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About the Designer - Chamisa

by Eva St. Clair March 27, 2023 3 min read

Chamisa is the illustrator behind Zirkus Design, a studio based in the sunny southwest that focuses on surface design, lettering, and illustration. A southwest native, she has moved over 30 times, traveled to over 30 countries, and lived abroad in both Russia and Germany. She enjoys creating with ink and gouache as well as digitally on the iPad. Her style can be described as whimsical, sometimes cheeky or clever, but always with a lyrical, hand-drawn feel. Chamisa is inspired by her nerdy family, extensive travels, vintage illustrations, the natural world, kitchen experiments, and outdoor adventures with her family.

You can browse her art at:

Chamisa created the awesome art that appears on our "Dragon's Keep" Castles Super Twirler.

Here she is modeling it!

How did you get started in illustration?

Even though I have a university degree in Art, I never had the courage to pursue a creative career. I needed to work right away after graduating, and I always took whatever office job came my way. 

Twelve years, three children, and two transatlantic moves later, I found myself at a crossroads. I needed to decide whether to finally take a risk and give a creative career a go or live the rest of my life with the regret of never trying. 

I signed up for Skillshare to improve my (very) rusty design skills, and I discovered the amazing world of surface pattern design and illustration. Skillshare led me to Spoonflowerwhere I discovered the design challenges

I entered my first design challenge in January 2018. Entering the Spoonflower challenges stretched me as a designer, taught me how to interpret a brief in my own way, and helped develop my style. I also discovered an incredibly kind and supportive community of fellow designers and makers in the Spoonflower Fans Facebook group. 

I'll never forget the feeling when I opened the Spoonflower package with my very first proofs. In hindsight, the designs were really awful, but I had done something amazing. I had created repeating patterns that were printed on fabric that I could hold in my hand. Seeing my designs in person like that gave me the courage to keep going.

Fast forward to 2023, and my business has grown so much year after year. I’ve licensed and sold my work in multiple categories and had the chance to work with some amazing clients like Princess Awesome!

How do you work? Digitally? On paper? AI/iPad with AI or sketchpad?

I love to work digitally because it’s so FAST. These days, there are so many ways to add texture, quirkiness, and a traditional look to digital work. I also love to paint, draw, and doodle using traditional media, but I usually save this work for my sketchbook and for fun because it takes so much longer to complete.

What themes or topics spark (what you feel to be) your best work?

A lot of my work is inspired by my family. I’m a mama to three boys who love science, tech, reading, adventure, the outdoors, and all things nerdy. I often make work with them in mind, using colors and themes that would resonate with older boys, teens, and men. I do love a good floral, but I’d rather be drawing a retro arcade game or an outdoor adventure collection.

Is there a project you are most proud of?

I’m proud of every project I’ve done because each one has taught me something. Even the most cringe-worthy piece from when I first started as an illustrator has value because of how and what I learned in the process. That being said, I think I’m most proud of client collaborations that have a deeper meaning or a cause. For example, I created and licensed a Unity Garden puzzle that means a lot to me because of the work we all need to do to create beauty together in our world. I also really loved working with Princess Awesome because I believe in their mission to create apparel and products that don’t abide by cultural norms and stereotypes.

Eva St. Clair
Eva St. Clair

Eva St. Clair is a co-founder of Princess Awesome and the company's Chief Creative Officer. She and her husband are raising four kids outside of Washington, DC.

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