'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 14 January 2021

Meet The Illustrator: Shirley Shelby

: Shirley Shelby

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Heartwarming, humorous, textured, bright, sweet, a little quirky and joyful.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My sketchbook, set of pencils, iPad, laptop, Wacom tablet and watercolor paints. I usually work digitally these days using Procreate and then sometimes take my work into Photoshop, but I also like to hand draw my illustrations from time to time as well.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I think that would be Procreate on my iPad and Photoshop on my laptop since I work most of the time digitally, but I also love sketching too.

Name artists whose work inspires you.
When I was young, I was inspired by Shirley Hughes and Beatrix Potter.
Their illustrations are so amazing and detailed.

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
Possibly to visit the Surrealism era, as I had been quite interested in that, especially Salvador Dali’s work, since studying art at school.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I just always loved to draw, especially nature and animals, and was always encouraged to be creative. My passion for illustration and visual storytelling began when I was five years old, when I would spend hours illustrating my own stories. I loved coming up with new ideas. I have aspired to be a children’s book illustrator ever since then.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
I have a table where I paint, but as I work digitally most of the time, it makes it much easier to work using my iPad.

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
Coming up with new ideas, sketching them out and choosing the best one to develop. I also really like trying out different textures, adding patterns sometimes to my work too and seeing everything comes together.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Learn as much as you can. Look also at certain aspects which you think you need to work on more. For example, backgrounds, poses etc, and practice that until you get better at it. If you love it, keep at it and have fun. 

Shirley is a children’s book illustrator and designer. She loves illustrating nature, animals, creating inspiring lettering pieces and has also taken various courses in illustration and design.

For more information, please follow Shirley on her instagram.