I am thrilled to introduce you to Yolanda Fernandes of YFL.ART – One of my fave artists, creating beautiful, freeing paintings and SUPER CUTE character pins & paintings. Read on to find out more about her and her process.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I create original art, illustrations, enamel pins, buttons & more! I love mixing traditional forms of art such as watercolors with modern digital elements. Most of my work is nature-themed, since that is where I find most inspiration. However, since I am also a mom of three, I have branched out and have a kid’s line of illustrations & flair.

An interesting fact is that I have a fine art background and have another shop for all my fine art paintings. I have had the opportunity to showcase my work in galleries around Toronto and exhibit my work at local fine art shows.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I try to have a balance but it doesn’t always go as planned, and I’m comfortable with the unexpected nature of parenthood. I go with the flow as much as I can. I have very productive days and incredibly nonconstructive days. I often involve my kids in the process as often as possible. They help me pack my orders for customers by choosing with washi tapes to decorate the packaging. They sit with me as I draw all their favorite characters, letting me know what to include and leave out, with raw honestly only a child would have.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

Patience. When I market my products and I wasn’t seeing immediate results I used to get disappointed. But I learned it just needed some time. Understanding what my customers are looking for and learning how to market my products to attract new customers is still a work in progress.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get my inspiration from my love of nature which clearly translates to my watercolor pieces of my galaxies and milky way scenes. My kids are my next biggest inspiration, as they have allowed my life to be full of colour and of course, superheroes. ;D

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It really depends on the piece and medium. Most of my pieces can take from a few hours to an entire day depending on how long it takes to get my exact vision on paper.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

It is very hard to pick a favourite. But I am a big Wonder Woman fan! So my illustration of her and my enamel pin have become one of my favourites, as well as a popular item in my shop.

What is the story behind your business name?

A simple story. I wanted to simplify my long name. To the point, and memorable. My shop name is an acronym off my name Yolanda Fernandes Ly

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

I first do a few sketches of my thoughts and ideas. Followed by thumbnails with various colour schemes. This can take a few hours to several days as I work out my ideas. Once I have my envisioned design and mock up, I create my final edition. I then digitize my design and do some final editing in Photoshop to make it print ready. This process can take anywhere from a few days to an entire week!

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Often! Almost all my designs come from my desire to create what I love. So essentially, I am always making things for myself that I then get to share with everyone.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading and working out.

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?

I have a home studio. I converted more than half my basement level into a studio. I have designated work sections. A drawing table for my watercolours, illustrations and such. Another section for my large canvas paintings. A packing station with everything needed to get orders out to customers. And lastly a button and accessory making station.

A vacation relaxing on the beach, or exploring the local culture?

A VACATION on the beach!!!!! I’m always on the go, so if I can have a moment to relax, I’m staying still.

You can find Yolanda at our upcoming Made in Canada Market on September 23 or you can follow her artwork on her social channels.

Etsy: yflart.etsy.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YFL.ART

Instagram: @yfl.art

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