Fashion, Lifestyle

My chat with Sally Spratt, fashion and lifestyle illustrator

5th July, 2022

Sally Spratt

My skills are with words so I’m always in awe of people whose creative talents lie in other areas. When I wrote Sophia the Show Pony, I knew the illustrations would be critical to the process so I had to find the perfect person to bring the story to life. I’d seen Sally Spratt’s illustrations via her work on The Lust List and loved her style and her use of watercolours. It had an elegance and softness to it which I loved. So we teamed up! I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I saw Sally’s drawings of Sophia — it was everything I’d hoped for and more.

Super talented, accomplished and with a palpable energy for what she does, I wanted to have a chat with Sally about her work, her inspiration and also her creative process. Here we talk Sophia the Show Pony (including how Sophia and Grace helped inspire her drawings!), the covetable items on the Lust List and her biggest pinch me moment…

In a few words, describe what you do.

I’m a fashion & lifestyle illustrator.

What led to your interest in drawing? Did you always know you had a talent for it?

I have always found it calming and energising and naturally gravitated to it because of that. I was fortunately always encouraged in my passion. The more I practiced the better I got.

What was the catalyst for starting The Lust List?

I was in-between jobs when I began The Lust List. I had quit my job at a fashion label and decided to give myself 6 months to make it as an illustrator. In-between sporadic admin jobs and a few client projects, I would lust after a life I was no longer a part of and found refuge in drawing little items I wish I could have but couldn’t afford. This is where the tag line “If I can’t have it, I’ll draw it” came from.

What’s been your biggest pinch me moment in your career so far?

Illustrating my first children’s book alongside you would have to be it! I took on an opportunity I wasn’t entirely skilled for (I had never created ‘characters’ before) and had the determination to learn and make it happen on the go. With the encouragement and support of the team we brought it to life and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have created.

Who would you love to collaborate with in future?

I would love to develop Sophia into a series if we had the opportunity, therefore I would love to collaborate with you again!

Tell me about your process—what’s involved when you’re commissioned to illustrate something?

I usually love to connect with a client over the phone first to get feel for what they are after. I will then spend a few hours researching and collaging references and ideas to support their brief. From this a series of concepts are produced using these reference images. Ideally the client will choose their favourite and I begin drawing. I start by creating outlines on the iPad and then print these onto watercolour paper. Then the watercolour painting begins. Once dry, I will scan and edit these images on Photoshop and collage into an artwork or project using InDesign.

Do you have any special rituals or routines when you draw?

Not really, however when I am drawing I love listening to audiobooks or podcast. I like to stay in my zone when I paint so I try to allocate full days just to painting.

How did you find working on Sophia the Show Pony? What was the process like to bring the book to life?

It was a fascinating process upon reflection. To start, I sourced inspiration from all of the beautiful, animated movies that had animals in them to study how they created their characters. I also did a lot of research around the movement of horses and the other animals in the book. How their fur, hair, body and facial expressions would change. Those details were all new to me. The fun part to observe was seeing how the more I created these little characters, the more I learnt and wanted to evolve what I began with. Every time we had reviews, I found it a growth opportunity to develop. The feedback allowed me to see things I may have missed or develop something I had played with. Having Sophia and Grace’s input in what they loved to see in their books allowed me to take this book to another level. By the time final revisions came around I was so thrilled and proud of what we produced. It was a beautiful collaboration!!

How does it feel to have a book you’ve illustrated on shelves?

Surreal! I don’t think it’s sunk in!

Who would you love to see with a copy of Sophie the Show Pony?

The young royals of the Royal Family along with Harry and Meghan and their children. I would love to see your story bring joy around the globe!

One of the biggest lessons in Sophia the Show Pony is to reach for the stars and follow your dreams. What advice can you give to other women, particularly creatives, who want to follow their passion?

Something I have learnt is, if you are energised when you create, it is a sign you are on the right path. Allocate time to your passion, even when you’re tired as it will always bring you joy. Educate yourself though tutorials, podcasts and accounts that support your goals. Surround yourself with people that are where you want to be and learn from them. Failure shouldn’t be seen as a negative, as it is always an opportunity to grow and a sign that you had the courage to try. Follow those dreams!

What’s currently on your lust list?

A Leo Lin Summer dress. I know I it’s not in season now but I just love their dresses!


An illustration from Sophia the Show Pony

Sophia the Show Pony in all her finery

A Lust List illustration

Sally capturing one of my looks doing publicity for Sophia the Show Pony

So many gorgeous pieces from The Lust List

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