The Chesterfield artist talks juggling family and art as she brings 50m mural to life at the Royal Hospital
The 50m mural was commissioned by the Chesterfield Royal Charity – but the talented Chesterfield artist and illustrator has also worked with Waitrose, Chatsworth House and Innocent Smoothies and produced stunning illustrations for numerous books.
Growing up in Bolsover, she discovered a passion for art from an early age: “I always drew, I always found it enjoyable and I was drawn to it,” she said. declared.
Sally continued her studies until sixth grade, but found herself drawn into the world of art.
“I kept doing A levels, but I just thought it wasn’t quite for me. I knew someone who was taking an art class, she told me to come take a look, so I went there and I was like, this is a little more me, you just got this buzz and I felt like I was at home.
Sally completed her GNVQ with honors and then went to college to study a degree in graphic design. “I think because I was young I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I knew I liked to draw but I knew I wasn’t a good artist, I’m a pretty simple person so I couldn’t fault it and ended up concentrating on illustration.
After graduating with a 2:1, she worked in college as a print technician and did some freelance work. She returned to Chesterfield where she worked as a tutor at Chesterfield College in Art and Design.
Focusing on building a family with her husband and having four children, she continued to teach but was looking to work on projects and build her portfolio.
“What changed was when my youngest Gabriel got to school age, and I saw a competition at Penguin, where they asked illustrators to participate in a mentorship program. not really updating my portfolio as i was busy having kids so i entered it thinking it would come to nothing but i like a project, and no one was more surprised than me when I won it!
Following the mentorship program with Penguin, his illustrations were included in ‘The Penguin Book of Big Dreams’, an anniversary book which celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Puffin Books. The book was released in 2020 and included other famous artists such as Sir Quentin Blake, Beatrix Potter, Shirley Hughes.
Sally was hoping to launch her career as an illustrator, but the coronavirus pandemic hit. “I thought I had done well, I was going to send this book to everyone, but then it all stopped. It was a bit anticlimactic, but I just kept going, got some orders, worked with a local lady on her book and worked on my website.
At Christmas 2020, she was delighted to receive a phone call to commission work: “I was approached by Innocent Smoothies, and they said we needed an illustrator with your style, we want to commission a book on the Santa Claus arriving during lockdown. It was great, we did it in two or three weeks, it was a really tight deadline so I worked day and night. Santa Claus had a hazmat suit so he could still get into houses, it was for a commercial where Santa Claus read this book I had illustrated, and it went viral.
She also did artwork for Chatsworth, where she drew elves in different parts of the gardens as part of a trail experience.
In her latest post at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Sally said: ‘With hospital one, two of my sons have quite severe allergies, I went for an appointment at The Den during lockdown, and due to covid , there was nothing in there, and I remember thinking that it’s horrible. So, I told them, I’ll paint your windows for free, and I got a little carried away and did massive paintings all over, it took me a week or two and then they said ‘we’ve got this really long hallway, we’ve been looking for an artist to do it, can you do it?’”
It was Sally’s largest piece to date, taking six weeks to complete and Jenny Reaney, Play Specialist Team Leader at the Royal Chesterfield Hospital, had this to say: “Sally’s design is amazing and we are delighted with the result. It really enhances and enhances the area; I’ve seen patients stop to look at and follow the illustrations all the way down the 50m corridor!
You can find more of Sally’s amazing artwork on her website www.sallyandersonillustration.com, where she welcomes new orders as well as a selection of greeting cards you can purchase for this special day.