A New Look for Illustrator Shane Johnson

When character illustrator Shane Johnson sat down to design an updated site, the inspiration was obvious. “I’ve spent my whole life either reading comics or drawing them, so I knew I wanted to reflect that,” he says.

After years of non-stop projects for clients on illustrations, character development, licensed character work and text books, he realized he needed to give his own brand some attention. “You get so caught up in just doing the work, I finally made the time to showcase what I’d been doing, and make it mobile-friendly.”
A lot of what he’s been doing is licensed work, an extremely disciplined endeavor to work in a style that isn’t necessarily your own. “It’s a different pursuit, where I break down the process of how an established character is illustrated and learn the rules that govern the style and backgrounds, and apply them consistently.”
Shane has worked on properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar the Last Airbender, Olivia and the Raving Rabbids for Nickelodeon, The Amazing World of Gumball and The Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon Network. But the real thrill is developing his own “heroes.”
“Marketing clients are finding that superhero comics and graphic novel genres are really breaking through to audiences right now,” says Shane. “These styles are a great way to add visual interest and impact to a campaign. That’s where my experience with original character design and sequential art can really be an asset to a client’s creative team.
His most recent work in his own style has been for classroom magazines, providing illustrations to support the lessons and activities. He’s also been illustrating activity books for some new Cartoon Network properties, and, of course, putting the finishing touches on his own site.

As for spare time, “I don’t have any!” he laughs. But he does make time to get outdoors in the Kittitas Valley in Washington, where he lives with his family. And, in the spirit of making time for the important things, he’s an avid home-brewer as well. You can see Shane’s newly updated portfolio here.

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