This week we are excited to bring you another international interview, this time from Colombia! Luisa Castellanos is a fashion illustrator, textile designer, and self proclaimed lover of pink. Her work is vibrant, expressive, and powerfully feminine.
Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance fashion illustrator and textile designer.
I decided to become into a fashion illustrator and textile designer three years ago when I was finishing my career as a fashion designer. Illustration was the only attractive part of design school to me; I fell in love and that was the beginning of everything. Then I turned my illustrations into textiles for my semester final project. Since then I’ve practiced a lot. I created Behance and Tumblr profiles and contacted people to see my work.
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
I started attracting my first clients via Instagram and Behance pages. I posted daily illustrations and prints with tons of hashtags and I did a lot of research and sent emails to fashion magazines and blogs. I think good clients started to come because I take this work seriously. In time, companies and brands started to contact me.
Do you have any tips for being your most productive?
When I am working I try to keep my cellphone away and try to be as comfy as possible. I also like to listen Tedx talks, interviews, and historians on YouTube (My fav is Diana Uribe), or relaxing music on Spotify.
What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?
I think the biggest struggle was believing in my work enough to stop working for free.
"I think the biggest struggle was believing in my work enough to stop working for free."
What is your favorite thing about freelance?
The best thing about being freelance is that I can work in my pajamas and eat on my desk, hahaha.
You are currently based in Colombia, do you find that most of your clients come from within Colombia or internationally? If internationally, how do these clients find you?
Yes, I am from Colombia and I'm based here :) The majority of my clients are from Colombia, but I've had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. They contact me via Instagram; it's amazing how a few hashtags can connect you with so many people.
How do you continue to attract your ideal clients?
I keep posting my work on Instagram (don't forget the hashtags), Facebook, Behance and Tumblr. I also send e-mails to fashion and art magazines sharing my portfolio. But I think the best way to attract ideal clients is word of mouth. If you did great work and you had a good relationship with your client, that will help you to attract new ones.
What do you do to stay creatively inspired?
Runways and trend reports always keep me inspired. I also get inspired by nature in my country (Colombia is the second leader in bird diversity in the world) and of course, women around me keep me inspired everyday.
"Runways and trend reports always keep me inspired...and of course, women around me keep me inspired everyday."
If you could design for anyone who would it be?
Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?
+Be disciplined, constant, and passionate.
+Make a schedule to keep your deadlines organized.
+Establishing good relationships with your clients will define your future ones.
+Support freelance artists, buy national products and don't underestimate your work.
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:
Discipline, passion, persistence.