Hey Chante aka Chanté Timothy on creating kaleidoscope-styles for kids and grown-ups
Known as Hey Chante, Chanté Timothy is a London artist doing dazzling editorial and picture book work, most notably for this year's A Black Woman Did That.
Written by Malaika Adero, the book showcases "42 boundary-breaking, bar-raising, world-changing women" as drawn by Chanté, including Oprah, Ida B. Wells, Misty Copeland, and Ava DuVernay.
"Back in 2017 I joined a database called Women Who Draw as a way to get my artwork out there in front of more people," Chanté tells us. "I had never really planned to work in children's book publishing, but I was approached by Downtown Bookworks to illustrate (at the time) forty black women.
"I learnt a great deal throughout this project, and my favourite illustrations from the whole book are Mae Jemison and Alice Coltrane. I had the most fun with the detail in Mae and the bright, radiating colours in Alice Coltrane to symbolise her music and spirituality."
The artist definitely has a penchant for illustrating people, whether for kids or adults.
"I have, at the moment two styles in my portfolio: I have a style for an older audience and a style solely for younger children.
"My style comprises of a kaleidoscope of bright colour with bold lines that always seems to capture some element of movement in every piece, as made with a combination of traditional techniques in my linework, and digital software for the colouring process.
"After illustrating A Black Woman Did That, I realised that I would love to work on more children’s books. I eventually found a course called Pathways into Children's Book Publishing (I’m currently in my second year) and this has really helped propel me into the right direction, introducing me to different publishers which has allowed for a few exciting projects to come my way."
What the artist enjoys most about being an illustrator is the wide variety of subject matters she learns about on the job.
"I thought I would leave most of the studying at school, but I often find myself learning new facts and interesting concepts from the briefs I've been given.
"I'd also say the community on Twitter has to be the most welcoming and supportive, and I enjoy the raising awareness of non-white illustrators as I used to believe I was one of few in the space.
"We have to thank Abelle Hayford for #drawingwhileblack and Dapo Adeola for starting the #blackbritishillustrators hashtag which helped set off a wave of different minorities to highlight their talents.
"I now get to fangirl over a wide spectrum of different art which is what I feel like most illustrators do with each other."
Chanté has been drawing for as long as she can remember, being "that kid that would ask for a pencil and some paper and entertain myself drawing instead of playing with dolls."
"I have always planned on drawing for a living; I just didn’t know how it would work as everyone always tells you you'll go hungry.
"I went to Coventry University to study Illustration and Graphics; I originally thought I wanted to be a graphic designer, but during my stay at Coventry I went on an Erasmus year out in Berlin where I was a design intern for bethaus. Although I had an amazing time with great memories, I realised the rules in graphic design are too stifling for me, so in my final year I figured out the beginnings of my creative style by drawing every day of 2016.
"Straight after university, I had a few professional gigs, but my day jobs did get in the way of any real progress. My career is only now becoming more stable.
"In the end, I don't believe there's another career path better suited to me. Illustration has been the only passion I've ever had."
You can say 'Hey!' to Chanté on Twitter @sayheychante and Instagram @hey.chante.