Ray started his art career at the young age of 6. Actually, it was his first paying job. His grandfather, recognizing Ray’s given talent, paid him $0.25 to draw a picture of a cowboy
shooting a grizzly bear. This got him going!'
Teachers in grade school also recognized Ray’s talents. His second grade teacher (Mrs. Hudson) entered his drawing in a state contest and he won 1st prize. That also got him going. Although he never went to a large school where art was offered, he was always drawing and trying to learn new techniques. He would stand for hours watching the portrait and caricature artists at the Tulsa State Fair in Oklahoma while the other kids were riding all the rides.
Ray also has a talent for music and turned professional at the age of 16. He was only 17 when he toured playing bass guitar for Jerry Lee Lewis between his junior and senior year of high school. Leon Russell was also in that band. Ray and his two brothers (Dale and Ron) played for years around the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.
By the time he was attending college at Oklahoma State University; he had developed quite a following of folks who wanted their portraits done. This is when he started getting requests from his classmates for caricatures. He thought they would be easy since he had the art of portraiture down very well; however, he soon realized that to do a good caricature of someone was not as easy as he had thought. So, he worked and worked, and is still working to be better and better at caricatures, and has fallen in love with this type of work.
Talent runs in the Shipman family. Ray’s oldest daughter is a very successful illustrator and he is very proud of her. Click here to visit Robin's web site.