In issue 202 of Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine, we chatted to illustrator and author Sherry West of Sherry West Art to find out all about her crafty life and what inspires her designs. You can read the interview below, and Sherry has kindly drawn a darling digi stamp for you to download and craft with for free! You can find the download and instructions below the interview.
Hi, everyone! I’m Sherry West, of Sherry West Art. I’ve been married for 20 years, a mum of four, and we have a dog, two chinchillas and 13 cats. I’m an author, stamp designer, photographer, teacher, illustrator, poet, and above all, a crafter.
What was your journey into illustration like? It was a very happy accident… I literally stumbled into writing and illustrating my children’s book It’s Raining Cats! It’s Raining Dogs! It’s Raining Bats! And Pollywogs! after meeting an editor from Morgan James Publishing at a writer’s conference in 2017. I’d brought a manuscript of children’s poems and drawings to get a professional opinion because I wanted to see if they were any good. He looked through my manuscript and the rest is history! The folks at Morgan James have treated me like gold and now my book has reached the No.1 spot on my publisher’s online catalogue. I recently discovered that and have been in shock ever since!
Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?
My hilarious husband, the silly antics of my kids and all of our goofy animals inspire a lot of what I draw. Our German Shepherd, Marla, and the 13 cats have inspired a lot of my stories, poems, art and stamps. I’m inspired by anything that’s funny or entertaining and love to tell stories to keep precious family moments alive. What are your favourite things to draw? Animals, angels, fairies, mermaids… anything cute, adorable or funny! I love creating characters for children and adults. As a person who suffers from depression, I know what it is to need relief from it. I use my hobby as a way to escape from daily stress, and I want my art and poetry to help others feel better and to raise their spirits, even if just a little.
How would you describe your drawing style?
My style is sometimes hilarious and cartoonish and other times lyrical and lovely – it just depends on what inspires me to draw at that moment. I think I enjoy drawing cartoons the most because humour is a huge part of who I am. Of all the cartoons I have drawn, my favourite images are what I call the ‘National Toilet Paper Day’ cats, which are available from my Etsy shop. As a lifelong cat owner, I’m familiar with all of the crazy stuff cats do, like raid the bathroom. The day I found out there is a National Toilet Paper Day, I immediately drew up these cats and their toilet roll antics.
As an author, do you think of the story first and then illustrate it, or is it the other way around?
I usually get the idea from something I see in my everyday life. For example, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ was a submission theme for a children’s magazine I wanted to submit work to. Taking inspiration from the words, a mix of animals raining from the sky appeared on the page. The poetry piece wasn’t accepted, but it is now a published children’s book, which everyone enjoys!
How did your collaboration with Stamp Addicts come about?
Stamp Addicts’ Sarah follows me on Facebook and has seen the writing and images I post. She sent me a note letting me know she was interested in working with me. So now my images have been turned into lovely rubber stamps, which have been featured on Hochanda. Sarah and her team are hard at work creating lots of new stamps, which will be in her shop, Stamperama.
What’s your favourite design from the new stamp collection?
The Fabulous Lady. She’s got lots of class and sass! In spite of my best intentions, I’m finding myself drawn to bright colours and sparkles. Polka dots are definitely next.
Are there any other crafts you enjoy?
I absolutely love jewellery making, vintage doll restoration, cardmaking, poetry, and nature and cemetery photography.
You can find out more about Sherry and her life on Facebook, Instagram and Etsy as Sherry West Art.
Sherry’s stamps are available from www.stampaddicts.com
Download your free Sherry West digi stamp:
To download the digi stamp, click on the link below the image and it will open in a new window. You can then save/download the stamp.