The Mexican illustrator with more than 225,000 followers and 400,000 likes on Instagram.
Karen has found in her illustrations a healing space that she shares through her social networks. / Photo: Courtesy
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Leer en español: La artista viral mexicana que te hará sonreír con sus dibujos
Karen Castilla is a Mexican artist that went viral after her illustration with the message “process takes time” was shared more than 10 thousand times and joined the trending topics club on Twitter.
What started as a way of making herself smile, become a space for healing, self-love, and motivation for thousands of people. Karen, who worked most of her life active in her profession as an art historian, after a difficult time, made the brave decision to fulfill her true dream: the illustration.
As Castilla herself portray in one of her drawings in which she shows how behind every success there are fails and mistakes, her project as an illustrator started full of economic fears since according to Karen, the artist life is unstable, “however, this is also a gift because you learn how to deal with instability, is like practicing yoga every day” confesses.
The main focus of the work of this illustrator is keeping a positive mindset or, in her own words “contributing to the world nice things”. She recognizes as well her capacity to make the viewer realize about its own emotions since most of her followers write her to share how her illustrations have impacted deeply in their lives.
This was the case of a 40 years old businessman who always dreamed of becoming an artist but never did. He found Karen on social media and was touched by the positive messages in her art, especially the one that says “what you admire in others, is the potential that you have trying to manifest! If I can do it, you can do it!”, taking this as a sign, he felt encouraged to start drawing and take his dream path. As a way of gratitude, he sent Karen a long and emotive message by Instagram telling her this story.
Between her followers, there was also a woman that got tattoo one of her drawings and sent her the picture. In the message, she told Karen “this dog that you drew is just like my pet! I used your art for the tattoo because you made me felt warm and calm just like my dog”. People that are getting divorced, sick, or going through a difficult time open their hearts to Karen and send her messages telling her how her art has been a way of healing for them.
Karen herself is very positive and calm. She talks with sweetness with an ear to ear smile. But not always everything was a bed of roses. In the beginning, she printed herself her drawings on mugs and notebooks to sell them in design fairs. However, things were not always sold. Additionally, as she is a mother, she could not allow herself to live without a stable income. For this reason, she got a formal job and started working in an office. Simultaneously her art bore fruit.
As a freelancer she got some jobs painting watercolor portraits and commissions. As she started drawing again, she used to share her art in her private accounts only with family and close friends. Thanks to the good reception of her cartoons at that time, various acquaintances encouraged her to make her art public. Since then, Karen started sharing her illustrations and organically she went viral.
Currently, Karen has more than 225.000 followers in all her social media and her illustrations have got more than 300.000 likes on well-known platforms such as Instagram.
“I ended up finding another big secret of life: when you are not afraid and you focus on your dream and not in money, is when it flows” claims Karen with emotion. Finally, the artist makes clear that she doesn’t believe in commercial optimism, that one that tells you “be happy!” waiting that by a miracle you feel that way. Otherwise, all her ideas are born from personal experiences which she has deeply meditated and she has found out how that preoccupation can transform into something positive really useful.
“It’s curious, I see my drawings and they seem so simple to me, but I think a lot before making them. The process of making the drawing is fast, but during the day I think over the idea all the time” reveals.
The art that started being cathartic and therapeutic for herself became a warm and comforting gift for the others. Personally, my favorite cartoon of Karen is “you’re free to make mistakes, change your life, start something new, change your mind, giving up on something, of being you”.