How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
It is a visual thing so I prefer to direct people to my folio pages at Artist Partners rather than try to describe it in words.
How did you start off in the arts? How/when did you realise that you were an artist?
I can’t remember a time when, once I had learnt how to hold a crayon, I was not trying to colour or draw something with it. When other children wanted pets or bicycles, all I wanted were those long red tins of Caran D’ache coloured pencils …I loved arranging and rearranging them in all their different shades.
I never did “realise I was an artist” I think making pictures just happened to be all I could do…or wanted to do. In fact it is probably an obsession now more than anything …I can’t not do it. Even when I am not working on a specific job I can stay up all night, and often do, working on something no one will ever see … I don’t ever think of myself as “an artist”, I think I am more of an addict!
Please describe a typical day of art making for you.
I wish I could describe a “typical day”. My biggest problem working by myself is that every day is different and it has always been a struggle to find a routine to stick to.
If I have a specific commission for an illustration, before I put pencil, or brush, to paper I will first try and find as much information about the subject as possible.
Sometimes references will be provided by my client but I always like to research and collect as much detail as possible even if it does not appear in the image, it helps concentrate my mind on the subject.
At home I work on a drawing table and a computer which both sit on a table next to french windows that open out on to my little garden. Most days I can be found right there amongst the brushes, paints, pencils, papers, books, photographs, everywhere…my typical day could be described like that I suppose… Some might call it “disorganized”, I prefer “organic”!
I do tend to do a lot of different versions of the same image till I think I have got what I want…and then typically I go back to the very first one!
What contemporary artists or developments in illustration do you find interesting right now?
We are living in an era when the overlap between reality and fantasy is getting harder and harder to define. With CGI and motion capture and the ever increasing advancement in special effects, I think illustration has expanded from storyboards, background painting and animation to all aspects of film and moving art forms.
My favourite artists are Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and John Singer Sargent but if you want “contemporary”… it has to be Michael Bay and Catherine Bigelow.
How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
I don’t remember ever finishing a piece….I am forever wanting to change something, add something or take something away …or start again completely. What happens is I have to deliver the work for a deadline so that is the day the work is “finished “. I think left to my own devices ,with no deadlines at all, I would probably only ever be working on one piece and trying to get it right !
What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you’re not creating?
After Martyn Pick, my garden is the love of my life… I can spend hours just loving it. I also enjoy a good film, cooking, eating and laughing with family and friends. Or wandering around Portobello Market and finding hidden treasures, old books and magazines.
Any advice for aspiring young illustrators?
Keep working at it.
Always work from your heart and be true to yourself. Don’t ever worry about making a mistake, enjoy the journey that is what counts…because once you arrive there is nowhere else to go.
Thank you Sharon! It’s great to have an insight into how you create such beautiful work.
Right we have attached a couple of Sharon’s images for Chambord below to show how she spends time making small alterations to a particular image. Below are just two examples but as Sharon mentioned, she creates numerous copies before she feels happy to pick one to be used.