Following service in the war, Shanks took the diploma course at The Glasgow School of Art and, after graduating in 1950, he embarked on a career as a freelance mural painter. He later went on to become a designer and printer with Edinburgh Weavers’ Dovecot Studios; a stage designer with Rutherglen Rep; and a teacher at Glasgow School of Art and in schools in the city and in Renfrewshire. Deeply affected by the landscapes of the Western Highlands since his parents took him to the Isle of Skye at the age of seven, Shanks described his main occupation as “landscape painter”, and examples of his work could be seen in his Scottish Horizons show at Cyril Gerber Fine Art Glasgow, in 1994 and again at Gerber’s in 2004. A member of the Royal Scottish Society of Watercolour Artists and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Shanks also exhibited with the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Scottish Society and the Glasgow Group as well as exhibiting at a number of one-man shows. He is represented in the collection of the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow.