Interview with Illustrator and Designer: Michael Murdock

Interview with Illustrator and Designer: Michael Murdock

Interview with Illustrator and Designer: Michael Murdock

I discovered illustration as a profession when I entered art school… It really hadn't been on my radar until then. Being exposed to so many different illustrators and styles made me really love the field.


What is a day like for you? What usually keeps you busy?

I work full-time doing animation and visual effects for commercials. When I arrive at work I make a mad dash for the coffee, and then check in with my project manager to see what my schedule for the day is like.

If I have clients in, I will be working back and forth with them throughout the day on their commercials. Some days I'm not as busy and I focus on learning new techniques and keeping up with the industry blogs.

There is a rhythm to it, but no day is the same.

All of my illustrations have been freelance; I work on those projects after I get home from my day job. I really love illustration because it allows me to work with a pencil and paper… it's very organic and tactile. My animation work is all done in the computer, so I need this balance to my creative work.

I end my day with a nice cup of tea.


Your drawings in your Moleskine are really amazing. Where do you get the concept/inspiration for each drawing?

Thank you! My Moleskine work is the evolution of all the doodling I did in my classes in school. I usually don't have an idea of what a drawing is going to be until I'm about half-way through it. Most of the time I start drawing and think "This is going nowhere… what am I doing?!?!" But most of the illustrators I've talked to have the same thoughts. I just have to power through that until I start getting something I'm happy with.

The ideas for my drawings come from many places: I might see an image or hear a phrase that is the seed for an image, but I never know where it's going to go. Finding out what it's going to become is the best part of doodling!


How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?

I have several working styles: My design and animation style is very different from my illustration work. I do think they all share similar characteristics though:

  • Complexity: I love making visually complex images…it's a sedulous process, but I really like that type of work.
  • Composition: Some common themes are symmetry and asymmetry with figure ground relationships.
  • Humor: I love hearing from people that my work makes them smile or chuckle.
  • For my illustrations:

    I really think "doodles" is the best way to describe it. I struggled finding a voice in school because I really admired artists like James Jean and Jason Chan and wanted to do work like them. I didn't enjoy producing work in those styles though. It took me a while to realize that my sketchbook was fun and my "formal illustrations" were not. It was hard embracing the "doodle" style, but I really love it now!

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