Eleanor Shakespeare

Even though she also enjoys music, reading, and writing, Eleanor’s true passion is art. She has been drawing since she could hold a pencil, and has sketchbooks and notepads full of illustrations and ideas from the age of about five until the present day. She studied art and design before getting a degree in illustration. During her formal education, she explored different mediums and print processes, but eventually discovered collage and photomontage, which is ultimately the path she has pursued.

Eleanor was largely inspired by her parents. Her mother is a writer and English teacher who has recently worked at a women’s prison, while her father was an art therapist for thirty years. He now works with vulnerable adults. Having been raised in a house that was full of beautiful paintings, books, and objects, it was no surprise that Eleanor chose to make art her career. She now works as the artist-in-residence at the high school she attended from 2002 to 2009.

Eleanor was thrilled to be asked to illustrate Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees (Spring 2017). With the topic of immigration being so relevant and, in many cases, contentious, she feels honored to play a part in helping people see the difficult journeys that many refugees and migrants have undertaken and continue to undertake.

One of Eleanor’s favorite things to do is sit down at her desk with a cup of tea, listening to a podcast and creating work for clients. She considers herself very lucky to pursue her passion and earn a living doing what she loves.

Her advice for aspiring illustrators is to persevere and work hard. She regularly works for more than twelve hours a day. She sometimes finds it difficult to have zero human contact during this time, but when she sees her work in print, and money in her bank account, it is well worth it.

Eleanor lives and works in London, England. Her favorite activities are playing the piano, running, reading, and quilting. She also enjoys visiting galleries and travelling. 

Annick Press books
illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare