We first discovered Jade Spranklen, aka Sprankenstein, through an Instagram hashtag #Instasprank. A super-cool project she’s currently working on doodling monsters, colourful patterns and weird creatures over the top of Instagram photos. Her eerie and sinister characters are reminiscent of the scribbles found in John Lennon’s sketchbooks, and the bizarre characters in Miyazaki’s animations. She tells us of her dreams of becoming the next female Tim Burton, of strange childhood habits and what’s inspiring her work right now.
1. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people
I have to eat a handful of raw pasta at least once a day. A daft (and really unhealthy) habit I have carried with me from childhood! Oh, and I dream about the world ending most nights of the week *big sigh*.
2. What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?
I am also a bassist, so I like to spend time playing and writing nit-bits of riffs and songs. Although, I get distracted VERY easily all the time and just go in to my own world. This means I always have parts of ideas for songs here, there and everywhere just floating around like dust, waiting to be finished.
3. When are you happiest?
Without sounding like a cliché of an illustrator, I am most happy when I am in my studio in the grounds of the William Morris Gallery in E17. I share this with my boyfriend Max, who is a photographer, and it’s a wonderful space to be in. We’re very lucky to have it and it’s an inspirational environment to work in. It’s right in the middle of a park so you are always surrounded by activity. It’s great for the brain, and for drawing characters too.
4. What’s your ultimate ambition as an illustrator?
I’ve always had this part of me (that I don’t always want to admit!) that wants to be the next Tim Burton. But female. While I was at university, I did get the nickname of ‘Trim Burton’, which I was secretly very giddy about. I grew up with Tim Burton’s work, not just the films but also the short stories and sketches. His influence on my work is key, but not overbearing.
I love the idea of having the stories I write and illustrate to be made into little animations with sinister, orchestral soundtracks that then inspire other people and make them smile. Or weird them out. I’m not fussed.
5. We love your new #Instaprank project, doodling over photos on Instagram. Tell us more about that.
Thanks! It’s a really fun project to do and it’s my first real jump into pure digital illustration.
It started when I illustrated over the top of my friends Instagram photo. She then reposted it and spread the word. After that it caught on pretty quickly, and I soon had a large waiting list of people wanting their own. I love it! Each photo is different to the next and I can go a bit wild. I’ll go from drawing one-eyed-monsters, to octopus tentacles and then go a bit softer to rainbows and beams of light. It all depends on the photo I get tagged in. I have a waiting list of over 100 people at the moment. Eeeeek!
6. What do you think it takes to make a good artist?
The ability to just keep on going even when you feel like you are going backwards. I think artists all have that moment at some point in their journey where you start thinking negatively because your “dreams” haven’t come true yet. You just have to plough through those negative thoughts, whatever they may manifest as, and keep going.
7. You’ve had some really cool clients, from Lomography and Levi Jeans to indie record labels and festivals. Who has been your favourite so far and why?
They’ve all been so different! But I think if I had to pick a favourite… it would be my most recent work that I did with Clean Bandit x Levi. I got an email out of the blue to design some work to be embroidered on to their custom Levi jackets for Glastonbury. Maybe it’s my favourite just because it sounds super cool, haha!
8. Who/what is inspiring you right now?
Frida Kahlo and Tim Burton. Always and forever.
Buuuuut, I have been taking a lot of inspiration from loads of zine makers and illustrators (local and international) that I saw at ELCAF this year. There were so many talented, witty illustrators doing incredible work and independently publishing their own stories and comics.
9. What advice would you give your 15 year old self?
Never stop drawing your weird doodles in art lessons, no matter how much trouble you get in for not drawing that boring fruit in that boring bowl…
And stop eating raw pasta before it is too late.
10. How would you like to be remembered?
I think it would be great just to be remembered, full stop.