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Q&A with Catalina Estrada

Graphic designer from Barcelona, Spain

I'm a graphic designer who works full time in illustration and also in my personal art projects.

I was born in Medellin, Colombia, and because our house was in the countryside, I had a lot of close contact with nature when I grew up.  I was raised in a house full of beautiful and particular things.  My mother is an artist and she loves decorating her home and collecting beautiful objects.  She has an amazing and very personal sense of beauty and has a sense of combining colors like no one else I know.

Graduating with an honors degree in Graphic Design, I traveled to Spain in 1999 where I studied Fine Arts for 3 years at Escola de Artes Llotja in Barcelona, specializing in Lithography.

I now live in Barcelona where I share a studio with my husband Pancho Tolchinsky, who is a photographer.

Software / hardware

For commercial projects I usually start by sketching directly into the computer. Most of the time I create my designs digitally because there is always the need to adjust colors, composition and scale. I basically work in Adobe illustrator and I have a wacom tablet.

For my personal art projects I usually work in water-colour and acrylics on paper and wood.

Ideal work environment

Somewhere near the sea or in the middle of the mountains, a light full place surrounded by nature, good internet connection, with a beautiful view and nice weather.


I have been very lucky to travel a lot and each place that I visit brings me tons of inspiration for all my work.  I take inspiration for my designs from all types of music, art - especially folk art - design, movies, and books.  I particularly like Latin American artists, writers and musicians as well as both the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau artists with their obsession for detail. Almost anything or anyone that touches my emotions can easily inspire me.  Nature has always been one of my main sources of stimulation dating back to my early childhood in the countryside of Colombia. Nature is full of shapes, textures and colors combined in the most perfect way.

Admire most

I guess my all time favourites are those from the Arts and Crafts movement with their obsession for detail, such as William Morris and Christopher Dresser.

But if you ask me for people from our generation I would say Cristian Montenegro, Laura Varsky, Ale Paul, Leandro Castelao to name a few.