A conversation with...Chanté Timothy
The Conversations Series, creates a positive image for young girls to refer to, by having conversations with different business owners, entrepreneurs and creators. Here, we are catching up with Chanté Timothy is an illustrator who loves experimenting with movement, vibrant colour, character design and storytelling. Drawing for as long as she can remember, she’s always been that strange kid who’d ask for paper and pen to entertain herself instead of playing with toys. Chanté is a Pathways into Children’s Publishing 2019 - 2021 Alumni.
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You've illustrated a few children's books. What was different about the Daddy Do My Hair: Beth's Twists story?
This was my first ever solo picture book. Beth's Twists allowed me to place a darker-skinned main character in a wholesome story which was important to me. I've worked with a fantastic team of 19 illustrators in Hey You! By Dapo Adeola, 20 different Black British writers and illustrators in Happy Here by Sharna Jackson and my other few books have been for an older audience of children. In this book, I had more freedom in creating and Beth is such a bubbly and bright character my work was always going to suit the story. I hope she's super relatable to the average little girl.
When did you discover your love for art? What was that experience like?
As most illustrators say, I've been drawing for as long as I can remember and I always felt this was the only skill I was good at. I went to Coventry University and studied Illustration and Graphics, graduated and got an office job, but that wasn't where I wanted to stay. My very first introduction to children's books was my first title, A Black Woman Did That by Malaika Adero, and from there I was hooked. I still had my full-time job and worked after hours to pursue my dreams. I owe a lot of my progress to Pathways into Children's Book Publishing for showing me the industry in depth and through live projects and special thanks to my mentors, Dapo Adeola and Sarah Dyer. In the last two years I have worked on a few fantastic titles, Daddy Do My Hair: Beth's Twits by Tọlá Okogwu, Hey You! - by Dapo Adeola, My Big Mouth by Steven Camden, Happy Here - introduced by Sharna Jackson alongside 10 Black British authors and 10 Illustrators, The Black Curriculum Legacies: Black British Pioneers by Lania Narjee and more there are more projects to come.
What mediums do you create your work in?
Currently, my work is digital. I often use my XP-Pen 22 Pro, including Photoshop, to create my illustrations. Hopefully soon, I’ll be working on an iPad Pro and use the Procreate software. I might go back to using gouache paint or acrylic just like at university.
How would you describe your illustration style?
I would describe my illustration style as really bright and colourful, with a solid and bold outline. My characters are full of emotion and bounce off the page with their dynamic poses. I would eventually love to see my work animated.
Describe your creative space. And why is it special to you?
My creative space is my bedroom and my office. It's my space for now but it is special as it is where I'm comfortable where all my books that help inspire me through art block and, of course, where all my stuff is.
Who inspires you?
What inspires me are bold, bright colours, the things you see every day - stories that are playful or that have love and connection at the centre of them. If I'm ever stuck, I look at animated movie art books. My new favourite is Encanto. I have nerd out over character design a lot.
Quick Fire Round
Your favourite snack?
Mum' s Rum Cake for sure, if not that any cake, a fondant fancy
Any hidden talents?
Killing a cactus with too much love (water)
What book are you reading now?
I'm actually not reading for fun but I'm studying
Techniques, Tips and Tutorials for Effective Character Design By Stephen Silver