ana victoria calderon paints colorful, joyful pieces that are sure to brighten up your day! they are fun and will always catch your eye. from her studio in mexico city, ana paints away and also teaches her craft to others in her own workshops. take a peak behind the scenes and learn more about how she's created such an awesome business around her illustrations.
what is your background?
like most artists, i think i started creating when i was a little kid! i always knew i would be involved in visual arts in some way, just not exactly how. i went to school for graphic design and my university had a fine arts certification program. i decided to take this on since i always gravitated towards manual or hand crafted work instead of vector design, which was the focus for graphic design in the early 2000's.
once i graduated, it took me a couple of year to realize that i wanted to illustrate for a living. in 2010 i opened my etsy shop, which was the beginning of this adventure i'm on now! over the past five years i have developed a style and technique, which i really think i can call my own. i just did this by painting and experimenting every single day!
how did you get started designing & selling?
i started out with just a couple of prints on etsy, and selling at local arts and crafts fairs in mexico city. i am currently still an etsy seller, but my business has grown immensely in the past years! now i license my artwork to amazing companies like galison, papyrus, demdaco, studio oh and design design! i also have developed a great teaching community, where i host watercolor workshops locally and online.
how did you start licensing your work?
i began licensing my artwork when a company who actually found me on etsy approached me and asked if i were interested in licensing some of my illustrations i had made for prints as greeting cards. they offered me a royalty to use my artwork, and i could keep selling these designs as prints in my shop. i found this to be a win-win situation for both of us and fell in love with this side of the business! during the past three years i have been attending licensing trade shows in new york to make new contacts and connect with art directors of different companies. now i get to see my watercolors on all kinds of different products, such as journals, notebooks, planners, greeting cards, napkins, tableware, phone cases and books!
what inspires you?
this is always a tough question for me! there is no specific thing that inspires me, an idea will just randomly pop in to my head and won't leave until i paint it!
what is your favorite item in your shop?
right now i would have to say the "in the garden" pocket planner. i illustrated every page with watercolor, and it's very nicely organized by month, week, and notes.
what are you most looking forward to this year?
i would love to get more of the products i've worked on in my shop! we are hopefully going to have a calendar out soon and i am beginning to plan a usa watercolor workshop tour, which might start later this year or in early 2016.
what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
don't give up! it took me about two years to really get my shop going and make a living out of painting. try to have a separate income for a while, so you can make decisions with no pressure and not be stressed out about making money out of your creations. i think it takes a while to really find your voice and discover the right formula for you.
also, really have a style that is your own. it's hard to not take inspiration from the web, with all the information and images that are available nowadays. but try to be inspired from the inside or by your memories, not by what you see in other's work.