“I really like to convey positive messages and being able to mix them with a magical tint.”
Fabulous types and good vibes are how we would describe Carolina Marando’s art. This passionate designer and typographer from Buenos Aires with an admirable portfolio, which includes The Washington Post, Hallmark Cards, the Disney Channel, and the Cartoon Network, joined Lake last November with a coloring book full of magical thoughts and uplifting spells reflecting her positivism and firm belief in silver linings. This time we spoke about her career, Harry Potter, cats and life in the time of corona.
Hello, dear! First things first, how are you feeling today?
Very well! Thank you, I hope that you and those who are reading us are also fine.
Oh my, what times! How has this new reality affected your daily life and work?
This was definitely the strangest year of all. I have been working in my home studio for over 6 years, so the 180-degree shift that most people may have felt didn’t affect me that much. For me, it was not new or difficult to stay at home. But at the work level, I had to spend time rethinking my tasks, my portfolio, my social networks, how to sell myself since the whole world changed. People are looking for new things, both habits and work methods had to adapt, and that affects everything.
You live in Buenos Aires. What do you like the most about your city?
What I like the most about Buenos Aires is that it is a very large and cosmopolitan city, full of culture and opportunities, but at the same time, it has residential areas where you can live in peace. This mixture has made it possible for me to have thousands of options to study, learn, know and develop my career.
Let’s start at the beginning. What made you want to become an artist?
In my family, no one has art as their main occupation, but my grandfather is a craftsman: he makes wooden miniatures, my mother painted for many years and my father is a screenwriter. I suppose they come from a time when “living from art” didn’t seem possible, so they always kept it as secondary jobs or hobbies. But I was lucky, not only to be full of artistic influence but also to always have their support. From a very young age, crafts, painting, sculpture, colors and everything that I could create always caught my attention. Then, from the age of six to eighteen, I did figure skating, where I developed an obsession for movie soundtracks. Later I studied graphic design, which gave me the chance to explore my artistic side, and also helped me learn many new communication tools.
“From a very young age, crafts, painting, sculpture, colors and everything that I could create always caught my attention."
Your IG profile is super uplifting and full of positive messages, packed with beautiful pastels and ornaments. Is this a reflection of your inner world?
Totally. I believe that the expression of any artist reflects their inner voice. It is as if we show how the world looks but through our own lenses. In my case, at least, I think it’s the part I decide to show. Especially these days when the world has gone crazy, and many bad things are going around. There is a lot of hatred and violence, poverty, ignorance, among other things. All that makes me sad. I think that art and design have given me a tool that allows me to enjoy and emphasize the beautiful and positive things, of which there are many too, by the way!
“I believe that the expression of any artist reflects their inner voice. It is as if we show how the world looks but through our own lenses."
Your art combines two of your favorite things- lettering and illustration. How did you develop your style?
I always had a special interest in letters, I don’t know why. When I started studying Graphic Design, I got to know typography in depth. Later, when I graduated, I decided to continue studying letters. I started studying calligraphy and then I got to know the world of lettering, which fascinated me and to this day it is one of my greatest passions. But at the same time, I always had an interest in drawing and illustration. I can say that my work was always more influenced by the different illustrators that I like, than by letterers or typographers. I am not so interested in the world of academic typography, but it does seem very important to me to acquire knowledge to have excellent foundations. Today my goal is to develop myself and explore illustration even further, so I can continue developing my own voice and achieve the coexistence of letters and illustration in one piece.
They say inspiration is an indispensable ingredient when creating. Where do you find yours?
Well, what I mentioned earlier. I really like to look both ways. People who make exceptional letters, and illustrators who have a lot of character. I also find it essential to look back at references that are not contemporary. That is where I find many very authentic and particular things.
You are also a professional typographer. How would you explain that to someone who doesn’t know what typography is?
Typography is very peculiar. While it is something that almost everyone knows, not everyone knows where it comes from. Sometimes it seems that it was something that comes installed in our operating system that left the universe and arrived here to be used, haha. Well, the reality is that there are people behind every typeface who spend years designing each sign. While we keep talking about lyrics, when we are designing a typeface, many more different parameters are taken into account than when we are designing a piece of lettering. For example, the size, the style, ensuring that absolutely all signs work well with all other signs, etc. The end result has to work in a totally dynamic way, so that later whoever uses your typography can write what they want.
“Typography is very peculiar. While it is something that almost everyone knows, not everyone knows where it comes from."
In my case, I must clarify that my objective when I make a typeface is always colored by my fascination for lettering and illustration, therefore my fonts generally point to display uses.
Who is your most significant influence when it comes to art?
What a difficult question! I can’t decide on just one person. I believe that we are stumble upon different interests at different times in our life, and our influences change.
But, in my case, I can say that the first artist I saw combining lettering with illustration in a way that blew my mind and had an impact on where I wanted to take my career was Jon Contio.
If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?
“I identify quite strongly with my cat. She has this particular personality where she does what she wants no matter what other people think."
I identify quite strongly with my cat. She has this particular personality where she does what she wants no matter what other people think. But it’s that brazen authenticity that makes us love her for who she is. She is quite cold, but she always stays close to me. She is a great companion, but she is not suffocating. And in those small daily moments when she decides to give some love, it’s the sweetest thing you will ever see. I feel a bit like that. Especially with my career, I feel like I do what I like, and my positive side has always been that I don’t care so much if whether what I show is exceptional. I know that it’s fine at the time, and the jobs that will follow will be better. I think this has allowed me to grow.
“Especially with my career, I feel like I do what I like, and my positive side has always been that I don’t care so much if whether what I show is exceptional. I know that it’s fine at the time, and the jobs that will follow will be better. I think this has allowed me to grow."
You joined Lake with Magical Thoughts, a lovely coloring book full of magical spells and self-boosting mottos. Tell us more about the idea and the process behind it.
I really enjoy it when I have to make different designs that respond to the same conceptual line. So the idea of making a coloring book really excited me. As I mentioned before, I really like to convey positive messages and being able to mix them with a magical tint. It was a nice challenge to think about the different pieces, the different ways of approaching the theme, the styles and elements. As always, I start with some super quick sketches, which are essential to be able to see a general concept. To find the balance between sizes, styles, elements, among all the pieces. To make sure they are not too similar but that they follow the same line. What elements and styles to repeat and which ones would be differential in each piece. Although it seems like a small thing, I think this is the most important part, the idea. Then I start refining all the sketches and paying special attention to detail, which is the most fun part.
We know how much you love Harry Potter. Dare to share your favorite magical spell from the series?
Now comes my super fan moment haha. Harry Potter was the first book that fascinated me so much I couldn’t put it down. I bought the first one at eleven with my own money, and as soon as I finished I would run to buy the next one. Beyond fantasy (cheesy moment), I think history taught me many things. Among them, something that I must confess accompanies me to this day is the Riddikulus enchantment: In the book, they use it to transform boggarts (creatures that become your worst fears) into something laughable. But basically, it is a spell to get rid of fears. I believe that this does not require magic - merely some ingenuity, so any of us could do it. It is an excellent way to combat your worst nightmares, which by the way we usually invent ourselves, how crazy! I feel that humor is the smartest way to deal with bad things, so making a fool of our worst thoughts seems like an awesome thing to me.
“I feel that humor is the smartest way to deal with bad things, so making a fool of our worst thoughts seems like an awesome thing to me."
We are delighted you became a part of Lake. What made you go with us?
I found you on social media. I started to follow you and beyond the idea of a coloring app, it looks wonderful to me, the quality in the design, the curation of the coloring books and the artists caught my attention. There are many apps and many designs around today, and I find it beautiful when you see the artist’s assessment over the merely commercial.
Now that you had the chance to try out Lake, what would you say about the coloring experience? Who would you recommend Lake to?
It is really relaxing and fun. I feel like you can focus and get carried away by the color. It is also beautiful to be able to navigate between the different styles and themes of the different artists. I recommend Lake to anyone who wants to relax and likes to paint. Also for those who want to take their first steps in the art world, it is a good approach to quality work, with which they can interact without pressure or demands.
“I recommend Lake to anyone who wants to relax and likes to paint. Also for those who want to take their first steps in the art world, it is a good approach to quality work, with which they can interact without pressure or demands."
You are very active on Instagram. How have social media affected your business?
Without realizing it, my Instagram account has become the most effective way to showcase my work. It may seem trivial, but if you know how to use it, it is a very powerful tool. Nowadays most people have an Instagram account, which means that they are already immersed in the app, they know how to use it, they interact with it, they have their tastes, routines, expectations, etc. And above all, it is not only global, but it is for anyone. This allows me to reach a lot of people. Which in turn complicates things, because not all audiences seek the same thing. But little by little I am getting to know and learning more about the strategies that help me make my work visible. I spent a big portion of my quarantine doing this haha. Day by day I am improving, but yes! It is definitely very important to be able to showcase myself and get new projects.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and would you like to share it with others?
There are two pieces of advice that marked my path: The first was from my father, who always told me to do what I really like, and not to settle for a career just because I think that it would be profitable. Having a degree does not guarantee that you’ll do well and have a lot of money since the chances of you being incredibly good at something you do not enjoy are very low. On the contrary, doing something that you really enjoy will not only give you more chances to be very good and make a living from it, but you can also be sure that you will be enjoying it.
The second piece of advice was from the teacher of the first calligraphy workshop I did, who helped me discover the wonderful world of lettering: Yani Arabena. Besides admiring her a lot, I will always remember these words of hers: “If you like your work, show it! You never know who may be on the other side looking at it.” I think it’s about that, to show what one does, regardless of whether tomorrow may be better. If we don’t show it to the world, it doesn’t exist. And what we don’t know is that there could always be someone on the other side who finds just what they need in our work.