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.

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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.

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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!

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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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