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"Encanto" Interview: How To Illustrate Colombia?

Catalina Estrada

Catalina Estrada gave us a deeper and more charming look at this new Disney venture, as well as revealing personal details behind the creative process that framed her triumphant return to Colombia. Photo: IG-catalinaestrada

LatinAmerican Post | Carlo Mario Torres Nieves

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Leer en español: Entrevista de "Encanto": ¿Cómo ilustrar a Colombia?

Renowned Colombian illustrator Catalina Estrada exclusively reveals which character in the movie "Encanto" has a special connection with her, and describes her contribution to this Disney mega-production

Two weeks after the premiere of the long-awaited Disney production, "Encanto", inspired by Colombian culture, fauna and flora, the North American media conglomerate announced the circulation of exclusive material from the film for mass consumption in the United States and Colombia. This is news that directly impacts the local market as four talented Colombian illustrators, including Catalina Estrada, were in charge of creating graphic pieces that have been printed on products from the fashion and home categories, among others, which will be distributed by large Chain surfaces across the country.

Catalina Estrada gave us a deeper and more charming look at this new Disney bet, as well as revealing personal details behind the creative process that framed her triumphant return to Colombia, after spending 20 years abroad.

Latin American Post: When a child or adult hears the word Disney, the purest and most innocent memories related to a universe full of unlimited fun are relived. What happened when you received the invitation to be part of the team of artists in charge of designing the art of consumer products inspired by the most recent Disney movie, "Enchantment"?

Catalina Estrada: This project was a dream come true. Disney has always been for me (and I think for many people) a great reference in the creation of fantasy worlds, handling colors, emotions, textures, details. The moment they contacted me, I couldn't believe it was true, and being able to work on this project just as I was returning to live in Colombia, after so many years abroad, was like a gift, both professionally and labor. Being able to connect with my country through my trade, though such a project, is something I never imagined.

LP: How does it feel to have in your hands the responsibility of co-creating illustrations that capture the essence of a country that, in the midst of its vicissitudes, yearns to show the world hidden treasures in its culture, customs, fauna, and flora?

CE: What I look for most in my work is to connect with people and their emotions, through color and beauty. Colombia is full of color and emotion, and its beauty, although we sometimes forget it, can be found in the simplest things. Nature in Colombia is poetry and I believe that only through poetry can we be able to connect with people's hearts so that together we can build wonderful things.

LP: Could you describe how was the creative process to select the colors and textures that are part of the exclusive line of products that will be marketed in parallel to the launch of the movie "Encanto"?

CE: I was inspired by direct contact with nature, looking at the leaves, the plants, the flowers, their details, their colors. Also from my memories of when I was a child. I spent all my childhood in contact with nature and I think this is reflected in everything I do.

LP: If you had the opportunity to bring just one character from the movie "Encanto" into the real world, what would it be and why?

CE: It is difficult to choose a single character because they are all endearing, but without a doubt, Mirabel captivated my heart. It took me many years to find my way too, so I felt a very special connection to her.

Also read: "Encanto": A Portrait of Colombia that does not ignore the Armed Conflict

LP: During the production days, was there time to play at being a girl again?

CE: Of course, a long time to relive the memories that I treasure most from my childhood. Drawing the macaws, butterflies, plants and all the animals that I remember that were so important in my own childhood was something very special and very important to me.

LP: From the film, you can read a series of messages associated with the family, the sense of belonging, self-love, and celebration of Latin American cultures, but what was the message that you were able to extract from “Encanto”, and how was it? Could it influence your next illustrations?

CE: The theme "Family" is a universal theme, not only of Latin American culture, and I really like the honest way in which this film shows it. We always think that other families are perfect and we take great care to keep up appearances, but in reality, family relationships are beautiful and complex at the same time. I really like how each of the characters is understood within the family concept, how each one has its space, its reasons, and its own circumstances. More than my illustrations, I think that on a personal level it is something very nice to see and accept.