INTERVIEW: Isabella “Izzy” Prado, Lives Life Through Her Cartoon Drawings

By Aundréa Murray

During Hartford’s first Fashion Week, artist Isabella Prado sat down with me for some drinks, melted cheeses on noodles and thoughts from her very sensitive mind. Learn the beauty behind her miniature madness below:

I was a fake vegetarian! I found this little pin and it said, “Eat veggies, not meat”. But it was so cute! So then this girl from H&M sees it and asks, “Oh my gosh! You’re a vegetarian too?” I didn’t want to say no…

*laughs*

So I said I was trying it out. *laughs* I tried it for like a week and I’m like, “No way! The way my mom cooks—it’s not gonna work.” I just couldn’t do it.

Are you Colombian? I think I read that [online].

I am Colombian. I was born there. I came here when I was like five years old. I’m basically raised here but when I go down there, I’m not familiar with it at all.

Do you ever get influenced to draw things that are apart of your heritage?

It’s funny that you asked. There’s this cartoon, well this comic book that my Dad loved when he was a kid. So it’s like every Colombian knows about it. Before, I really wouldn’t think of drawing anything like that… I wasn’t raised there but my family household is basically Colombian as fuck. So I guess I’ve been thinking about it more like it would be so dope for me to actually draw this cartoon character and make it into a poster and give it to my Dad because it represents something in my culture, you know?

Absolutely.

I’m always drawing cartoons and illustrations that are from [America] instead of who I am and where I come from. So it’s funny that you asked this because I was literally thinking about it last week! Once I finish this piece, I’m going to try and get into that cartoon. I swear all I do are cartoons.

Why?

When I do people, it’s just so time consuming.

Izzy Photo 1

“Drawing people is the most tiring and time consuming thing ever so when I finished this I was like ‘wow I really can do it’. Now that I look at it and know how to blend colored pencils better and know all the different colors that go into something to really make it stand out, the drawing would look 10x better haha. But this drawing really keeps me going. The drawing I did before this one of the model Cara D. Is not as detailed and it really surprises me how I went from that to this.”

What is it about cartoons that you enjoy so much?

Personally, I like the different styles. I don’t know. Do you watch cartoons?

Of course.

Thank you! I’ve met people that are just like, “No… I’ve never seen that.” Or “Why do you watch cartoons? You’re 22.” And I’m like…

I still watch cartoons so I understand. You have to have an animated night or two. Especially if you smoke as much as I do—I love watching cartoons after a smoke.

*laughs* I feel like it just makes me so happy. It brings me back to like my childhood. We’re adults now and we have responsibilities…we have all of this b.s to deal with so cartoons is just something that secures you. It’s something that brings me happiness, something cool. So that’s why I like illustrations and drawings of them because I feel like every person that comes up with a cartoon show creates different styles, different humor…it’s just so dope. I do want to get to a point where I’m illustrating my own cartoons.

You should. Definitely.

I’ve drawn cartoon versions of like Kanye West—

I’ve seen those! They’re incredible.

Thanks! I tried doing J.Cole but his skin tone wasn’t working for me. That yellow…*laughs* I didn’t have it yet. But there was a time where I was really just practicing the basics, the facial expressions and stuff like that but with school and everything, I don’t really have that time to draw as much as I’d like.

When are you finished with school?

I’m supposed to graduate next semester.

And what do you want to do once it’s over?

I want to go to grad school because I’m a Psych major, so I have to get a master’s degree.

That’s understandable. If I’m going to pay somebody to tell me about my life and how to get my shit together, they should at least have theirs. Finish something extensive, accomplish something, yada yada.

Exactly! *laughs* Plus, I’m always that go-to person people come to for advice. Not only advice but also someone to listen to. I’m always there. I’ll put my own problems aside and I’ll listen. So I want to get into marriage and counseling therapy.

Nice.

Even though friends have told me that you have to have like a relationship background just to do it. And I’m like… No, my nigga.

I like how you put that: a “relationship background”. 

Yeah, if I’m going to be a therapist, my life means nothing to the other person. It’s all about the other person. That’s just how I am I guess. I love the union of two people.

It’s great that you’re driven by compassion.

Yes. I love, love. I love the idea of love. I just love knowing that two people, no matter what, are in love. Like, where does that even come from?

I’m all about it. Poetry on love, poetry on feelings, poetry on emotions…I actually wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life talking to different couples and unions, watching their relationships and reporting on that. 

Yeah!

Because to me, that’s consistency. 

That’s art itself. Love is like a constant and I love it. I think it has to do with my parents being together for like 25 years. They got married when they were 19. I know that they love each other. I’ve never touched the subject on if they’re still IN love, but even if they’re not, they’re still working together as a unit. No b.s gets in front of that. I feel like our generation now is quick to write something off and not even give it a try. So I want to be that person that’s like, “No. Work towards it.” If you really don’t think that’s the person for you, so be it. But I still want to work with people. I really want to get into the marriage counseling therapy. I want to help [you] find love. That is my dream.

Izzy Photo 3

“If love had a face it would definitely be Frankenstein’s monster. It’s a weird choice but my reason for it is because Frankenstein’s monster always wanted to be loved by his creator, according to Mary Shellie’s Frankenstein. Reading the book I felt for Frankenstein’s monster wanting to belong and for his isolation.”

That’s awesome. There are probably so many different outlets to contribute your thoughts on things to. I don’t know if you write much, or at all—

Mm-mmm.

But if you’re able to pair a drawing with someone else’s writing… I would totally pay for that. 

I think that would be really nice!

I know I’m not the only person in the world who thinks that way either. There are definitely people out there willing to pay artists for an illustration to even the shortest of their poems. It’s something about matching words to images that I really like.

Yeah, the words come to life a little. You should do that, oh my gosh.

YOU should do that.

*laughs* I would love to. I just hope I get to that point of confidence where I’m like, “Yes, girl! You can write and I can paint it for you, I’ll paint it while you say it, all that”.

I’m sure that you will. The fact that you enjoy drawing and it’s not something that money or fame is driving you to do is what makes me appreciate your talent. You can really come off. Throw your artwork out there and watch it happen. People will pay for this stuff. It really is amazing. 

Thank you so much.

How long have you been drawing?

Since I was in middle school, I think. I would just replicate drawings. Like, I would just do Bugs Bunny, trace him then slowly begin free-handing it. But recently, I think it’s just the influence of so many Harford artists.

Yeah.

I look up to them. Like Eddie Garcia…the guy with all of the roses and flowers. He’s just really dope to me. I don’t compete with him; I just admire his work and definitely want to be as good as I think he is. I want to be that person that’s so free with their art and so confident in it. I want to get to that point.

I feel like it’s not necessarily your skills as an artist but the confidence you have in what you bring to the table. There are other writers that can write these poems in four lines and it’s just fire. Where as I need 1200 words just to get my expression across. 

Exactly, exactly! I am the same way. When I express, I go IN. That’s why shit takes me so long. But I enjoy it. Whenever I draw people, I like the progression of it.


Izzy Photo 4 Izzy Photo 5

I love the progression of your drawings. I’ll find myself checking your page all night to see where you are with it.

*laughs* I am so flattered. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my drawings, too. If it doesn’t come out the way that I intended, I will dead it. I will re-do it another month.

Like that Rihanna piece? I never saw the final.

It’s literally on the floor in my room. I have to re-do her. That’s my second time doing her and I’m just so mad because I can’t get it right.

I feel you though. There’s just so much detail to the way these people’s aesthetics make you feel. When I see a photo of Rihanna…mmm. I get a feeling from it. So if I want to see a drawing of her, I want to get that same feeling.

Yeah. And I want to give you that feeling. I want someone to be like, “Oh shit!” I am such a perfectionist when it comes to that.

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