How Flavio uses Smartmockups to grow a successful illustration brand

With a mission to deliver joy and happiness, Flavio Barreiro creates whimsical products guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Originally from Argentina but now living in Rome, his talent has allowed him to turn a life-long love of drawing and cartoons into a thriving business.

How it all started

“One of my first memories of my childhood is when I was four or five years old. I was sitting in our living room scribbling with color pencils in a pile of those old dot matrix printer papers that my father used to bring me from work.”

His parents must have seen a bit of Flavio’s future in their young son as one weekend they took him to a park to meet a cartoonist who would draw pictures for visitors on the spot. The artist’s name was Cesar Hermosilla Spack and Flavio still has that simple drawing.

“Every time I see it I remember my wonderful childhood and the beauty of being able to create something special and unique, a piece of my heart on just a piece of paper.”

That simple trip made a big impression on Flavio, and he credits it with his developing a love of his chosen art form.

“I am sure it is because of what happened that Sunday that I love making doodles on paper with simple markers and pens, scribbles that could become illustrated ideas for products or paintings.”

Becoming an artist

There really was no other option for Flavio but to continue on his artistic journey. He studied illustration and cartoons and would attend art exhibitions with his teacher and classmates. They developed a close bond which still exists today.

“Sometimes, two or three times a year, we would set up an exhibition. This was very exciting for us because we had to make a lot of paintings, find the right place for the exhibition, go to the local radio and television stations to promote the event and also to find the eventual buyers. We were only 20 years old and that seemed to us the best lifestyle we could ever have.”

Even before he was 20 though, Flavio was already working as an artist for his local newspaper. The newspaper published one of Flavio’s black and white marker cartoon drawings every day. 

“It was a long time ago and I used to take them photocopies of my cartoons by hand!”

He also got experience drawing people, collaborating with a local television station to draw their guests live on-air. Soon though he decided it was time for a change. And a big one at that.

“I was 23 years old when I decided to take a plane and cross the ocean. I had a suitcase full of dreams and a huge desire to see the world. I landed in Italy in 2008.”

Realizing his dream

“Rome is chaotic, noisy, monumental, but at the same time you can see a neighborhood's real life where people go to markets and children go to school. I think that’s why my drawings are an expression of the environment where I live. They are reproduced in a colourful and singular style, as simple as life itself.”

His first professional artist work was a collaboration with his girlfriend who was an Italian teacher. He used to help her out by drawing illustrations for her lessons with children. They ended up collaborating on a children’s book for kids learning Italian which was published in 2010.

Travel again brought him new inspiration. This time, it was a trip to Poland. While there, he discovered a cartoonist’s shop which sold products such as mugs, postcards, and magnets that featured the cartoonist’s illustrations.

“That’s what I want to do! I’ve always been interested in matching art and products you can use daily.”

Upon his return he met with a Rome souvenir producer and he now works there, creating captivating images which are reproduced on the mugs, postcards, magnets and other products the company sells.

Birth of a brand

Flavio Barreiro's brand mission is to become the best and funniest way to see the world, and fortunately Smartmockups contributes to this every day.

Seeing the success of his work, and taking inspiration from painters such as Keith Haring, Thierry Noir and Stick, and cartoonists like Richard Thompson, Antonio Mingote, Quino and Mordillo, Flavio embarked on his next artistic adventure.

“Watching the way most of their pictures have become merchandising pieces inspired me to create my own brand. Flavio Barreiro is a creative universe that comes from a sketch made on paper and expresses the beauty of life.”

Flavio sells his joyful mugs, clothing and other products on Amazon and his brand is available for licensing which means companies hire him to create original designs for their products. While developing his brand he realized the importance of an online presence and also launched a website and Instagram account. This is when Smartmockups joined in.

“I’ve found in Smartmockups the perfect partnership to clearly express my entire creative universe and to match illustrations and products. I am sure discovering this website has helped me to have a different and better vision of all I can do through my illustrations.”

Flavio uses Smartmockups to realistically display his illustrations on mugs, pillows, t-shirts, hoodies and more, as well as in promotional PDFs. He believes the selection of mockups available helps him realize the vision he has for his products.

Sweatshirt mockup with illustration
“Choosing the right picture on with the atmosphere I like, I am able to create the correct vision of my creations in different products. I find the mockups very professional and elegant. I share them on my Instagram profile and use them to create my own catalogue to post on Amazon.”

There’s no doubt Flavio is not lacking in the creativity department. But even an artist with such a fun outlook and vision appreciates a little assistance now and then.

“All tools on Smartmockups’ intuitive website are faultless. I just have to keep my imagination free and creatively use different mockups to create everything I want.”

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