Hello my fellow wordsmiths and page turners,

Today we are having a brief discussion with my 10 year Penny Crayon look-a-like friend, Miss Claire J Stamper, about her creative experiences, achievements and how the lockdown has effected her creative process.

So without any further waffle from me lets get right down to the interview!

1, Hi Claire, please introduce yourself to our readers, and tell us a little about your early career and experiences up to this point?

My name is Claire J Stamper I am an Freelance illustrator, and for the past three years I have been working on children’s activity books. These include, Nursery rhyme books, colouring books, maths books and search and find books. I have worked for a variety of clients including Arcturus, Bookoli and Crayola. In my freetime I take part in various DTIYS challenges and the like via social media.

2, Now Lockdown has been difficult for all of us, would you say the ‘experience’ has had a profound effect on yourself and how you perceive your work, and if so how?

I would definitely say it has. I can’t really put my finger on what it is that helped me change how I view my own work, but I feel less like I have to be ‘perfect’ and so have been creating more things just for me. I guess something about this effecting everyone has taken the pressure off to always be productive and creating work that sells. That has then gone on to help me feel more motivated to create because I am doing it for me.

3, Now i know you sometimes do freelance work alongside you usual agency work, what effect if any has the Lockdown had on connecting with your clients?

Honestly it wasn’t much of an issue because there just wasn’t much work going during lockdown, and luckily I already had projects lined up. 

4, So would you say that being part of an agency has helped you find work during the Lockdown period, or do you find that this was more restrictive?

Again, not much work was coming in so it didn’t really make that much of a difference. In the end though I did decide to leave my agency as I was wanting to find other sources of income and having to work around them would have been difficult. I imagine being in an agency will have been helpful for many others – some friends of mine were able to maintain their projects and full fees despite clients wanting to reduce them – but it didn’t work out that way for me.

5, Would you say that the current socio-political environment has had a profound effect on any of the projects you have worked on this year?

So I’ve never felt that driven to put my political views into my work – after all, I mostly just make pictures of cute animals – but after being frustrated by how the government has handled the pandemic and many issues surrounding it, I felt like I needed to use my skills and my platform to speak out about what I believe in. 

One of the personal projects I worked on to do this was creating cute dinosaurs shouting hot takes! It started out as a doodle of a t-rex yelling ‘don’t be a dick’ and grew from there. I think it actually went down quite well and it gained me a few new followers, so now I feel more motivated to promote my views through my work.

6,  What have you been doing to recharge your creative batteries to ensure that you don’t get to stressed, or burn out? 

I’ve gone through a few different phases of what I like to do to recharge. Before lockdown I would mostly spend time with friends but over the past few months I’ve had to try different ways –  sometimes I focus on exercising, sometimes I just draw for fun, sometimes I play video games or watch tv series. The main thing I’ve learned is just to look after yourself and don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a break. Creativity isn’t something you can just turn on and off.

7, What is incredible creatures week, and how did you find the experience?

Incredible Creatures Week was a week long drawing challenge set up by a group of artists on Instagram. I followed one of these artists (@apfelhase) and saw others promoting it, so decided to take part. I’ve done a few drawing challenges like this before (such as drawloween, inktober, junebug) but they usually span a month and I often run out of steam and never finish them, so this shorter challenge seemed like a good idea. Plus I love drawing animals so it was right up my alley. 

It’s always really fun working on something like this where you get to share your work and see other people’s interpretations of the same prompts.

8, What’s next for Claire J Stamper?

Well generally speaking I’m shifting into a full-time artworker role, which will be quite a change for me since I have pretty much always been a freelancer and worked on things for children; but I plan to keep up with creating for myself, posting on my Instagram (@clairejstamper) and maybe even re-opening my Etsy shop. I also want to continue to use my work to talk about issues I care about – such as climate change and social justice.

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That concludes our interview with Claire surrounding what she has been working on and how Lockdown has affected her work. Has Lockdown affected the way that you work? Has your experience in the illustration business been different to that of Claire’s? let us know in the comments below.


Until next time, read more books

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