Chrissy Schram knew from a young age that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. As a small child in Toronto, ON, she would often find inspiration from her favourite children’s books and comics.
“As a child, I always loved Robert Munch and his illustrator, Michael Martchenko. I would read and copy the images, maybe tweak them a little here and there. There were many Saturday morning cartoons that inspired me, and some that still do, like Adventure Time. You might see some similarities from Adventure Time in my fun family portraits. My style really continues to evolve – an artist never stops learning and perfecting,” said Schram, a military spouse and military veteran.
Schram credits her high school, which had an amazing art program that she attended. She continued her study of art at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where she earned a degree in editorial and corporate identity graphic design.
“I had overwhelming support from friends and family to continue the fun family portraits. I started painting my pets at home, and soon people were asking for paintings of their pets as well. Word of mouth is my biggest form of advertising. I also had made some mom friends that did artisan /vendor shows, which I attended to advertise my work. That was enough to stay home and do this 24/7,” Chrissy Schram
Shortly after graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Schram enlisted in the military. Her first posting brought her to CFB Gagetown, where she met her husband, Alan Schram, who was also a serving member.
While her husband was deployed in Afghanistan, Schram was pregnant with their first child. Unfortunately, he was injured and medically released.
Released From Military
As she felt that her husband was not receiving the support he needed from the military, Schram decided to voluntarily release him in order to better support her husband in his recovery from PTSD. They moved to Fort Erie, ON, where they had their second child.
It was in Fort Erie that Schram started drawing a comic strip based on her own life and experiences. The comic is called What When Who Where Why.
She posts a new strip each month on her Facebook page and on Instagram. As Schram’s comics grew more and more popular, people started asking her to do family portraits in her comic style. It was then that she decided to start her own business.
She notes, “I had overwhelming support from friends and family to continue the fun family portraits. I started painting my pets at home, and soon people were asking for paintings of their pets as well. Word of mouth is my biggest form of advertising. I also had made some mom friends that did artisan /vendor shows, which I attended to advertise my work. That was enough to stay home and do this 24/7.”
Graphic Design Business
In addition to her comic strip and fun family portraits, Schram operates a graphic design business. She designs everything from websites, logos, and business cards, to postcards, invitations, and more. She also works with Meadowroad Publishing, out of Florida. She is their illustrator for their authors and any upcoming comic books.
Schram uses a variety of mediums and technology for her artwork.
“I use an iPad Pro and iPen to do all my digital artwork,” commented Schram, “I use acrylic paint and watercolours for my paintings, and I love sketching in my sketchbook with a mechanical pen or marker landscapes and buildings to unwind.”
Military Leadership Skills an Asset
Schram enjoyed her time in the military and would recommend the experience to anyone. She notes the time she spent in the military impacted her work in many ways, from giving her material to work into her comic strips, to the skills necessary for running her business.
“I feel the military is something everyone should do. It teaches you the true human being. It teaches you true teamwork and accountability for others. It teaches you empathy and compassion. It teaches you loyalty and discipline. Time management and how I relate and speak to people, also managing any conflicts and situations I might encounter with customers as well,” said Schram.