The Spanish illustrator discusses demanding visuals, invisible grids and the benefits of charity work at OFFF 2012...
Computer Arts: Who are you, what do you do and who do you do it for?
Catalina Estrada: I work as an illustrator, both for commissions and for my own brand's products. Sometimes I also work on my own personal art projects. My style is very colourful, detailed, textured, ornate and optimistic.
CA: What inspires you?
CE: I'm easily motivated by enthusiastic people - by meeting people who love what they do. I get motivated by thinking that we only have one life to live, so we better make the best of it. Doing activities that are different to working keeps my eyes and my inspiration channels open. Resting, talking to people, reading books, cooking, going to the countryside, exercising, crocheting, gardening and especially travelling. I can focus better when I'm rested, so I've learned the importance of it.
CA: What was your 'I've made it' moment?
CE: Probably when I found that I could make a living out of illustration - when I started receiving very exciting projects proposals from clients that I would have never imagined.
CA: What's your favourite project in your portfolio so far?
CE: One of my favourite projects was for a rural NGO, Laboratorio del Espíritu, in Colombia, where I created some scarves inspired by the [local] kids' poetry in order to collect funds for the NGO.
CA: Do you think it will lead to more charity projects?
CE: Probably, but the rural NGO project is so important to me and I dedicate so much energy to it. My illustration career started when a few illustrations that I created for the charity were published, about 10 years ago. It was through Gloria Bermúdez - the director of the charity - that I started illustrating. I’m very fond of what she does and I know the transparency of what they're doing, so I want to focus on them. Probably other things will come, but this is my main focus when it come to charity work.
CA: You mentioned at OFFF Barcelona that your wallpaper collection is currently on hold. Can you tell us any more?
CE: We're still waiting to hear. In a way, to me it’s already going great because there are different ways of a project going well. Not everything has to be evaluated by how it goes financially. This is a dream project, so in that way it's already done it for me. The press have been great with us - they love the picture so far. It’s very demanding visuals for a room so not everybody is up for it, of course. But the people who love my work send me beautiful emails saying that they really, really like it, so it’s great.
CA: Do you have a favourite wallpaper from your collection?
CE: If I was to use one, I’d use the one with the swans, which is made from very soft colours, is pearlescent and very subtle.
CA: You have a degree in graphic design - do you use anything from this in your illustration now?
CE: I think it helps in the way I structure my visuals and compositions. I’m always concerned about the balance of an image and how objects are placed. I always have a reticule that acts like a grid - an invisible grid that I just can't get rid off - so even if I do art or painting, whatever, the graphic design grid is always there.
CA: If you could collaborate with any other creative/designer/person in the world, who would it be and why?
CE: I would, for instance, love to make the cover for Ane Brun's album. I'm in love with her music.
CA: What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
CE: New collections with my illustrations, such as Back To School, travel bags, a new umbrella collection and many more exciting projects for sure! I usually work on many projects at the same time, so first I’ll keep working on the licensing projects that I already have - there are usually two collections and they usually come once or twice a year each.
Now, finally, I also have a very nice Back To School collection for Spain, greeting cards and many, many interesting things. There are also some personal projects I want to make time for as well as my painting. I always have to try to find a balance - I have so may ideas. I need more time.
Also we're flying to Brazil again. Pancho [Tolchinsky, Catalina’s husband] will do the photo shoot for the new Anunciaçao collection. As soon as one collection is published then I have to start the new illustration for next. There we will also be presenting the wallpaper collection because the Brazilian distributor loved it. The people in Sweden very much liked the wallpapers too - some people are more into it than others.
CA: And finally, is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
CE: Besides my best wishes for all of them, I would refer them to the Holstee Manifiesto.