London-based illustrator Jade Spranklen is into gouls, goblins and ectoplasmic embellishments. So much so that she goes by the slightly gothic, oddly comic title of Sprankenstein. Off-duty she’s a regular city-bred creative but under her pseudonym she’s a colourful hell-raiser who spends her time lurking about in east London, scribbling on people’s faces. Jade shares a studio in the grounds of the William Morris Gallery E17 with her boyfriend, a photographer, and draws the majority inspiration from the urban world around her. She says, ‘London is my ‘spirit city’. It inspires almost everything I draw and write. It’s so heartbreakingly sinister with such dark tinted history that it would be impossible not to feed from it.’
Jade attended university in Portsmouth, another hub of gloomy ghost, monster and maritime-inspired creativity and having graduated, moved back to the big smoke. It’s here that she works as a freelancer, creating images for some of the world’s most exciting brands and unique publications. The typical tools of her trade, pens, pencils and the like, serve her well, however, Jade’s recently taken to a spot of digital experimentation.
Utilising Instagram as a starting point, her new project #Instasprank is an ongoing digital portrait series that’s a little like a cross between a horror novel, a kids TV show and an indie fashion blog. Jade came up with the idea after a friend asked for an illustrated photo for her feed and since then, she’s been inundated with fresh requests to ‘sprank up’ her follower’s snaps. ‘It’s really good fun’ she says, ‘because you never know what kind of photo you will be tagged in. It’s great for the creative brain as I have to actively think of new and exciting things to do to each person’s photo.’
Whether it’s light beams, aliens, candy clouds or weirdy creatures, each image takes on a new lease of life. We love the unique and open-minded angle that Jade approaches her work with and were reassured to learn that like most successful creatives, discovering illustration and the freedom it brings was a turning-point for her. Jade was always into art but never considered entering the creative industries for a living, this was mainly because her sinister characters and dark stories didn’t go down well at school. Fortunately this only inspired her to hone her personal style further producing the awesome illustrations she’s now known for as Sprankenstein. Some teachers need to learn to lighten up, right? Explore #Instasprank here.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth