Illustrators Spotlight

Each quarter, SCBWI-Indiana is excited to feature an illustrator or author/illustrator from our region. Below you’ll find information about this quarter's featured illustrator. We encourage you to take a few minutes to learn about this Indiana artist and their art projects.

Illustrator Spotlight.png

Illustrator Spotlight

Meet Talitha Shipman, an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer based in Indiana. Talitha specializes in creating picture books. Nature inspires Talitha’s painting, and she hopes her work encourages curiosity and creativity in children of all ages.

Talitha Shipman

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist/illustrator?

 I've always been that kid in class who could draw. But I didn't always want to be a professional artist. For a long time, I wanted to be a scientist. I was the nerd who knew the Nature theme song from PBS by heart and had a National Geographic subscription by the time I was eight. I almost switched my major from art to geology in college. I think I realized that my first love has always been art, and that it would be wise to stick to that, especially since I was already in my junior year, but I still love anything to do with natural history, astronomy, archeology, and biology.


What training do you have? For instance, are you self-trained, did you attend art school, do you have an art-related degree?

I have an undergrad degree in studio art and then I pursued a M.F.A in illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design.

What is your style? Do you have a preferred medium for your art?

I currently paint digital watercolor on my iPad in Procreate. But I’ve been relearning traditional watercolor. I took some classes in college, but I forgot most everything. It’s been challenging but also much more rewarding than digital art for me. Digital tools have their advantages (undo button), but I was missing the tactile elements of the paper, paint and drawing tools, and the happy accidents that you can only get with traditional watercolor. Right now, I’m playing with watercolor and Neocolor II water soluble crayons. I’ve always liked drawing more than painting, and the Neocolors have allowed me to add more linework into my art.

Can you share an illustration and describe your process with it?

This is an illustration from my author/illustrator debut Finding Beauty. I wanted to capture the beauty of the night sky and the wonder that inspires kids to learn more about the universe. This illustration was a combo of traditional watercolor elements stitched together in Photoshop. I hand painted the girls and the starry background as separate images and then added more stars and constellations digitally.

Who would you say influenced you in the past and influences you now?

The painter James Gurney was my favorite as a kid. His Dinotopia books took me to an imaginary world where humans and dinosaurs lived in harmony. At the time I was obsessed with dinosaurs, and I would sit and try to copy his artwork using pencil and watercolors. He now has amazing painting tutorials on YouTube that everyone should check out! Other artists I love include Andrew Wyeth, Cicely Mary Barker, Beatrix Potter, Ezra Jack Keats, Jerry Pinkney, Julie Morstad, Holly Hobbie, Christian Robinson, and Aaron Becker.

What does your creative or workspace look like?

It’s messy, but I love that I now have some extra space to work, to spread the mess around! For a long time, I had no place to paint besides the kitchen table, and that wasn’t very conducive to a consistent practice. I now have a small studio space to do digital artwork and watercolor. There’s also a spot for my daughter to work next to me!

Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to discuss, or other news to share?

I’ve been doing a lot of book design for the last year or so, but I do have an upcoming project that I’m really excited about. I can’t share it yet, unfortunately. Let’s just say it’s allowing me to dive into that nerdy space deep inside me that I don’t often get to explore for client work.

How/where can people reach out to you?

The best place to reach out is IG. My handle is @talithashipmanillustration. You can also check out my illustration and design website: I do illustration for picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and book cover design for all genres.

Past Illustrator Spotlights

James Newton
Author, Illustrator
Chris Sickels
Author, Illustrator
Amanda M Anderson
Educator, Illustrator
Jonathan Bouw
Author, Illustrator
Shelley Hanmo
Co-Assistant Regional Advisor
Sharon Vargo
Author, Illustrator
Author, Illustrator
Andy Jewett
Author, Illustrator