A longtime Alton resident has her art on exhibition close to home.
Kasia Charko’s art was recently put on display at the Alton branch of the Caledon Public Library (CPL) as part of the Artful Caledon initiative, which aims to promote local artists.
Charko was born in England and has been drawing since she was a child.
“I can never remember not drawing,” said Charko. “In school, I’d get told off for always drawing.”
She attended art college in Leicester in the late 1960s and in 1970, she went to work as a graphic designer in London.
“At that time, there was plenty of work,” said Charko. “It was an amazing place.”
Charko illustrated for fashion magazines and in 1977, she moved to Montreal with her husband to work in a studio. One year later, they moved to Toronto as there were many opportunities there in the advertising industry. Charko put her skills to use, and while the pay was great, it wasn’t fulfilling.
So, Charko put together a portfolio and pursued a dream she’d always had in the back of her mind: illustrating children’s books. She showed her portfolio around, got some work, and hasn’t looked back.
“It’s hard work… but it’s the most rewarding,” said Charko, noting that self-discipline is key as an illustrator since it’s a solitary job.
In creating a portfolio, Charko said it’s important to include a lot of different styles of art. She recommends looking at the types of drawings that are already getting published, then seeing how you can fit into the industry while still maintaining your own style.
Charko has a realistic but friendly style to her illustrations, and uses lots of watercolour and pencils. She has an interest in history and that plays into her style as well.
Charko said it was her husband’s idea to blow up some of her children’s book drawings. He believed they would look great as prints, and it’s safe to say the CPL shares his opinion — Charko’s illustrations will be on display at the Alton branch of the CPL until December.
Zachary Roman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen