Heartmade Blog

Design Studio: Cascanueces

Logo - Version 3


Welcome to my new column: Design Studio, a backstage pass to my whimsical illustration factory. Please excuse the mess, a tiny Panamanian artist with a T-Rex heart actually works here. Unfortunately, no Umpa Lumpas to tuck away the chaos.




C’mon down. Sure you can wear that. Pull up a chair. I baked cookies. Take a peak at my latest creation: Cascanueces, a handsome little fella’ who’s sure to melt the hearts of millions. If I may say so myself.


Cascanueces - Round 02 copy


How often to you get to be a part of something that’s only a dream until you see it come to life right before your eyes?


When Tefy Bretton first shared with me her vision for Cascanueces, a unique pre-school in the making where kids will imagine better + discover the world through their senses, I knew something magical was about to happen + I wanted to be a part of it.


Why? Well, because in Kindergarden my parents where called to the teacher’s office. “Is Mayi in trouble, A-GAIN?”. My calligraphy had too many curls + swirls. Apparently it was an issue that needed “correcting”. Instead of punishing me or putting me on medication, mom + dad enrolled me in dance class. I wasn’t a problem child. I just needed to be me.


Which got me thinking…


I would have never discovered my gift, the reason why I’m here, through rigidity + discipline. I found it in movement + rhythm + music + self-expression. I said “helz yeah” to Cascanueces, because I refuse to believe in a world where “stay still” + “follow the rules” is what we teach our children.


Logo - Version 1

Logo - Version 2

Logo Line Art - Final


This project was a HUGE labor of love. Half-way through, I realized my 20/20 vision wasn’t so 20/20 anymore. I started to get these 24-hour long migraines. The back of my eyes hurt so bad, I had to use sunnies inside the house. Thanks to the help of twelve big-ass white light bulbs + seven 000-sized paintbrushes, we got the job well done. 


Now I need a frozen margarita!


Stay tuned for the next reveal. More quirky designs to come!  



Mayi Carles

8 Responses to Design Studio: Cascanueces

  • richelle says:

    So beautiful, Mayi! You are very lucky to have found your creative outlet! We started getting calls in kindergarten about my son, not because he acted out but because he was so beyond what they were teaching, he was bored to death. This kid read Jurassic Park in 3rd grade. We owe it to our children to teach them the way they need to learn. Unfortunately this was not the mindset 20 years ago and my son grew to hate school.

    Best of luck to Cascanueces <3

    • Mayi Carles says:

      WOWWWWWW! Your kid is a genius. School’s are not often equipped for out of the box thinkers… for supernovas… for stars. Thanks for sharing your story. I bet that having you as a mom made everything better. Your son might hate school, but I’m sure he thinks his mom is pretty rad 🙂

  • KrisWithaK says:

    LOVE HIM! My favourite thing? Those three stars, to the right. They just make the final little bit of magic so apparent. Love it, Mayi!

    • Mayi Carles says:

      Funny you say that cuz those didn’t exist in the first sketch. We added them later on to add to the “imagination” theme we wanted to emphasize.

  • Marieke says:

    Love your illustrations! Thanks for sharing your inspiration and initial sketch so we can get a glimpse into your process of creating something so cool!

    • Mayi Carles says:

      PHEW! I wasn’t sure if people wanted to see that. This is the first time I share my process. Makes me so happy that you liked it. More designs to come 🙂

  • Janis says:

    Mayi, this is beautiful! you are so talented. Keep on doing your magic girl ; )

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