The number one reason I interview other artists is jealousy. All I want is an opportunity to pick their brains so I can uncork their talent reserves and bathe in their knowledge. Mike Anderson is one of those artists I revere… And plus he loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So check out the interview I had with Mike below after drooling over his tributes to the TMNT universe.
Beautiful Raphael Sketch
The expression in those eyes
The Rat King
The Super Fans.
An Interview With Mike Anderson!
Q: So Mike, after browsing through your illustrations, it quickly becomes apparent that you love the turtles. What was it about these mutants that made you fall head over sneakers?
Turtles? Hmm, I guess so…I hadn’t really noticed – Just kidding. Yes, I am a huge TMNT fan. My obsession may be what some professionals consider “unhealthy”. I’ve always been drawn to anything that has to do with Toxic Waste or Ooze in TMNT’s case. But I have been a fan since I was little. I feel very fortunate to have been born in 1985. I think what has sustained my love for the turtles; is how much creativity their world has the potential for. It’s a fantastic concept. You have this green ooze that will turn anything it touches into mutated warriors. The creative design possibilities are endless. And also, my favorite food is pizza and one of them is named Mikey…so…
Q: Outside of the TMNT universe, what inspires you to create? What makes you leap out of your seat and run for the sketchbook?
I’m extremely influenced by movies. Specifically 80’s movies (surprise surprise). Horror, action, Grindhouse, anime…I love storytelling; through both sequential art and concept art. I’m also extremely influenced by other artists. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of friends that enjoy drawing and other creative outlets, so when i see them creating it inspires me to do so as well.
Q: I would love an inside scoop on your process. Do the ideas always begin on paper? What digital tools are you using to bring those vibrant colors to your characters?
Sadly, I’ve all but stopped sketching on paper. Digital is so much faster, forgiving and helpful. Nothing will fully replace the experience of sketching in a sketchbook for fun, but when it comes to work I usually start out by sketching out a concept in Photoshop. I’ll usually start out extremely loose and dirty. So chaotic that sometimes I’m the only one that can really tell what’s going on in the sketch. Usually I’ll go straight to inking from there. Sketching so loosely allows me to make adjustments on the fly when inking. And then when I color I’m usually just trying stuff until I find something I like. I will always start off with an idea of how I want something to look, but it rarely looks that way in the final illustration. I use photoshop and an intuos 4 tablet to create my illustrations.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators who are trying to find their own unique style?
Trace things!!! gasp That’s a cardinal sin of drawing. Nope, I admit, I used to trace. It’s a great LEARNING tool. Don’t try and pass tracings off as your own, but use them to learn why things are drawn the way they are. Honestly, I would say forget trying to create a style for yourself. Learn everything you can about the basics of drawing and imitate your influences. Try and copy their styles exactly cough trace them cough. If you have multiple influences, thats even better. Figure out what you like best from the influences and exploit that in your own work. No artist can truly copy someone else’s style, and it’s through your mistakes that YOUR style will start to develop. My 3 biggest artistic influences are Danny Antonucci (Ed, Edd, n Eddy), Chris Bachalo, and LeSean Thomas. Three completely different styles, but each one significantly helped influence where I am today.
Q: What does the future hold for Mr. Anderson? What are you working on now and what kind of projects are you dying to work on in the future?
Hmm, the future? Hopefully jetpacks or robot llamas… Honestly I don’t know right now, haha. I have a personal comic that I have been trying to get off the ground for the past few years. I’m really enjoying making new friends through my work. I was never really in to social media until this year, and I realized I’ve really been missing out on some fantastic communities like Instagram..still not sold on Twitter… Hopefully I continue to get cool new projects to work on. If not there are always turtles to be drawn!
Bonus: Ok totally not a Turtle but this image made me fall in love with Mike’s style.
Mike is basically everywhere. Tumblr, Dribbble, Society6, and Twitter. I’m so glad he took the time to chat with me and I’m going to encourage everybody I know to keep up with his promising & kick-ass career.