Makers To Know: Call Me Chartreuse

This week I'm giving the spotlight to Call Me Chartreuse, an illustrator that makes super fun patterns and fabrics. Read on to find out about her shop, the funny story behind her shop name, and her exciting plans for the future! 

Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear the origin stories of other makers. When and how did you decide to start your own business? What is your creative background? 

I grew up surrounded by creativity. My granddad and uncle are both well known children’s book illustrators, my grandma is an author, my dad is a photographer, my mom is an author, and my aunt is an author and book editor…the list goes on. I always saw art as a way of life. As a kid, I enjoyed art but had never planned on going into the arts or starting my own business. I wanted to be a teacher…or a chemist…I loved chemistry! but some how I fell deep into the art world at the start of high school. I went on to receive my bachelor's degree in Illustration at the University of the Arts and my Masters degree in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

Children’s book illustration was always my first love until I started playing around with creating patterns. A few here and a few there turned into an all day every day thing.Taking a drawing and turning it into a never ending repeat is mesmerizing to say the least.This led me to create my brand Call Me Chartreuse. The name itself came from a time in undergrad where my roommates’ friend was 100% positive that my name was indeed Chartreuse. It’s quite unfortunate that I was asleep when he made this exclamation, but I heard it was hilarious.  

How did you decide to focus on your medium & style?

My illustration work is primarily done in watercolor. My granddad works in watercolor, so it’s the first painting medium I was formally introduced to and it’s the one I always reach for. Plus I hate remixing paints, so any medium where you can just re-wet your palette is a win in my book. For my surface designs, I use mainly pen (the pilot Hi-tec-C pen is my go to pen) because I like to play around with the color in photoshop. Lately i’ve been craving color and am currently obsessed with Sakura Gelly Roll gel pens and their Koi Brush Pens. It’s amazing what i’ve been able to accomplish just using those gel pens! I recently bought a new set of gouache paints. The colors are unbelievably vivid and make for some epic play time…which means you’ll probably be seeing some gouache in my future work. In regards to my style, I think it’s a huge reflection of my personality. It’s always evolving, but it keeps the same lighthearted, colorful, whimsical tone.

Have you set any exciting goals for yourself or your business for 2015? What can we look forward to seeing from you! 

During the month of March I created a challenge for myself where I drew a different fruit inspired pattern each week day which came to be known as "Fruit of the Day". The top ten designs are forming my new collection. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the last few patterns and will be releasing them in my shops by May 15th! That’s pretty much taking up most of my head space at the moment. Other than that I’m playing around with ideas for my next collection and working on diving into the licensing world more in the coming months. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their own self-made business? 

Plan it out and be organized. Figure out what your goal is and break it down into manageable chunks that bring you to that point... day by day if you need to. Things easily become overwhelming for me if I don’t have a specific plan for each day. Oh yeah…don’t forget to have fun haha.

When you're not creating, what do you love to do?

I love to sew! Slowly but surely i’m working my way towards a (mostly) handmade wardrobe. I started off my sewing journey with quilting and had convinced myself that I had no interest what so ever in making clothes. That quickly changed when it dawned on me that I could totally customize my wardrobe by making it myself. 

I also love to bake. I’m obsessed with sweets ( I blame my parents). Due to food allergies and other health problems, I became gluten, egg, and dairy free May of 2014, so if I want a donut at 9 at night I have to make it myself. The good news is that it also means I’m stocked with donuts for the next few days...if they last that long. Erin McKenna’s (creator of Baby Cakes Bakery) books have been a HUGE life saver when it comes to vegan and gluten free baking. 

Lastly, can you share three of your favorite artists? 

Mattias Adolfson (@mattiasinks on instagram)
James Christensen
Lizzy House (@lizzyhouse)

Keep up with Call Me Chartreuse: 

instagram | @callmechartreuse
shops| spoonflower (fabric)
           printalloverme (clothes)