Interview: Drawing Girls with Karla Castaneda

Karla Castaneda grew up in Honduras and now attends the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA. She recently released her collection of illustrations of women, entitled Somber.

Profile, from Karla's Collection "Somber"

Profile, from Karla's Collection "Somber"

What was it like growing up in Honduras?

I used to wake up early in the morning and draw countless pages of comics with my colored pencils and ballpoint pen, I loved going to the movies with my family and have dinner together, it was very relaxing being with the family while having support for my art.

How has your family influenced your love of art?

I had a very supportive family when it came to my love for art, my mother used to buy me children’s books with many beautiful illustrations and my father took me to painting class while giving me oil paints and painting brushes as birthday gifts. I loved to draw comics everyday, and it is the most I enjoyed.

Why the subject matter of girls?

I just love playing with hair and the makeup of the characters I create, but I am a girl so I tried to portray different emotions that women have, considering we are kind of dramatic.

Alter ego, from Karla's collection "Somber"

Alter ego, from Karla's collection "Somber"

Have you had any mentors or influential people in your life along the way?

My father always told me to learn how to draw perspective and my mother encouraged me to do art, they have always told me to pursue to make a living out of what I love to do the most.

Is there anything that you’d like to tackle in the next 5 or 10 years that you’re not doing right now?

I would love to create a series of graphic novels that I can’t work on right now. I would also love to do fine art on a giant canvas.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

I had to leave my family that I was very close to back at home, it was very hard because I used to be with them all the time.

Penetrating Eyes, from Karla's collection "Somber"

Penetrating Eyes, from Karla's collection "Somber"

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do? Or, more importantly, do they understand what you do?

Everybody that is close to me is very supportive of my decisions, but when I am not taking the right ones, they tell me what I need to do in order to improve.

Also my family and friends have always motivated me, pushed me and inspired me to do illustration as a living. I have always been the type of person who has a very hard time making choices, but thanks to them I always have someone to rely on.

What advice would you give to a young person starting out?

Honestly, nobody knows what the future awaits, so I would just say to do what you are most excited about in life, it doesn’t matter what we have on our plate, even if you have to do double shifts at McDonalds, keep working on the craft or passion you love in your free time, and eventually something good will come out of the hard work.

Thanks Karla!