Well hello there, my name is Cheryl and I am the illustrator responsible for bringing life to the sassy kids you see here at Sassy Cheryl's. My story is probably a lot like other artist's stories that you've read. It's a common story and we've all heard it before. But here goes....
I grew up with a love for drawing, and dreamed of one day being a working artist. It was the same dream that most of my other artist friends had too. I just knew that after I graduated from college, (Mary Baldwin college) I was going to move to New York City, live in a fabulous loft, and do nothing but spend my days creating children's illustrations for books. Boy was I naive. Hey, come on now, when you're 19 years old, you think you know it all. Right?! Oh, the things I could tell my younger self now! I could certainly save her a lot of time.
Well, I think you can see where this is going. I didn't quite make it to New York City, in fact, I have yet to even go for a visit. And no, I never got that fabulous loft that I was dreaming about either. I did however fulfill the dream of becoming a children's illustrator and a working artist. Just not in a fabulous loft in NYC. And may I be completely honest with you? I wouldn't change a thing.
I have had the privilege of illustrating images for one childrens book, and although it was a fun and a very rewarding experience, that isn't where my passion is today. I still have that children's illustrating passion, it's just been redirected a little. Now my passion is in creating children's illustrations that will make folks smile on a daily basis. Creating characters that others will love. A love for these sassy kids that makes them want to share them with others because they make them smile. And just how did it start?
Well, it all started back in 2001, when I opened up my first illustrations shop, called Homespun Stichin' Graphics, and over the years has transitioned into Sassy Cheryl's Stamps. In the pursuit of my working artist dream, I was also fortunate enough to have signed with a licensing company and had the privilege of working with companies such as Hobby Lobby, Kohl's, Blossom Bucket, Home Depot and Shopko in licensing some of my images into wonderful Christmas and fall products. There is nothing like the feeling of a company having enough confidence in your images to put them on their products. And then to actually get to see the products for sale in their store or catalog...well, that was just an added bonus.
I don't do licensing anymore. Instead, I have decided to put my focus elsewhere. On my sassy kids! But I still get that same amazing, humbling & warm fuzzy feeling when someone purchases one of my illustrations and uses it to create a card for that special someone, just like I did when I was a licensed artist. Out of all the illustrations they could use in creating that card, they chose one of mine because they thought it would make someone smile. I am honored, to say the least and that is what fuels my passion. The passion of creating illustrations that will put a smile on someones face, make them laugh or rekindle a childhood memory. That's the part that I love, and I never get tired of doing that. Never!
My love for creating these sassy kids and sharing them with you, has resulted in my receiving many emails over the years. Emails from customers and admirers telling me how much they enjoy my sassy kids and how much they make them smile. I never get tired of hearing that. I don't think any artist does. I also get the occasional email asking me, "is one of these sassy kids you? Which sassy kid is most like you?" Anyone who really knows me could answer that question without hesitation. But I would have to say, without a doubt, that I am most like Joey...in attitude and personality. But Sally & Bella are based on my life. I think we ALL have a little Joey as well as a little Sally in us.
Growing up, I was just like Joey. I too was a tomboy. I usually had my hair up in pigtails, or was sporting a baseball cap. I always wore t-shirts, jeans or shorts and played football, tag and baseball with the boys. I climbed trees and built tree houses and forts with my cousins. Boy, those were fun days! But on the other side of that...I was just like Sally. Spending time with my beagle, Fluffy. That dog followed me everywhere.
Well, I am getting too old to be that kind of tomboy. I'm definitely more like Sally now, but I still look the part. In fact, if you would stop by my apartment on any given day, you will find me in blue jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap, sitting at my drawing table, sketching away or coloring up one of these fun & sassy kids, with Bella laying right at my feet. I don't know, maybe it is how I get into character. Who knows. I'm not really sure, but I do know one thing for sure. And that is something that will never change about me. It's just part of who I am. I will always have a love for drawing and I will always. . .always be a tomboy. It just can't be helped.
To sum it all up, I can certainly say that I have come a long way since opening that first illustration shop back in 2001. And I have learned a lot. I have also had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with people from all over the world and have also made some lifelong friends. All because of my sassy kids. Thanks kids! I have to say, it has been a wonderful journey and I can't wait to see what's next! Like my daddy has always said...."if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life". And he's right... I really do LOVE my job!!!!!