I’ve been lucky enough to know the ridiculously talented Eleanor Shakespeare for a few years now. (Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, she is English; and yes, her last name is Shakespeare. Really. For serious. Now, onwards to the good stuff.) The artist and all-around lovely human has a gorgeous style of work, combining collage and mark making with incredible results — and we absolutely adore it. Her art has been featured everywhere from The Telegraph to The Globe and Mail, and it’s obvious why: It’s all kinds of wonderful. Earlier this year, Eleanor released her first book, Collage and Keep; and lucky for us, a version of it is coming to the US next year, called Collage This Journal. Eleanor’s work is quirky, fun, and unique — and that’s why she’s our Illustrator of the Week!
Find out more about Eleanor and her art below, and buy some of her exclusive-to-HelloGiggles phone cases by clicking right here.
No pressure, but describe your art: My illustrations are a combination of collage and mark making. I generally refer to it as photomontage illustration. I find material from various sources, but mostly online through out-of-copyright archives set up by museums and libraries across the world — I stumble across some very weird things! Ultimately I’m trying to communicate an idea whilst trying to marry fun and colorful with sensitive and thoughtful.
What inspires you to make things: I think it’s just embedded in me to be creative, and to tune into things that inspire me wherever I am. I love traveling — I was in Paris in January and there was an old billboard on the metro that had all the layers of different posters torn off to reveal others underneath. I loved the effect. It was like gritty urban accidental collage. There are also just a lot of amazing artists, filmmakers, designers and creatives making beautiful things and I want to add my contribution.
Your favorite thing(s) to draw: I do still draw but I tend to incorporate it into collage. I have a sketchbook on the go at all times which I will write, draw and collage in. I did set up a side project months ago called “a collage a day” but that soon became “a collage whenever I have time.” I do, however, attend life drawing classes which are amazing, and keep me practicing.
Medium of choice: Collage! But I work digitally for my commercial work so Photoshop is vital and so is my Wacom tablet.
The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist: I briefly entertained the idea of being a vet when I was about 7, but it was short-lived. Aside from that I have always known I would end up in the creative industry somehow. I was always making and drawing and writing as a child, so I suppose it was inevitable that I’d end up doing something artistic.
Proudest achievement so far: Definitely having my first book published! Collage and Keep is a creative journal for you to fill in using the medium of collage. There are 52 prompts to inspire you to reflect upon your life and experiences, and the book encourages the reader to use their own photos and found material to make it really personal. Collage and Keep will be out in the U.S under the name Collage this Journal in Spring 2016, so keep your eyes out American friends!
Music you listen to while you work: Usually while I’m working I listen to podcasts. I think the part of my brain I use to illustrate must be completely detached from my ability to concentrate on a good story! This American Life is my absolute favorite. Music skips between great new albums and the old classics like The Cure and Joy Division. I’m also really enjoying Spotify’s new “Discover Weekly” feature. It saves me having to make a decision about what to listen to.
Your most prized possession: I have taken a lot of photos using my old Minolta 35mm film camera. As a result, I have boxes and albums full of the last few years of my life which are really precious. But everyone says photos and I feel like that’s a boring answer, so instead I will say my quilt. Last year I asked a lot of people I love to choose a fabric and I stitched them into a big quilt. Sentimental AND practical!
Your personal hero: Creatively, it’s probably designer Jessica Hische, for teaching people how to value their work properly and for producing beautiful things and working with my dream clients!
The last thing to make you giggle: My friend Eleanor (another Eleanor). Same name, same sense of humor.
Current project(s): I’m working on another book to follow Collage and Keep /Collage this Journal which is really exciting and I’m enjoying a lot! I’m also running workshops around London to promote the new book, and juggling my work with children at a school near where I live which I do part time. I’m also doing editorial work and just finished a job for my first Canadian client. There’s more in the pipeline so watch this space!
You can check out our past Illustrators of the Week here!