Welcome to Day Three of the Slug Love Blog Tour! We’ve been treated to a hilarious, fun-filled Q&A with illustrator Craig Shuttlewood, hosted by the wonderful @family_book_club_. Together they discuss bugs, becoming an illustrator and naming pet slugs!
My children love this book so we were very excited to be able to host a Q and A with the amazing illustrator Craig Shuttlewood!
1. What’s your favourite minibeast and do you like slugs?!
I am now imagining a minibeast podium and who would be on it! Third place (bronze medal) Gary Grasshopper. Second place (winning silver medal) Frankie Firefly. First place (winning gold) Betty Butterfly. I also like bees, ladybirds and the quirky-looking praying mantis.
My favourite minibeast has to be a butterfly as they come in so many different colours and patterns. They are also very graceful. I wouldn’t say I’m a big slug fan but like them more after working on the book. If slugs could talk or dance, they would definitely be my favourite.
2. If you had a pet slug what would you call it?
3. Do you like gardening and what is your favourite plant to grow?
I have been known to care for some plants but I’m very much a novice. The last thing I planted was a small cherry blossom tree close to my garden studio in Brighton.
4. What is your favourite children’s book?
Woah there. Tricky! I am a big fan of The Giant Jam Sandwich by Janet Burroway and John Vernon Lord. The rhyming is great and illustrations are brilliantly detailed. This picture book was originally published in 1972, 50 years ago!!
Other favourites are anything by Roald Dahl as you can’t go wrong with these wonderful and magical stories.
5. When did you decide to be an illustrator?
I didn’t want to go to law school so decided colouring in would be best.
Ok, seriously, I was lucky enough to have an agent before graduating from my illustration and fine art degree so things just fell in to place. With a background in fine art and a love of painting (and making a mess of course) I incorporated quirky illustrations and words to mixed media work on canvas or wood. Earlier illustration commissions were for use in advertising and publishing (magazines and newspapers). Children’s books came much later!
Difficult to say as I tend to juggle a few projects at once and some days ideas come more easily than others. A complete book project tends to take about 5 months or so but can take less or more. There are often gaps before changes are made (and pauses to drink tea) before everything is approved and ready for printing.
7. What are your best tips for becoming an illustrator?
Be silly, draw, don’t be scared to try something new or take your work in a different direction. Reach out to other creates and agents, be passionate, be brave. Read and enjoy books and look at what other people are doing. Stick with it and most importantly BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Followers are not everything and things will take time.
8. What is your favourite character to draw?
Umm, I quite like drawing penguins, monkeys, monsters, bugs (including butterflies of course) and plants and vines. I’m sure this is just a small list. I don’t have a favourite character but I can say I prefer drawing animals more than people!