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Cover image of Draws in Spanish |  Conversations with Latinx Visual Artists and Designers

Draws in Spanish | Conversations with Latinx Visual Artists and Designers

[Draws in Spanish] showcases noteworthy Latinx visual artists, exploring their creative journeys and how they got to where they are today. Host and Chilean-American illustrator, Fabiola Lara, brings humor and empathy to the conversation, uncovering how the artist’s culture and Latinx identity informs their artwork. Whether you’re just starting your creative career or looking to discover the next big name in visual art, join Fabiola as she chats in English with artists who draw in Spanish.

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18: Colombian Illustrator Natalia Cardona Puerta

Sometimes one decision can completely change the trajectory of your life! That’s what happened to Natalia Cardona Puerta when she decided to follow her dreams of being an illustrator and uproot her life in Colombia.In this episode, I chat with Colombian illustrator Natalia Cardona Puerta who creates colorful and playful illustrations inspired by her ‘90s upbringing, her love for the outdoors, and her innermost feelings.Natalia “never in a million years” expected to leave Colombia, but after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design she took a break and realized she wanted to reconnect with her creative voice. Eventually, her mom encouraged her to pursue a Master’s degree and it all happened very quickly from there. One thing lead to the next and she was on a one-way flight to Georgia to pursue a Master’s degree in Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design.Nowadays, Natalia is going through the permanent residency process here in the U.S. to be able to live and work here long term. The legal process has been slow and frustrating. She feels it slowed down her post-grad momentum but she is taking this time to ”plant a lot of seeds” that are sure to blossom in the future.Tune into this episode to hear Natalia and I talk about growing up in Bogota, why she decided to immigrate to the U.S., and how she developed her illustration style after graduating.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.EPISODE LINKS:Listener Survey: Take the survey to help me improve Season 2!Guest Links: Check out Natalia’s Instagram and Portfolio.Host Links: Check out Fabiola Lara on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Topics Covered:Living a sheltered life in turbulent Bogota in the early 90sRejecting a fine art career path for an undergraduate degree in Industrial DesignPursuing a Master’s in Illustration at SCAD after learning about the program a few week priorThe difficulties of being an artist in the US pursuing a Permanent Resident Card (greencard)The impacts of not being able to work in the US as an artistThe pros and cons of receiving an art school educationHer current creative routine after graduatingFinding a better work-life balance after graduationDeveloping her personal illustration style and tailoring her portfolioThe feeling of languishing during slow creative seasonsWorking with an illustration agent for editorial and publishing projectsCompleting a large-scale mural for a dream clientWorking with The Washington Post on an editorial illustration

55mins

17 May 2022

Rank #1

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17: Cuban-American Illustrator Danny Brito

If you feel that running an online shop isn’t a solid long-term plan, today’s guest is about to blow your mind! In this episode, I chat with Cuban-American illustrator Danny Brito, who has run a successful and sustainable online shop for over a decade.Danny originally went to college for Graphic Design, but eventually dropped out to pursue illustration independently after “the universe told” him he wasn’t good at academics. Once he realized you could sell prints of your illustrations instead of only originals, he opened an Etsy store and has kept it running ever since.After 38,000 online sales, Danny has learned to design products as he goes, as opposed to developing entire collections, in order to get a sense of how his customers receive the new merch. With this method, he’s been able to create a variety of products that make his online shop more sustainable in the long term.Tune into this episode to hear Danny and I chat about his experience as an alt-Cuban in Miami, the intricacies of Cuban politics, how he’s made his online shop sustainable, and exactly how he feels about online art theft.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Guest Links: Danny’s online shop, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTokHost Links: Follow Fabiola on Instagram, Youtube, and TikTokFree Download: Listeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Topics Covered:Growing up in Hialeah aka “Little Cuba”How his family immigrated from CubaFacing culture shock when you leave MiamiTrying to fit in with American “white” cultureReconnecting with his Cuban roots with his Cuban boyfriendHis experience of losing his connection to the Spanish languageAvoiding racism by staying in the Miami bubbleThe politics of Cubans in MiamiWhy he chose to drop out of Graphic Design schoolHow he started his merch career with custom painted tote bags for clients from LivejournalHow he started an Etsy shop in a different era (2009)Fundraising with sticker sales and matching donations for charitiesDealing with artistic theftWhether he thinks art theft is ultimately preventable in an online eraStruggling with imposter syndrome as an artistHow finding community can help you cope with imposter syndromeRolling with the punches when it comes to the ever-changing social media trends

44mins

3 May 2022

Rank #2

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16: Mexican-American Illustrator & Graphic Designer Itzel Islas

Did you ever feel like you didn’t fit in with the Latinx kids at your school? This week’s guest experienced just that after moving from Tijuana to San Diego for her Sophomore year of high school.In this episode, I chat with Mexican illustrator and designer Itzel Islas who’s worked with brands like Nickelodeon, GoFundMe, and for her own brand @YAYITZEL.Itzel never wanted to leave Tijuana, but now she’s so thankful her parents made that decision when she was just in high school. She had a hard time adjusting to American life to the point where even the automatic sprinklers made her mad, but now she can’t imagine her life being any other way. Thankfully, since they moved right over the border to San Diego, she’s always managed to feel very connected to her Mexican heritage and grew up constantly going back and forth across the border.Nowadays, Itzel is a self-employed graphic designer and illustrator who creates amazing bilingual products inspired by her Mexican culture. Despite originally having doubts about creating products in two languages — and sometimes even in Spanglish — now she recognizes it’s the best decision she could’ve made.Tune into this episode to hear Itzel and I talk all about her artsy emo days in high school, how her mom helped her discover the field of Graphic Design, and how she decided to create bilingual products to stay true to herself.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform. Guest Links: Itzel’s online shop, portfolio, Instagram, and TikTok! Host Links: Follow Fabiola Lara on Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube! Free Download: Listeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here. Topics Covered:How Itzel’s family decided to move to the United States to help her and her siblings pursue a college educationFinding her high school clique as an Artsy Mexican girl from TijuanaThe diversity of people within Latin AmericaHow her parents didn’t want her to pursue being a Makeup ArtistHow her mom lead her to Graphic DesignPaying for and attending college, and whether she recommends it nowDeciding to go freelance from a full-time, in-house jobThe stress and anxiety she developed from working in a toxic workplaceBalancing work and personal life as a freelance graphic designerHow she launched her online shop YAYITZELHer experience creating bilingual productsGoing viral and her advice for artists on TikTokLaunching a Patreon to create stable income after leaving her in-house gigHer dream commissions under YAYITZEL

1hr 7mins

19 Apr 2022

Rank #3

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15: Afro-Colombian Cartoonist & Illustrator Arantza Peña Popo

This week’s guest grew up drawing book covers and joining competitive reading bowls just for fun! In this episode, I chat with Afro-Colombian cartoonist and illustrator Arantza Peña Popo who’s created comics for publications such as The New Yorker, title slides for Cartoon Network, and editorial illustrations for Refinery29. Arantza and I talk about how people question her existence as an Afro-Colombiana, the persistent conflict between her American and Colombian culture, and how she found her passion for autobiographical comics.Arantza immigrated from Colombia with her mother as a refugee and landed in Clarkston, Georgia before moving to Stone Mountain, Georgia. Arantza grew up in a diverse community but struggled with the isolation of her identity as an Afro-Latina. These days, she is reconnecting with her Colombian culture through Salsa music, even if that means her mom is technically “winning.”Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Books Mentioned in this Episode:One for the money by Janet EvanovichSmile by Raina TelgemeierAnya’s Ghost by Vera BrosgolThis One Summer by Jillian TamakiThrough the Woods by Emily CarrollOther Links:Junior High by Faye OrloveOblivion by GrimesTiny Splendor Risograph PrintingGuest InfoCheck out Arantza'’s Instagram  and Portfolio!Host info:InstagramYoutubeTikTokSpecial OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Topics Covered:How her family immigrated to the US from ColombiaGrowing up in an immigrant and refugee communityGrowing up bookish and drawing book covers for funParticipating in the Helen Ruffin Reading BowlHow people question her existence as an Afro-ColombianaThe struggle to identify with the larger Latinx communityThe strife between her American and Colombian cultureHow she got into making comics after being introduced to more complex comicsHer recent solo show “The World is Looking For You” at Junior High LAHow Risograph printing translates the digital into analogFeeling conflicted about fine art and comics cultureHow she let go of the “elite academic white gaze” for her workNavigating oversharing in her own autobiographical comicsWinning the Doodle for Google competition in 2019

51mins

5 Apr 2022

Rank #4

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14: Cuban Bahamian Illustrator and Artist Reyna Noriega

This week’s guest believes making money from art isn’t harder than any other career. In this episode, I chat with Cuban-Bahamian artist and author Reyna Noriega who’s worked with clients such as Apple, Old Navy, and The New Yorker. Reyna and I talk about the complexities of being Afro-Latina, why NFTs are dumb, and why she ultimately decided to leave teaching art to focus on being an artist.Reyna initially tried to tread cautiously into freelancing by taking a creative director role at a startup, but quickly realized it wasn’t for her — so she jumped into freelancing earlier than expected. After just a few months, she was able to stabilize her income and move out of her parents’ house as a full-time artist. Now, she creates illustrations for brands, runs an online shop with the help of her mom, and writes her poems as a form of self-reflection.In this episode, Reyna shares her journey to becoming a full-time artist, the growing pains of running an online shop, and how she’s now working on creating a legacy for herself and her family.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Topics Covered:Her passion and love for her hometown of MiamiGentrification and the rising cost of housing in MiamiThe struggles of being Afro-LatinaWhy she prefers the word LatinxImpulsively pursuing Psychology at FIUThe reality of being a teacher in the public school systemWhy she ultimately left teaching for a creative careerHow she decided to take the leap to freelancingWhy she loves being an independent and freelance artistThe growing pains of running an online shopCreating art beyond social media in order to create a legacy for herselfWhy NFTs aren’t real and are cash grabs for artistsThe process of writing her collection of poems, “In My Cocoon”Her experience self-publishing projectsHer upcoming projects in 2021Her amazing ReelGuest InfoCheck out Reyna’s Instagram, Portfolio, and Shop!Special OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Follow Host Fabiola Lara between episodes:InstagramYoutubeTikTok

52mins

22 Mar 2022

Rank #5

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13: Mexican-American Graphic Designer & Illustrator Marisol Ortega

This week’s guest describes herself as “100% Mexican and 100% American.” In this episode, I chat with Mexican-American Graphic Designer and Illustrator Marisol Ortega. Marisol and I discuss everything from the trauma of being first generation American, to getting a full scholarship to art school, to landing an in-house role at Amazon. Aside from her Mexican background and culture, we also get into how she found her way to design and illustration.Marisol discovered her passion for art and design after living as a foreign exchange student in Italy for a year during high school. This experience shifted her entire perspective and opened her eyes to art as a career. Once arriving back in the States, she took this momentum and channeled it into finding scholarships to fund her dream of going to art school. With dedication, Marisol was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship and received a full ride for her art education.In this inspiring episode, Marisol shares her perspective on freelancing and motherhood, how she’s putting a stop to generational trauma, and how she found her passion for design through a foreign exchange program.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Topics Covered:Marisol’s experience being a first-generation Mexican-AmericanMotherhood and breaking generational traumaThe trade-offs between being an in-house designer and a freelance designerHow she found her passion for design through a foreign exchange program in ItalyBeing the first in her family to attend collegeBecoming a Gates Millennium Scholar and getting a full-ride scholarship to the Art Institute of SeattleThe struggles of being one of two minority students in art schoolThe intricacies of being a white Mexican and not feeling Mexican enoughDealing with backlash in the workplace for speaking on politics as a LatinaBeing the token Latina in the officeHow she landed her graphic design role at StarbucksWhy Marisol has a passion for packaging designHer process for collaborating with a brand designerHer process for creating powerful color palettesThe difference between illustration and designHow to think more broadly about the application of illustrationsWhy she was compelled to work with Linocuts and incorporate it into her design practiceGuest InfoCheck out Marisols’s Instagram, Portfolio, and Shop!Special OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Follow Host Fabiola Lara between episodes:InstagramYoutubeTikTok

42mins

8 Mar 2022

Rank #6

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12: Venezuelan Character Designer @ReeArtworks

This week’s guest found her way to illustration after resisting a creative career for a few years. Ree is a Seattle-based Venezuelan independent character designer and illustrator. She’s built a career off of her unique character style and perspective and continues to share it with the world through Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.Ree found herself in a severe creative block for the past few years, but is now finally on the other side after relocating to Seattle and adjusting her work/life balance. Now she prioritizes self-care instead of overworking herself in order to prevent creative burnout.In this episode, we go over how Ree revitalized her creative practice, how she developed her artistic style, and her tips for prioritizing self-care.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Topics Covered:The pros and cons of living in MiamiExploring different career pathsLaunching her online shopBalancing content creation with artworkPrioritizing self-preservation over content creationStruggling with depression and anxiety as an artistWorking through art block by prioritizing her own needsKnowing when it’s time to take a break instead of burning outDiscovering her unique artistic styleRee’s creative routineAdvice for finding your own style and illustration worldRusalochka - The Little Mermaid, USSR, 1976Evolving with your work onlineBeing embarrassed by your own artistic evolutionHer marker collaboration with ArtXXHow TikTok is the new place to beGuest InfoCheck out Ree’s Instagram, TikTok, YouTube channel, and Portfolio.Special OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Follow Host Fabiola Lara between episodes:InstagramYoutubeTikTok

53mins

22 Feb 2022

Rank #7

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11: Mexican Graphic Designer & Illustrator Lila Miller Espinosa

This week’s guest originally went to school for Behavioral Psychology before finding her way to graphic design. Lila Miller Espinosa is a Brooklyn-based Mexican graphic designer and illustrator who currently works as the Digital Design Manager at Parkwood Entertainment — aka Beyoncé — while running her Spanish-language newsletter Bonita Semana.After years of being a working psychologist, Lila spontaneously decided to follow her then-boyfriend to the US after finding out she qualified for U.S. citizenship through ancestry. With a U.S. passport in hand, Lila moved to NYC with only $1,000 to her name.After 3 months of job-searching, she landed a job as an Office Manager at TimeHop. From there, she made major moves to end up as the Digital Design Manager at Parkwood Entertainment.In this episode, we go over how Lila seized opportunities to become a brand designer, how she launched Bonita Semana, her tips for breaking into the design world, and whether or not she’s met Queen Bey herself.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Guest InfoCheck out Lila’s Instagram, Portfolio, and Subscribe to Bonita Semana.Special OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Follow Host Fabiola Lara between episodes:InstagramYoutubeTikTokTopics Covered:Resisting creativity by choosing a practical career pathWorking full-time as a psychologist after graduating with a Behavioral Psychologist degreeBreaking into design through UX/UI DesignMoving to the US with $1,000 dollars to her nameExperiencing culture shock moving from Monterrey to New York CityStruggling with Imposter Syndrome since she doesn’t have a formal design backgroundLaunching her Spanish-language newsletter Bonita SemanaLanding her role at Parkwood Entertainment as the Digital Design ManagerWorking on IVY PARK with the Adidas TeamIf she’s met Beyonce herselfHer favorite Latinx designersAdvice for people trying to break into the graphic design industryHaving no shame around self-promotionDisputing negative Mexican stereotypes

47mins

8 Feb 2022

Rank #8

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10: Argentinian Cartoonist & Illustrator Pepita Sandwich

Pepita Sandwich grew up feeling like she couldn’t be an artist because her work wasn’t realistic enough. Josefina — who goes by her nickname Pepita Sandwich — is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and cartoonist who loves to capture “crappy magic” and nostalgic emotions with her creative work.She was raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and grew up visiting art museums and eating endless amounts of ice cream at her grandfather’s ice cream shop. Pepita pursued a degree in Fashion Design from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, but after graduation, she quickly followed her passion for illustration and comics.Once she published Survival Diaries in 2016, she made her way to the US to pursue an MFA in cartooning at The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. While studying for her MFA, she wrote and published her second book, Women Move Mountains, with Penguin Random House. She’s gone on to work with clients such as The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and Adidas.In this episode, we go over how she discovered cartooning and illustration, why she decided to move to the US, the pressure that comes with sharing your work on social media, and why she just loves to cry.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Topics Covered:Growing up in Buenos Aires with an Art Historian mother and Engineer FatherFrequenting Art Museums in her childhood and how it impacted her workFeeling the pressure of being a “Fine Artist”Graduating with a Fashion Design degree from Universidad de Buenos AiresHow to explain a creative career to your parents and familyThe pros and cons of the rise of social mediaDealing with social media comparison and toxicityPursuing an MFA in Comics at The Center for Cartoon Studies in VermontPublishing Women Move Mountains in 2019 and Survival Diaries in 2016Experiencing culture shock from moving from Buenos Aires to VermontThe origin story of the name Pepita SandwichMaking bilingual comics in order to expand her audience and reach the US marketDeveloping a book on crying and the associated taboos of cryingLaunching her new class about having a visual diary to capture a feelingGuest InfoCheck out Pepita’s Instagram, Patreon, and new visual diary course on Domestika.Special OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Follow Host Fabiola Lara between episodes:InstagramYoutubeTikTok

1hr 11mins

25 Jan 2022

Rank #9

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09: Mexican-American Illustrator & Lettering Artist Jackie Rivera

Leaving a stable desk job always feels risky, but this week’s artist — Jackie Rivera — took the leap and never looked back! She is a Seattle-based artist who creates colorful and very graphic pieces mixing illustration, animation, and lettering.Jackie knew it was time to leave her admin job when she received an inquiry for a freelance project with a budget in the 5-figures, and even though she didn’t land the gig, she saw it as a sign to believe in herself. Just six months later she’s already taking on freelance projects with dream clients and pursuing the creative career she’s always wanted.Beyond her career trajectory, we also get into the ins and outs of growing up Mexican in Northern California, cleaning your classmates’ homes with your mom, and dealing with the guilt that comes with being a first-gen college student.Be sure to tune in to this episode for a few words of encouragement for artists who find themselves between a soul-sucking admin job and their dream creative career.In this episode, we talk all about how Jackie found graphic design, how she gets inspired to create new work, and how she expanded her identity beyond her artistic output.Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.Topics Covered:Connecting with your culture through Mexican foodUnpacking Mexican MisconceptionsValidating your immigrant parents’ strugglesDrawing Spongebob, Bratz Dolls, My Scene Dolls, and ZentaggleBreaking the starving artist stereotypeCleaning houses for your rich classmatesDiscovering graphic design at a career fairBeing inspired by the Mexican designers before her such as Marisol OrtegaWorking at a soul-sucking job for a stable incomeStruggling with feeling like “an artist”Believing in your artistic valueAdvice for artists who feel like giving upCreating for Instagram in order to attract clientsWorking with Adobe on animated lettering postsGetting started with tactile letteringBeing comfortable with being bad at somethingGuest InfoCheck out Jackie Rivera’s Instagram and Portfolio.Special OfferListeners of the podcast can get a free, undated weekly and monthly planner inspired by the show from our website here.Follow Host Fabiola Lara between episodes:InstagramYoutubeTikTok

1hr 1min

11 Jan 2022

Rank #10