Charlie Beyl

Unleashing Creativity through Storytelling

Charlie Beyl, Freelance Author, Illustrator and Educator in University of Houston’s Digital Media program, explores the dynamic world of creativity, freelancing, and innovation on this week’s episode. Through his work, Charlie shows students and fellow professionals alike how to unlock their unique creative potential and drive innovation in their careers. Talking points include Charlie’s memories growing up in the Pacific Northwest, his early days as an artist pre-internet, persistence in pursuit of becoming a published author, and creative freelancing as a superpower.  

Timecoded Guide: 

[00:00] Start of episode – Unleashing Creativity through Storytelling 

[05:18] Experience & education before writing  

[23:00] Taking a creative journey into freelancing 

[34:04] Discovering inspiration from family & friends 

[43:42] Using memories for storytelling 

[51:35] Exciting stories still in the works 

[55:15] Finding a work-life-teaching balance  

Forging a path to freelance success 

Charlie has had amazing journey through his career, from becoming a published cartoonist to making career-changing connections, to collaborating with others to getting his own stories out in the world. Before he reached his present-day success, Charlie is transparent about how he had to get his start illustrating other’s stories and building up essential skills, such as storyboarding and pacing. At a Children’s Book Writers conference, he took a major leap that changed his career forever when he successfully pitched two of his own stories.  

“As a freelancer, it’s especially difficult because you are everything. You are the salesperson, you are the producer, you are the marketing expert, have all those hats on, you have to do all that work, and constantly be looking for the next job.” 

Getting inspired by life & memories 

From real-life arguments between grandkids to spooky pictures of scary spiders, Charlie draws from his life experiences to write his stories. Working from home as a freelancer helps Charlie stay connected to his family, communicate with clients, and continue to find inspiration from every corner of his daily routine. Now more than ever for Charlie, especially with the experience he’s gained from other writers and illustrators, it’s rewarding and inspiring to be a freelancer.   

Nurture it, nurture it, and expose yourself as much as possible to other people who do it so that you can learn from them— and be a nice person because you don’t want to burn bridges. 

Exploring the world of teaching 

Alongside his freelance work, Charlie has discovered his love of teaching. At University of Houston, he has the opportunity to teach typography, basic design, and a plethora of Adobe programs. While he works with digital media students and those in neighboring majors, Charlie believes the skills he teaches are applicable and practical far beyond the walls of his college classroom. One of his favorite parts of teaching? Seeing the impressive work his students do! 

“Teaching keeps me young. I love interacting with the students. I have a great time, and I get to teach students from all different majors.” 


Visit Charlie Beyl’s website and keep up with him on Instagram.  

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Born in the Bend is sponsored by Develop Richmond, and is produced and mixed by the team at Speakerbox Media