Mike is another one of those illustrators that’s been a big influence on me. Just deconstructing his work has been a big help in my transition from working in the auto industry to working in soft goods for the outdoor apparel industry. Mike has done a ton of work for companies like The North Face, Gerber and Boa Technology, just to name a few.
Mike is one of those guys you won’t see much online, he’s too busy working, so I’m very happy to show his work here.
What is your background in Illustration?
After I finished college in 1972, I was a high school art teacher for 3 years before I started
free-lancing. During the summer after I left teaching, ( 1975 ) I put together a PITIFUL portfolio
and started calling on people around town. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! …but people were nice, and helpful, and pointed me where I needed to go.
I was lucky and was offered studio space to rent ( not a job, just a studio )…fortunately, there
were a bunch of other artists working there who taught me what I needed to know, a little
at a time. They also sent me “overflow” work. I did mostly print production, and occasionally an illustration here and there. Along the way, I learned a LOT…about art and printing, and picked up clients of my own, and by 1979, I was sending work to some of the other guys.
Over the next 18 years (from 1979 until 1997), I got more and more “illustration” projects, and fewer and fewer “print production” projects…
I divide my “career” into 2 parts…“Before” computers ( 1976-1997 ), and “After” computers…
I didn’t get my first computer until 1997, and didn’t get any “good” at it until after 2000.
Until 2000, I always had a studio “downtown”…and then I moved my office home. From 2000 until 2006, I worked in our “guest bedroom”, using it as as my studio…it was way too small, but I made it work. In 2006, I finally had a contractor build me a “real” studio in the backyard ( built into the garage ) with skylights, vaulted ceilings, and lots of ROOM! Even though it has gotten “smaller” as my work load has grown…it is the greatest workspace I’ve ever had!!!!
What’s your setup?
I’m working on the Macintosh Platform, using the Adobe Software Suite…I think my background in “traditional” art media really helps me to maintain image “integrity” when working in the computer…after 12 years working on the computer, I’m very comfortable and confident taking on just about any assignment…
Any advice for other illustrators starting out?
My advice to artists just starting out is to talk to as many people actually working in the field as you can…school is great, but it never seems to quite prepare you for the “real thing”…
Always try to learn as much as you can, and constantly try to improve your skills.
Look at the work of artists whose work you admire. Then, once you get going, ALWAYS meet your deadlines…whatever it takes…and NEVER be satisfied to let a project go out of your studio that is not the very BEST you can do. As an artist, your reputation for quality work, and your dependability are what you sell.
What have you been up to lately?
Lately, I’ve been doing mostly “product” and “technical” illustration and even some photo retouching…one gal I’ve known for years told me that most of the old airbrush retouchers around town never made the switch to the computer. I used to do quite a bit of airbrush work… but after I got used to Photoshop, I never went back. ( my old airbrush is hanging in the corner… I haven’t used it in years! ).
If you would like to get in contact with Mike, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org