By Kat Harrison
During the few years I spent creating and polishing my debut picture book, I often daydreamed of who would sign on to illustrate the project. What would their artistic style be like? Would they be able to add dimension and their own voice to an otherwise sterile environment? (It’s OK, you can say it – a book about surgery isn’t exactly Disney World.)
Luckily for me, the perfect person said “yes” to the job -- Shane Crampton. She’s the visionary behind Sunday’s world and a freelance illustrator based out of Cornwall, England where she lives with her husband and four equally amazing sons.
Her work is a mash-up of scribbling, painting (usually with gouache) and digital techniques, and she often listens to music from groups like Iron Maiden and Rob Zombie while she creates.
To start us off, can you describe your illustration style in a few words?
Happy and playful!
What made you excited to sign on as the illustrator for SURGERY ON SUNDAY?
It’s a really interesting subject and I think it will be helpful to a lot of children so that was very appealing.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the book takes place in a hospital. What kind of research have you done (or need to do) in order to bring it to life?
I have spent a considerable amount of time in hospitals when I was younger and I have looked up lots and lots of different visual images online.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw?
Veins doing yoga and weightlifting from your book. Hahaha...sorry!
I’m actually honored by that – better to be strange than boring. Have you or any of your kids had surgery before?
Yes, I have had surgery a couple of times and one of my kids has, as well. My younger brother was in and out of hospital a lot when he was little and had two major operations by the time he was two. He went on to have more as he got older, so I spent quite a lot of time in hospital with him and my parents. The car we used to travel in to get to hospital ended up just being called "the hospital car.”
Name three fun facts about yourself (outside of your art!).
I have a black belt in Taekwondo. I love dogs and used to be a kennel maid, and I am totally obsessed with playing my guitar.
What inspires you to create?
I don't think there's one particular thing that inspires me to create, I just "feel" like I have to do it -- it makes me happy. This is why I try to do personal little projects as often as I can, I need to be able to create something and not be confined to a brief now and again.
How do your children influence your work?
My kids, particularly when they were younger, would often say totally random and hilarious things. Now and again, I would translate into a little piece of work or it would spark a little idea for narrative in an illustration.
What is your all-time favorite children’s book that you didn’t illustrate and why?
The Princess and the Pea. I loved it as a kid and it was mainly because it was the only book I'd read where the princess wasn't blonde. It was more relatable to me than other princess books, but this is weird in a way too as I am not even a little bit Princess-y!
If you want to see more of Shane’s work (trust me, you do) – learn more about her here (https://www.shanecrampton.co.uk) or follow her on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/shanecramptonillustrator/).