textile

Luisa Castellanos

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. 

Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

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.
Nora Lozza print.jpg

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.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

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.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

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.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

"Runways and trend reports always keep me inspired...and of course, women around me keep me inspired everyday."


Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

If you could design for anyone who would it be?

Vivetta, Lazy Oaf, Antonio Marras, Miu Miu, Msgm, Polite.

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.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

Photography Credits: Hero photograph - Juan Moore, Other photos - Cristina Salgar, Runway photos - Mint And Fancy

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Danielle Kroll

We are smitten with this week's interviewee, Danielle Kroll, an artist, illustrator, and textile designer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her whimsical style is captivating. It inspires curiosity and will certainly make your day just a little bit brighter.  

In the past, Danielle has had the pleasure of working with such brands as Anthropologie, Kate Spade New York, Land of Nod and Papyrus. Additionally, she is a co-founder of Beech Hall, a multi-disciplinary artist collective that is currently in it's second release of theme based collections.

Thank you Danielle for sharing your whimsy and wisdom!

Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

Tell me about your path to becoming an artist and freelance designer.

I had an early interest in art and started painting after I won a summer’s worth of acrylic lessons in the 5th grade. After that I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I was very shy in high school and hated the thought of rejection so much that I only applied to one college, Tyler School of Art. I got in and although I thought I wanted to be a painter, I chose practicality and majored in Graphic Design. After graduating I got a job at Anthropologie on their web design team. I wasn’t interested in interactive design but working for Anthro was totally a dream job, no matter what I was doing.
While working on the web team, occasionally I’d get to illustrate for an email or homepage and that would be the highlight of my week. After a year or so I moved to the Art Department where I worked on store invites, branding projects, and customer gifts. On the side I was keeping a blog of the illustrations I had painted for Anthro and for me. My coworker sent my blog out to a larger design blog, they posted about me and after that I started getting clients. I devoted my week nights to freelance projects for about a year after that. Although my focus was on design with my schooling and my job I felt much more passionate about the non-computer illustration work I was doing on the side. So after 3 years with Anthro I decided to quit and went out to California to do a long distance hike (211 miles!) through the John Muir Trail.
After coming back to the East Coast, I settled in Brooklyn and got to work on my (not very) bustling freelance schedule. I struggled for a while with finding work and, even more so, finding work that I actually wanted to be doing. When I didn’t have commissioned projects, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’d think up personal projects to work on. Eventually more and more client work that I cared about started coming in. My relationship with Anthropologie has always been pertinent to my career and bringing them on as a freelance client has been a really natural fit.
Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom
Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

I feel fortunate because I really didn’t do much. I just posted what I was painting on my blog and then the internet did the rest. This was when Pinterest first started and a lot of my original clients had found me from that. I think my association with Anthropologie helped clients trust my credibility.

You are an independent artist as well as a founder of Beech Hall. That is a lot to manage. Do you have any tips for being your most productive/for balancing multiple ventures?

For me, being busy with 10 things at once is when I’m thriving. I’m definitely a procrastinator and if I have just one thing to do I’ll dread it and avoid it. So if I don’t have several projects going on, I try to make jobs for myself to fill the gaps. That might involve experimenting in a new medium, shopping for art supplies, going to a museum, organizing files, scanning in sketchbooks, cleaning my studio, making ceramic test tiles. Anything that feels productive to my work in some way.
Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

What has been your greatest struggle as an artist, and as a designer so far?

I think the great struggle lies in my desire to feel completely fulfilled with my work. Although I am happier than ever with the work I’m making I am still always sightly dissatisfied. That feeling has led me to explore many different pathways and mediums. I like to challenge myself. Seeing how my work adapts to a new situation is really interesting but can also be quite frustrating. I will feel briefly fulfilled when I finish a painting, as that's my comfort zone. But then I’m immediately looking for my next challenge. It wares me down mentally to always be reinventing but I think that dissatisfaction is what motivates me so I’ve grown to embrace it as a positive trait.  My path to a fulfilling career has been sinuous. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel completely fulfilled, but I’m pleased to report that I’m currently content.

What is your favorite thing about working for yourself?

Definitely the flexibility of my schedule. I hate early mornings more than Garfield. Being able to start my day at a time that feels right to me really helps with my productivity.

For Beech Hall you work as a member of a founding team. Do you have any advice for handling communication as a partnership?

It’s definitely tricky to navigate a business amidst a friendship. The three of us have been friends for so long and only started collaborating in the past few years with Beech Hall. What has always been clear is that talking about problems is the best way to fix them. Being open and upfront with each other is the most direct path to a solution that can make everyone feel happy.
Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

"Talking about problems is the best way to fix them. Being open and upfront with each other is the most direct path to a solution that can make everyone feel happy."


Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

What do you do to stay creatively inspired?

I take a lot of mini adventures. Whether it’s just in my neighborhood, right out of the city, or farther away. I get most of my creative ideas when I’m actively doing something, not even trying to brainstorm. I can always find inspiration at thrift stores, plant nurseries and on hikes. A waterfall of ideas will come to me and it’s actually hard to keep up with them. I actively keep about 8 sketchbooks, all for different things. One for painting sketches, one for pen sketches, one for poems, one for tasks, one for short stories, one for ceramic sketches, one for random ideas… I always have a sketchbook with me, no matter where I’m going. Although it seems that I’m bursting with ideas, I’ve definitely had a tough time this past year with feeling completely uninspired to make anything of my own (client work not included). It was kind of devastating because I’d never felt like that before. Forcing myself to be inspired feels awful so I just waited it out and trusted that I’d feel normal again one day. Luckily that worked though it took about 6 months to shake it off completely.  
Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

"I actively keep about 8 sketchbooks, all for different things. One for painting sketches, one for pen sketches, one for poems, one for tasks, one for short stories, one for ceramic sketches, one for random ideas… I always have a sketchbook with me, no matter where I’m going."


Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details? 

Ugh my least favorite part of being self employed! I am very unorganized by nature so it’s a challenge to keep the business side of things in order. Naming your files appropriately and organizing projects with sub-folders would be a good place to start. I just started doing this after 4 years of working for myself and it’s made a huge difference! I would also highly suggest opening a business account and doing all your business related spending on that card. It really helps to have all your expenses in one place when you go to file your taxes.

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

I don’t think I’m very good at it so I don’t know if you should listen to me. I just love what I do so much that I always want to be creating. The line between my work and my life is definitely blurry. I do try to accomplish my business work in the mornings: emailing, invoicing, mailing out orders, working on client projects. And by ‘morning’ I mean before 3pm. Then if I get all that done I can do what I want with the rest of my day. Whether that’s working on my own projects, spending time with friends, going to yoga, or cooking a nice meal.
Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

"I just love what I do so much that I always want to be creating." 


Danielle Kroll | Freelance Wisdom

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Sara Boccaccini Meadows

Sara Boccaccini Meadows is a print designer and illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from the rolling hills of the Peak District, England, she graduated from Leeds Collage of Art with a 1st class Hons in Textiles and Surface Pattern. Sara takes inspiration from nature and the tiny details in her everyday surroundings to create unique and quirky print illustrations. Her prints have been used by top fashion brands including Etro, DVF, Zara, H&M, DKNY, Urban Outfitters, Rebecca Taylor, Oshkosh, Prism, Guess, and Rebecca Minkoff. We just can't get enough of her work! 

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance pattern designer and illustrator.

After studying Textiles and Surface Pattern at Leeds Collage of Art, UK, I traveled around Asia and eventually moved to Sydney, Australia after being offered an internship with Karolina York studio. Karolina York taught me a lot about the fashion and textile world and after my internship I was offered a job in the studio. I worked with Karolina York for almost 2 years and after I left I continued to freelance whilst traveling. This gave me a lot of freedom and inspiration with my designs.
I am now settled in NYC where I divide my time between freelancing/consulting in house with brands and working on my own design projects.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

Many clients have reached out to me through word of mouth, I've been lucky to have some great connections in the print world.  

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

I am a very good procrastinator. I'm my most productive when I wake up early, grab a coffee, and keep a structure to my day. Lots of lists!  

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

I love the hands on side to my job- painting, drawing, designing. I struggle with everything else and have to push myself to stay on top of the non creative stuff!  

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

Freedom to choose my own schedule. This has been extremely important now I have a daughter and I like to be able to travel and take trips during the week. Most of my inspiration comes from nature and exploring new places. 

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

This is still my biggest challenge. I hire an accountant to help with this as much as possible. 

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

I like to collaborate with friends and designers who inspire me. Having people I believe in keeps the balance and stops work from feeling like work! I am always open to new collaborations and projects, from university students to established brands. 

"I like to collaborate with friends and designers who inspire me. Having people I believe in keeps the balance and stops work from feeling like work!" 


Fill in the blank: The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Imagination , ambition, a positive attitude.

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