Instagram: @heychelsstudio

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

Hi! My name is Chelsea. I’m a graphic designer and illustrator, born and raised in Ottawa, Canada. My journey with art and design started when I was a little kid. It was pretty much my life’s aspiration to one day have my own artist’s easel like the painters in the movies. Growing up, I remember Saturday mornings sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching Spongebob, with a heap of pencil crayons in hand doodling prolifically until my parents would drag me outside; so I have always been a creator of sorts. My love of the arts led me to study design in university, and since graduating I’ve been very fortunate to work various roles as a designer, and I also have my own independent illustration and design business.

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I gravitate towards playful and bright colours, using a mix of organic and geometric shapes. My characters tend to be pretty heavily stylized towards the cartoonish, almost child-like realm. As far as subject matter, I have a tendency to just draw women doing their thing, living their lives – but that pattern has emerged unintentionally! I often just draw what I’m feeling inspired by in the moment, so it really ranges. I allow my style to evolve as I learn new skills, so my aesthetic style moves and shifts all the time.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Digital illustration, for sure. Once you have the programs down, the ipad + pencil are serious weapons – the flexibility just can’t be beat! I still do enjoy getting my hands messy in some watercolours, paint or even pencil crayon every so often just to play around, but it is hard to go back now that I’m so used to the relative ease and editability of digital work.

4. What is your artistic process like?

For my illustration work, usually an idea will pop into my head for a piece when I’m doing something totally mundane and unrelated – like groceries or out for a jog, and I’ll often write it down so I don’t forget. Once I have an idea or concept I am feeling strongly about, I usually just sit down and get to it: draw the forms or characters, choose the colours, play with scale. When I am doing design work, of course it’s quite a bit more structured than that; more collaborative with the client and ensuring their vision is seen through.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

A lot of my work is reflective of personal observation or experience. Sometimes something more visual or aesthetic will inspire a detail (I love a good oddly-shaped shoe). I do love to travel for inspiration as well, as different places tend to have totally different styles and influences for communication arts. 

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art and design are my job, so both take up a huge space in my life. I think artists tend to be naturally observant folks and have a certain sensibility for their surroundings.

7. Where did you study?

I was fortunate to have taken the York University/Sheridan College joint programme in Design (BDes) in Toronto, Canada.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be continuing to grow and learn as an illustrator and designer, collaborating lots, making work I am proud of. Apart from that, happy and healthy, and hopefully able to keep travelling.

9. What about in ten?

All the above, but will probably have some fancier night creams.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

It comes down to wanting to touch others’ hearts, tell a story, give someone a chuckle, and express myself.

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I mean it’s hard to decide such a thing, but I don’t know much that can beat peanut butter melted on a toasted english muffin.

12. Favourite book?

Kite Runner.

13. Favourite genre of music? 

Hard to pick just one as I really don’t discriminate, but I love music from the 60’s and 70’s.

14. What are your hobbies? 

Travelling, pottery, jogging, consuming and ranking an obscene number of horror films.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

As a graphic designer I feel incredibly fortunate to be creative in my job, and it’s hard to picture doing anything else. I do think I could be happy doing something that involves animals or people, like wildlife photography or journalism.