality cards and stationary but also do the odd job for other companies.

Have you ever tried illustrating a wordless picture book?

No never, I’d really love to write one. Clown by Quentin Blake is my favourite.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate more picture books?

Yes, I’m working on a couple of stories of my own but I do have the fear of writing a lot. I really need to get over it and just write but finding the time is difficult when also illustrating other people’s work.

How long have you been represented by Plum Pudding illustration agency? How did you connect with them?

I emailed them about 5 years ago and went for a meeting. We all got on really well and I could see that they were really passionate about children’s books.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you still do?

No not really, if they had the money to pay me, I would consider it of course but often writers don’t understand how much work is involved in the process.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I am really proud of Snowglobe Wishes and the covers I illustrated for the 12 classic children’s books for Wordsworth Editions. Illustrating Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, among others was a dream come true.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Watercolour, gouache and nice coloured pencils.

Has that changed over time?

Not really, although I edit a lot on the iPad now and I did recently do a whole book on the iPad because of time and money constraints.

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

Yes I use a wacom with my computer to edit and draw and edit with my ipad.

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

Gouache, watercolour, coloured pencils, photoshop, procreate.

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

I work pretty much 9-5 every day, more at weekends and evenings if I need to for a deadline.

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

I research a lot on the internet, I always wish I had more time to research, draw from life, go out and take my own pictures but usually with a picture book deadline and the money involved, there just isn’t the time for it.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, of course, in so many ways. I couldn’t do what I do without it. It means I can work anywhere and get exposure without making too much effort. It is still something that you have to think about a lot though, how much to post on social media, updating your website regularly (both of which I’m terrible at!)

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

Yes, to get more of my own books published and do to a range of patterns for baby/ kids clothes, maybe a big mural…

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a book about ‘the market’ for a French publisher, doing some Christmas cards for next year and writing my own book alongside it all.

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 love the Saunders Waterford smooth paper for painting and Windsor and Newton and Holbein gouache and Caran D’ache pencils.

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

Draw constantly, always have a sketchbook on you. Make note of any ideas you have, even just a few words if you don’t have time to draw it. Don’t get bogged down with what you’re work is going to look like when it’s finished, just make it.  Test out lot’s of different mediums and ways of working, you’re style will come through and theres nothing to say that if you paint in watercolour, you cant draw with ink lines one day and then make a woodblock print the next. These are all things I could have done with understanding more at university but I learn’t them along the way.

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



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

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I so enjoyed your illustrations. Thanks for sharing and I especially love Snow Globe Wishes. Congrats!


  2. Fun illustrations! Congratulations and best wishes!


  3. Claire, your illustrations are wonderfully playful – I love what you’ve done with SNOW GLOBE WISHES. Your talent will take you far!


  4. Lovely stuff!


  5. Very cute illustrations!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: