Our eyes tends to search for beauty, and often pretty things are the ones to catch our attention. Spainsh illustrator Carla Fuentes feels the same attraction to traditional beauty, but quickly it tends to bore her. “Big noses, separated eyes and little mouths” inspire her to do her wonderfully quirky portraits.

Carla Fuentes (b. 1986) studied fashion design at Escuela d’Arte y Superior de Diseño in Valencia, but already two years before graduating she started working as a freelance illustrator. Carla masters a recognizable style that challenges the traditional perception of beauty. Her portraits are always of cross-eyed, small-mouthed and slightly weird looking characters done with colored pencils, graphite and thick acrylic paint. The way that Carla constructs the faces of her characters reminiscent the illustrations of west african barber shop signs, which she also did a tribute to in 2014.

Carla really understands how to utilize the potential of social media. Her Instagram profile is packed with photos from her studio, upcoming projects and works-in-progress. When picking out photos for this article we actually had a pretty hard time knowing when to stop. Carla is extremely productive! If her style caught your eye, like it did ours, don’t hesitate to go explore her world even further. We took a chat with Carla about her perception of beauty, what inspires her and how she got into illustration.

So, what made you choose your current path?
Since I can remember I have always been messing around with drawings. It has always been a big part of my life. When I studied I began to focus more on my creative sides; first on fashion design and later on art. I remember myself sewing and wanting to be a tailor, but I ended up making more and more illustrations, and found myself really passionate about it.

Can you tell us about your working process?
For a couple of years now I have tried to create thematic collections of illustrations, that are developed around one subject. I usually find an interesting subject and then work around it, creating a range of images that catch my attention. I also gather some interesting photos that relate to the subject and choose the technique that I want to use; graphite, acrylic paint, gouache, wood colors or mixed media. Finally I select the best illustrations and put together the new collection.

Do you have a project that you are especially proud of?
I’m most proud of the work I do for musicians. I love music and making the complete visual identity for a band is gratifying for me. An example is the work I did for the band Polock. I did an album cover, t-shirts and the backdrop for their live performances.

What are your biggest source of inspiration at the moment?
I love strange faces; especially the ones that tell a story, only with the characteristics. It’s remarkable that those who inspire me the most, always are the ones who have the most to tell. Seriously, traditional beauty doesn’t inspire me that much. I love pretty people, but after a while I begin to find their beauty boring. Big noses, separated eyes and little mouths. These are the ones that really interest me. When I come across one of these faces, I instantly feel the need to draw it. In this sense I have been inspired by David Hockney or Lucian Freud. They never look to find perfection in their portraits.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a personal project called “Los Sentados” which is a series based on portraits of people sitting in different positions.

What are your hopes, dreams and plans for the future?
To be what I am; an Illustrator. :) I love my job.

And finally, do you have any piece of advice for fellow creatives?
Create your own personality. Something new. Something fresh for the eyes.

Rikke Luna (f. 1988) og Matias Albæk-Falk (f. 1988) er stiftere af, og driver derudover formidlingsbureauet I DO ART Agency samt I DO ART Books.