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2016 Golden Pinwheel Young Illustration Competition Winners Gallery - Sally Walker, Silver Medal Award
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About Sally Walker 

I’m an illustrator based in rural Suffolk, UK, and a recent graduate of the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.
Originally I come from a background in Time Based Media (motion graphics) and have had a career in digital design for over 17 years. The MA was an opportunity to refocus on what I wanted to achieve creatively in my life.
Not only did it make me start drawing from life again, it took me away from the computer and back into the print room. I really enjoy the experimental process and often end up using textures from this stage in final artwork, and then using my digital skills to layer and compose.
The combination of using traditional textures and digital collaging has endless possible outcomes.
I love observing people and everyday scenarios and bringing this into my artwork.
I’m also a mum and find great joy in capturing my daughter during her everyday activities. My sketchbooks are full of her.

Seven Questions to Sally 

What brought you to drawing in the first place?

I’ve always been creative and have drawn for as long as I can remember. But as I went down the digital route during my degree and early career I left it behind a little. It wasn’t until around 7 years or so ago that I started picking up my pencil on a regular basis again. I use a lot of print making in my work and my love for this stems from the great art college I attended (Barnsley College) which allowed you the freedom to experiment with different techniques. Again this was left behind during my career so I was thrilled to gain access to the print room when I started my MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge school of Art.

On your blog, you say you are addicted to children’s illustration. What fascinates you in it? Can you tell us more about it? 

So much to say! A starting point is just to visit your children’s area in your local library/bookshop to see how creative children’s books are. But then if you push further and look into international Children’s books the wealth of creative diversity out there is awe inspiring.
You can have the same old story re-told over and over again using different artists visions and that story will never be the same. There’s so much potential in children’s books, I think it’s a platform that really allows illustrators to be individuals, maybe because children are so fresh and more open to different ideas.

Can you tell us about your academic training at Cambridge? What did you learn there? 

The MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge school of Art is a fantastic course, if money was no object I’d love to do it again. I think the fundamental factor of the success of the course is that it starts with a semester of pure observational drawing.
This is the core of being a good illustrator and doing it as part of the course re-focuses you on being able to draw from life, ridding all those bad stylised habits you may have picked up over the years.
The course also focuses on sequential imagery and encourages lots of experimentation and has access to a great print room. I learnt so much but mainly to experiment and draw all the time!

What about your Jungle Book? What connects you to this story? Why did you choose to enter this art? 

I decided to illustrate a chapter of Rudyard Kipling’s original Jungle Book text as I was starting to research my written diploma. I knew this was going to be hard going, as I hadn’t written an essay since my dissertation 14 years earlier. So I wanted a project that I could experiment with and focus purely on illustration. In my previous semester I’d been exploring Victorian menageries and I guess the Jungle Book was an extension of that. The story has it all really, human and animal interaction, dramatic landscapes, emotion… it pulled me in. 



What are you favourite techniques to create illustrations? 

Fore mostly drawing, every piece starts out with a sketch and where ever possible some observational drawing. Then printmaking, this is a wide area and I have experimented with quite a few disciplines, but there are so many more I want to learn. My favourites are collograph, monoprint, lino cut and foam prints, I often use a combination of these in most of my works. I always compose digitally, I think that’s what I love about illustration, there are no rules to what you can/can’t do.


What are you next projects? 

I’m currently working on a non-fiction picture book about Sea and River Otters and an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story ‘The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep’. But I’m really hoping I can find some time to get back into the print room and create some more collographs.

How did you hear about the competition?

Through the Cambridge school of Art. The tutors are a great source of information and always publicise all the competitions they hear 

Follow Sally on her social networks
Instagram: @ sallywalkerillustration



Sally's Portfolio

One of my most recent works. An image from the Hans Christian Andersen story ‘The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep’. This is where the couple escape through the chimney pot and see the whole world spread out before them.
Same as above, where the Shepherdess escapes from the table.
Images from my non-fiction book about Sea and River Otters. I really enjoyed creating water scenes for this book.
This is a collograph from the book ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens.
Collograph is a print-making technique where you cut into a piece of thick card (mount board) and tear away pieces to create an image. This is then inked like an etching and ran through a printing press. The range of textures you can create are beautiful, it’s a really physical process and you get rather messy, which I love.
This is an image from a book I created for one of my final MA projects ‘The Orchid Hunters’. It tells of victorian orchid hunters and the perils they faced (to themselves and wild orchids).
Sketchbook images of my daughter’s swimming lessons drawn from observation, I love how the children all look identical once they have their swimming hats on.
I really enjoy drawing animals, these are created by using foam prints layered with pencil drawings.
My daughter has ended up in a few of my final pieces too!


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