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Q&A with Dave Shelton

Illustrator, award winning writer and cartoonist from Cambridge

Hi, I’m Dave Shelton. I started out as an illustrator, managed to spend some time writing and drawing my own comic strip and from there drifted into writing and illustrating my own children’s books. Oh, and very occasionally I design a book cover.

What inspired you to become a illustrator?

I became an illustrator because I loved drawing from a very young age. I drew comics because I love the medium. I became an author kind of by accident, but as with the comics work, behind it all is, I suppose, some kind of basic urge to tell stories.

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What design software do you use?

The degree to which I use software varies quite a bit, and I’m trying to move towards doing more of the work in traditional media before the computer gets involved at all, but it’s usually somewhere in the mix, if only to hide the worst of my mistakes. Most usually (especially for comics work) I use Photoshop to tidy up my artwork and to colour, and Illustrator to letter. Once in a while I do some layout in InDesign and realise that I’ve entirely forgotten how it all works.

What is your ideal work environment?

I don’t know. I sometimes imagine some great barn of a place with endless work surfaces, acres of space, all the computery goodness and bells and whistles I could ever dream of, an amazing sound system etc., etc. But I probably wouldn’t work better, more or faster in those circumstances, I’d just spend more time looking for my favourite pen.

![](/sites/default/files/Boy and a Bear02.jpg)

Where does your design inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from all kinds of places: from out of some secret corner of my brain; from the amazing work my partner Pam Smy produces on the desk opposite me in the room we use as a studio at home; from the work of friends in the comics and children’s book scenes; books, films, websites (Today’s Inspiration, Caustic Cover Critic, etc.), childhood memories…

Who is the person you admire most?

I couldn’t possibly choose a single person I admire the most, but someone I admire a lot who comes to mind today is Jonathan Edwards, because I’ve watched his style evolve over many years and you can tell that he’s properly devoted to constantly refining how he works. And that’s a pretty admirable trait, I reckon.