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María Tafur, graphic designer & nature illustrator

María Tafur, graphic designer & nature illustrator

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :

I’m María, graphic designer, 33 years old.

Your current job:

Nature illustration

In which city are you located?

Bogotá, Colombia

A word to define what kind of worker you are:


What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

Watercolors, paper, pencils, botanical books, many books, and my computer Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

What does your office space look like?

A big table full of drawing supplies, with lots of pictures, postcards and nice printed things glued to on the wall, surrounded by plants, two cats and all the natural light possible.

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?

All kinds of music, it depends on the weather, my mood and the tasks of the day.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?

I start with the quick tasks in the morning, like changes asked by the client’s revisions or easy editions on some project. Then I leave the afternoon for things that demand more time and concentration like painting and research for concepts.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Use a big board for your to-do list. It helps you to have a better understanding of the project and the ways to accomplish it.

Try to do things you really enjoy. Is much more easy to concentrate when you like your assignment.

Avoid annoying clients, and if you can’t, try to get done with them as soon as you can.

You’re better than your colleagues to: 

Design and illustrate from a bare concept. Plus, I’ll always think like a human being first, forgetting for a moment being a designer or illustrator.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?

“Make your portfolio with fictitious projects, which show what you like to do and not with the assignments that came to you, show what you like to do”, that changed my life. One teacher at university, said, “the portfolio should be made of real work projects, so we all could look like professionals”, I don’t think that’s true at all, and even less when you’re a beginner.

What is your best tip for saving time?

Investigate the background of the theme you’ll be working on, gather references and make a work plan with your client before starting any graphic ideas.

What is your routine start and end of the day?

I get up, give a kiss to my boyfriend, say hello to my cats and plants, clean my cats’ sandbox, water the plants and eat fruit, every day, it is mandatory for me. If I have a lot to do, I start work, or nothing is particularly urgent, I bathe and clean the house. I’m more productive in the afternoon hours, I’m usually up tonight late in my studio. I read a little or watch a little television before I go to sleep.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without? 

I’ve been making a conscious effort to not depend solely on my computer for my creative work, or that at least only a small portion of it needs it. I also try to not spend so much time on the cellphone. So, what really connects the analog side of my work with the digital medium is the scanner, I couldn’t live without it. I also use a Wacom tablet on the computer always, even to surf the internet. |

Bogotá city guide x María Tafur

Café: Amor perfecto in Chapinero locality, because there I was taught to drink real coffee. || Cra 4 # 66-46 

Restaurant: Wok, always, at any time. || Carrera 13 # 82 – 74

Shopping: There are many places, it depends on what you are looking for, Bogotá is a very big city, if you come to Bogotá, contact me and I’ll suggest you something for whatever you need.

Grocery: The market square La Perseverancia in Santa Fe locality, It’s all fresh and affordable and you can stay for lunch.

other: Visit the city’s historical center, the Bank Republic Museum, it is better on a sunny day. –