Interview with children’s book illustrator John Shelley – Japanese influence

Meet illustrator John Shelley and learn about his experience drawing for children’s books and advertising both in the UK, USA and Japan and learn how his love of Japanese culture and art has inspired his work.

John Shelley studied at Bournville School of Art, in the UK, amidst the aroma of chocolate from the nearby Cadbury’s works, then in Manchester under Tony Ross, before debuting as a children’s book illustrator in London. A fascination with Japanese art then took him to Tokyo, where he lived for many years, seeking the connection between Ukiyo-e and Ultraman.

In Japan, John illustrated for a wide variety of clients from advertising to editorial, and children’s books for publishers in East and West.

He now divided his time between Japan and the UK, writing, drawing, and annoying his cat.

John talks about his career as an illustrator, his influences and the lure of Japan which has influenced his style in a way that Japanese art has been influencing British art for a couple of hundred years, The influence then returning to Japan in a regular cycle. Being island nations, the British and the Japanese actually have quite a lot in common and hold a mutual fascination for each others cultures and arts.

John is on instagram @studionibs and Twitter @studioNIB

In this video:
00:00 introduction
00:36 Background and training
02:03 The lure of Japan
06:03 making posters in Japan
11:29 self promotion
13:02 Manga and Anime
17:53 Manga covers
20:44 Arthur Rackham influence
22:58 One Inch Drawings
28:00 Talking about Sketchbooks
33:00 More about one inch drawings

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