Christina Furtado hopes to reach people who genuinely appreciate art with her work.
The one thing that manages to reach any and every individual, from any age group and impact them, in the same way, is art. Art is a language in itself that has the ability to capture emotions like no other. It also happens to be the best part of being human. The excitement of seeing someone complete their art and especially when they share the process of it should be enough evidence to prove any argument that comes it’s way. Christina Furtado is an illustrator who is making her love for art a way to connect with people all over the world.
Her early memory of illustrations was making greeting cards for her parents on their anniversary, for her teachers on Teachers’ Day, and for her friends on their birthdays. That also included her participating in art competitions. “I used to also participate in a lot of art competitions that used to run on stage, or some other type of district-wide.” She tried her best to continue participating in as many competitions as possible out of her sheer love for colouring and drawing. Christina also mentions how it was not just loved for it but also because ‘it really excited’ her.
Her love for creating art and watching people’s reactions to it only encouraged her to continue on the path, with her eventually becoming part of the creator community. Today she is a well-known illustrator who has over 730K followers. People have come to love the stories, characters and illustrations she has to share with the world. When asked if she was expecting to receive the kind of love that has come her way, Christina said, “I actually was not expecting the kind of love and appreciation that I received today on Potato Face.” She wasn’t expecting her first video to blow up or that they’ll like it so much that they will leave a comment. “I had just uploaded one of my earliest works, just because I wanted my family and friends to see it. Because those were the only ones that were following me in the early days.”
It has now become a major part of her art journey although she finds it shocking that her posts went viral. When she started she did not have a set goal or a plan for how to make things work. It happened at the moment. “But when I saw the kind of work that I was getting, and how brands were reaching out to me, I decided to make a plan to work towards it and take it seriously because I was really enjoying what I was doing.” But one goal that she mentions, like every other influencer, content creator or artist is to reach as many people as possible and have as many people appreciate the art and genuinely appreciate her work. “It doesn’t matter how many followers I have. It matters how many of them genuinely like what I do.” Messages from her followers talking about how their parents ask them to help them use Instagram because they want to see her videos or that their little cousins and siblings love the cartoon on Instagram with a face on it is what brings a smile to her face. That’s what she strives for as well.
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All of the characters in her videos are mostly inspired by her own family members and her childhood memories. “So whenever I draw something, of course, if I have to draw a funny character, I think of that one person I thought looked funny on the bus ride home or in the bazaar. Or if I had to draw an angry character, I would think of maybe a shopkeeper, one of my teachers, or one of my professors and try to remember how they looked.” Everything is inspired by her day-to-day life, the people around her, and the experiences she has had with her family or someone else.
Christina has over time created a bunch of characters that people have started to identify with. And when asked if she likes one over the others, she did not shy away from mentioning her favourite character. According to her, animating ‘Chico’ is her favourite part. “Chico is me from back in the day. I had the best memories with my family. It’s from when I was little and enjoying my life to the fullest. So that’s why drawing Chico just takes me back to my childhood.” Whenever she plans her videos for Chico, she makes sure to sit down and write all the beautiful memories she has had as a child, and then I draw them. “It just takes me to my happy place. And I absolutely love doing that.”
Short videos have become a magnetic part of everyone’s career who wants to make it big. And art has found its voice in this space too. She finds it amazing how illustrations have now started appearing more in video format, turning into animations. It’s the kind of work that people want to consume. “I remember the first time I came on Instagram and followed this amazing illustrator, Alicia Souza, and her work just blew my mind. And all she did was post feel-good content every single day. And it was something I used to wake up to, anticipating her post.” It’s kind of crazy how drastically content consumption has changed from five, six years ago. But she thinks it’s always going to change. And maybe the next couple of years are going to be something else. We’ll have to evolve as time goes by.
People love a good illustrated post or video but have little to less knowledge of what happens behind the scenes. There is a list of things to know about illustrations and Christina has a list ready. One thing that she wants everyone to know is that illustrations do not come easy and she just sits down and draws it all in one day. She wants people to know that it takes a lot of time and head-scratching. She always watched different videos to crack a code or to even think of how to animate or illustrate so she can start somewhere. “Also because I am a self-taught illustrator it does come with all of that baggage in the background, which I’m kind of learning as I go.” She wants people to know and understand good things take time, and each and every video of hers is very time-consuming.
Apart from the fact that illustrating is not easy, she talks about how the ideas that are in her head, don’t always make it on paper. “So you need to be very collective, you need to be very clear, and you’re you have your points written down and make sure they come out as simple as possible so that people don’t get confused after looking at the illustration or your animation. All of this behind-the-scenes planning is a lot of work.”
She has been in the content creation space for so long now that people love and look forward to the stories she has to share. Considering how much love she is receiving online, we asked what her hopes and plans are when it comes to content creation and illustrations. She says, “If you go to see the only plan that I have, every time I think of creating work or creating videos for Instagram, I only think of one thing: will my audience enjoy it? Are they receiving it well? Is it helping them? Is it striking a nerve? Is it making them happy? These things really, really matter to me.“
One thing she always makes sure of is to enjoy the entire process of weaving a story together. She doesn’t know how long she plans on continuing what she is doing now, but she hopes to enjoy every bit of it as long as it lasts. “I will look back on this 20 years from now, sit and watch all of these videos, think about my past, and be happy. And that’s what I want other people to experience as well. to come to my page and watch my videos and think about their past and their happy memories, and maybe take them back to their happy place. And that’s what I strive for every single day.”
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