Interview with Artist Chasity Hampton
Graphic artist Chasity Hamptom talks about teaching on Skillshare and creating children’s books in this interview.
Chasity Hampton Bio
Greetings! I am Chasity, but you can call me CJ! Creative Executive Owner of Whimsical Designs by CJ, LLC: A Children’s Book Illustration Company.
I have been illustrating for nearly six years, and have successfully illustrated and published 3 children’s books within the last 6 months! All of my art is guaranteed to whimsical, colorful, and fun!
In my off time, I teach on Skillshare teaching how to create and design cartoon characters.
Please tell us what you do.
I have been a professional illustrator for 5 years and 2018 will mark my 6th year! I started Whimsical Designs by CJ, LLC with the hope of creating art the world that made people feel that inner child that exists in all of us. It has evolved into a place where writers can bring their creative visions to life from manuscript to published product. Within the last six months, I have illustrated and published 3 children’s books for my clients. You can check them out on my website www. whimsicaldesignsbycj.com.
If your company was a book what would it be like?
If Whimsical Designs was a book, every chapter would be a fairytaleeach sprinkled with magic and adventure inspiring child-like wonder. If you look at my body of work, you will notice that I love color. I feel that my use of color provides a sense of movement and energy that ties well with a great story. I am a big fan of Tim Burton who is known for his whimsical and quirky characters that are often designed based on their own personalities. On the other hand, I absolutely adore Dr. Seuss and his ability to use vibrant and loud colors to create a world in which you can easily get lost. Growing up, I couldn’t help but draw their characters and write stories inspired by their tales. This eventually transformed into me creating my very own comics in high school. By the time I graduated, I knew that I wanted to be a story teller and draw. So, becoming an illustrator was a no-brainer for me.
How did you get started with Skillshare?
While running my company, I am also teaching art classes on Skillshare. I started to teach because I remembered how it felt to view my illustrations and not be too proud of the product. It was a long and arduous rode to finding my artistic style and learning to create characters that told a story. Skillshare provided a platform where I could share everything I have learned on my art journey. My hope was that my students would learn that becoming a great artist is not a destination but a journey.
My first class was Fashion Forward Fairy Tale Characters: Create an Illustration in Paint Tool Sai. In that class, I discuss how to use the art program Paint Tool Sai as a tool for creating illustrations while creating a unique character based off a fairy-tale. I’m not going to lie to you. Creating the course was nerve-wrecking. A lot of planning, editing, and research went into it. If your focus is providing great content, then such is the requirement is expected. Like most first-time teachers, I was more afraid that my content would not be well received. I was afraid of the dreaded thumbs down. My advice for anyone that’s going to teach on Skillshare or any teaching platform is not let fear get in the way. Just Create. Once I published my course, 50% of my fear went out the window. The other 50% left, when I published my second class. I realized that not everyone is going to love your class, in fact, you may even get negative feedback. But that is okay. What may work for one student, may not work for another. Criticism comes with the territory of being a creator. Learning to deal with criticism is one of those things that come with time.
Why did you choose Skillshare over other online
Before I was a teacher on Skillshare, I was a student and still am! I loved that you are able to share your work with some of the topleading experts in the field you want to be in. I remember when I got great feedback from a teacher on Skillshare that taught how to illustrate a children’s book. It was encouraging. Not to soon after, Skillshare reached out to me personally after seeing my project. They loved it and wanted me to consider teaching on their platform. I was nervous and chickened out. Not too many months later, I checked out my project and noticed I had gotten tons of feedback! I knew then I had to teach on the platform. So, I created and shared my first class. Every month I receive royalties from a class that I took the time to create one time. It’s a great investment, plus your sharing great content! It is a win-win.
Is there a large market for children’s book
With a bit of diligence and dedication, I’ve managed to produce original work I’m proud of, as well as collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry. I have designed websites, logos, taught successful art classes on Skillshare, and most importantly pursued my greatest passion- Illustrating Children’s Books. I love what I do! Because of this passion, I feel I was able to make a way for myself in this market. I can easily see this become a great opportunity for artists. However, I am a big fan of following your passions, and not the money. If you love creating art, but don’t care to much for being told what to draw, illustrating children’s books may not be for you. If you don’t like deadlines, and having to revise your art, the children’s book arena may not be for you. There are tons of pros and cons for illustrating children’s book, so it really depends on what the artist is willing to accept. A great book I’d like to recommend is The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books by McCannon Thornton, and Williams. It does an excellent job of breaking down what makes a children’s book marketable as well as how to go about illustrating children’s books.
How do you typically find your illustration clients?
Within the last year, I have discovered that having an online presence matters. The world we live in is digital. So, if you are shy to the social media craze and want to be an illustrator, you have to be courageous and jump in. I have had clients contact me personally because they saw my work on Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, or Twitter. I’ve figured out a system that works for me in building my online presence, and it all started with increasing my online presence.
Do you have any advice for artists interested in
children’s book illustrations?
Believe in yourself and never quit. Every day you work on your craft is one step closer to realizing your dream. Also, Network!!! Meet like-minded people and join artist communities in your hometown! Opportunity is only one door away. If you are an artist looking to get a start in children’s illustration, I am going to be representing illustrators really soon at Whimsical Designs for my Publishing Sector where I will help you land clients and improve your craft. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line Represent Me CJ.