top of page

084: Intersection: Shen Ramu, Animator

Updated: Dec 15, 2023



In the previous episode, we met Caroline Duffy who spoke with us about the textile design industry, how her involvement in an artistic community is life-giving and the joys and challenges of working for oneself. She also reminded us to get out into nature for a healthy dose of inspiration and today’s guest agrees.


Allow me to officially introduce you to today’s guest: Shen Ramu.


Shen Ramu, born and raised in Toronto, is an Illustrator and Designer working in the Canadian Animation Industry. Since graduating from the Animation Bachelor’s Degree program at Sheridan in 2012, she’s been designing characters, props, and locations for various animated kids’ television series. These include Paw Patrol, Justin Time, and Disney T.V. shows such as Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Star and the Forces of Evil. Shen has worked locally for studios in Toronto as well as in Ottawa and now works with clients all over the world from the UK to South Korea to Israel. Her artistic goal is to create bright, happy images for kids to enjoy. Children, animals, and nature are heavily featured in her personal work, each image telling a story through expressive visuals. Shen loves border collies, jazz music, and that her work in animation keeps her young at heart!


In our conversation, Shen and I discuss how she continues to refine and redefine her style, how she keeps herself inspired and the tools she uses to create her work.


Key Ideas Discussed:

  • Works in animation

  • She likes creating the scenes and the characters more than just making the characters move

  • She likes working on preschool shows

  • Cute characters, sweet and welcoming environments

  • Bright, bold colour palettes

  • Her style is 'cartoony', which she enjoys

  • Style is always changing and always evolving

  • Have to know how to adapt to other styles of shows

  • She found her artistic style by doing a lot of drawing - children, animals, nature are some of her favourite subject matter

  • Slowly over time you find what feels unique to you

  • Stylus right on her monitor

  • Off the computer she uses pencil and paper (even a lined paper pad) - get ideas out onto paper, that's never for the final piece (scan or take a picture and bring it into Photoshop to continue it digitally)

  • If she's sitting at her desk working, she'll sketch directly onto her computer 40-60% of an average day is spent sitting and drawing (usually at the computer)

  • Taking breaks is incredibly important

  • Stretching is very important in her day

  • She works mainly digitally

  • Exploratory research - best shapes and angles to capture a more dynamic final product

  • Finding reference images - Googling images is incredibly important

  • She loves Photoshop because she can isolate and manipulate layers

  • She adds in a texture that gives the digital image some fuzziness to make it look more organic

  • She loves that her work makes kids happy

  • She loves working on pitch projects the most - characters, locations, style guides; works with a writer; helps to sell the show concept

  • Keeping up motivation can be very challenging; to remedy this she ensures she has downtime every day where she doesn't draw

  • Disconnecting your brain and surrounding yourself with nature is so important

  • Self-marketing and business knowledge comes with the territory of making a living as an artist; in a perfect world if she could just create she would love that

  • Dreams of getting into children's book illustration, designing stop motion animation sets, animating music videos; working with kids in some capacity


Among many insights gained, Shen reminds us about the need for boundaries. In the next episode we meet Keight, a portrait artist who shares Shen’s feelings about the importance of boundaries in creative work.


Stay tuned…



A digital illustration that depicts Shen Ramu’s point of intersection between ‘immersion in nature’ and ‘boundaries’. There are two overlapping circles connecting these themes and a straight line connecting her to the place where these circles meet. When connected with the 16 other artists these circles form a map.

An illustration of a girl with brown hair and big blue eyes in a strawberry dress sipping a teacup, saucer in hand.

Illustrations of background scenes in the kids show, Paw Patrol, depicting the ‘Dino Wilds’.

Drawings of four different retro-style trailers.

An illustration of a girl enjoying an autumn day, eyes closed contentedly, arms out to her sides with the leaves falling around her.

An illustration of three flamingos wearing party hats and one proudly also accessorized in bows and a blue feather boa.

An illustration of Diana Varma’s family decorating their Christmas tree, each one’s personality perfectly captured (even the dog!).

The complete map of the colourful, intersecting circles that represent the 17 artists and their connections to one another.

About Our Guest:

A headshot of Shen Ramu smiling with medium length curly hair and red lipstick.

Shen Ramu, born and raised in Toronto, is an Illustrator and Designer working in the Canadian Animation Industry. Since graduating from the Animation Bachelor’s Degree program at Sheridan in 2012, she’s been designing characters, props, and locations for various animated kids’ television series. These include Paw Patrol, Justin Time, and Disney T.V. shows such as Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Star and the Forces of Evil. Shen has worked locally for studios in Toronto as well as in Ottawa and now works with clients all over the world from the UK to South Korea to Israel. Her artistic goal is to create bright, happy images for kids to enjoy. Children, animals, and nature are heavily featured in her personal work, each image telling a story through expressive visuals. Shen loves border collies, jazz music, and that her work in animation keeps her young at heart!



Music (public domain via Free Music Archive): Chad Crouch - Rainbow


Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle


Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo byAlex onUnsplash

20 views0 comments
bottom of page