Shaun Yeo is buzzing as he sips his latte.
The popular cartoonist/illustrator went freelance in May after many years in the newspaper industry and he’s hit the ground running.
“I don’t think I’ve been this creative since I was 16,” he says. “I’m pumped. I’m drawing really well and enjoying myself. I’m constantly looking for things to get those juices flowing.”
A long-time go-to man for individuals and organisations seeking to make a statement with one of his distinctive, often humorous, brand of character artworks, Shaun is constantly looking to expand his new online business, YEO Cartoons & Illustrations.
He’s had some high-profile national contracts, including the cover of the winter edition of Consumer magazine, and his art graced the cover of Invercargill Repertory’s Blackadder Goes Forth programme. (above)
He’s getting commissions for his extremely popular caricatures from around the world, with clients in the UK and Australia among the many calling on his talents for personalised artworks. “They’re my bread and butter,” he says.
Shaun’s Facebook page, YEO Cartoons, and website, YEO Cartoons & Illustrations, are opening a world of opportunities for his online business. “That’s why I wanted to work with What’s on Invers – to help drive my website.”
In his most exciting news yet since launching his creative business, Shaun has recently won a contract with a major publisher to illustrate a children’s book. That’s his dream job.
“That’s what I want to do. I want to be a fulltime children’s book illustrator. I’ve been trying to get into book publishing for years … when I got the news I was running around the house giving myself high-fives!”
Shaun got an early taste in 2003 when he illustrated Southland author Lynley Dear’s book The Terribly Tired Try-Anything Tuatara. Three years later he wrote and illustrated his own children’s book, The King, The Crown and the Dragon, published by Craig Print.
Demand for his colourful, highly detailed and intuitive art is growing.
A work of his recently sold for $1200 at a Cancer Society charity auction in Dunedin, and he’s had an offer of $1500 for doing another one.
Shaun is fizzing with excitement about the future. “You hit the ground and you just want to go.”
He’s open for commissions any time. Find YEO Cartoons on Facebook and send Shaun a personal message. He’d love to hear from you.
“It’s such a big part of who I am,” Shaun says. “It’s very satisfying to put up good work. It’s all about the art. It’s always been about the craft.”
This story was originally published in December 2018 and updated 17th January 2019