For years, the awesome art we found on the net was about just two things: awesome art and the artists who create it. With that in mind, we thought, why not take advantage of the first week of the month to showcase these awesome artists even more? Welcome to “A brilliant artist we found on the net”. In this column, we focus on one artist and the awesome art he creates, whether amateur, aspiring, or established. The goal is to discover these artists so that even more people get to know them. We ask these artists a few questions to see their origins, influences and more. If you are an awesome artist or know someone who should be featured, please feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected]. This month, we are very excited to bring you the awesome art of …
Mike Mahle is a designer and illustrator based in central Illinois. He is known for his vector illustrations, vivid color palettes, and creative layouts. Mike has had the pleasure of creating work for clients such as Disney, Sci-Fi Now Magazine, Sony Pictures and many more. His work has been recognized by ImagineFX, Pulp and Cult, Printed in Blood and UCDA. Mike has self-published three books showcasing his art and design, First, City of the Empire, and Squared.
When Mike isn’t working with clients, he can be found creating for himself. Either by preparing his next art book or by working on something he has a burning desire to produce.
JOBLO: What made you start as an artist?
MAHLE: Super hero. The first drawings that I remember being created were those of the Super Friends. I have always liked to recreate my favorite heroes, cartoons or movies. I knew early on that I wanted to do something that was based on creativity. In high school, I explored different options before choosing design as my creative profession that I wanted to pursue. Fast forward a bit and now I have my bachelor’s degree in graphic design and have been a professional designer / illustrator for over 20 years.
It took me a little while to find a particular style that I wanted to work in. The more I progressed in my training and career in design, the less I focused on illustration and more on design. At one point I realized that I had completely stopped doing any form of actual illustration and had reverted back to digital illustration. I experimented with a bunch of different tools, but always struggled to achieve the kind of look I wanted. I was looking for a very clean style that I just couldn’t achieve when working with pen, paper, and Photoshop.
That’s when I started experimenting with vector illustrations. As a designer I was familiar with Adobe Illustrator so it didn’t take long for me to start loving the way things look in vector. The lettering was also a huge piece of the puzzle that I wanted to include in my work, which the vector is made for. To bridge the gap between traditional illustration and design, I wanted my illustration to look more like a graphic illustration if that makes sense.
I’ve been working in my current style for almost ten years now, but still don’t think I’ve quite got the exact result I’m looking for. That is to say with all kind of consistency.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
Being a superhero fan since I was old enough to know what we are, and I love to draw, it made sense that I gravitated to the comics, the house of superheroes. Pouring over these comic pages from artists like John Byrne, John Buscema, Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell and Todd McFarlane just inspired me.
Classic Disney animation had a big influence on me as well. The original hand-drawn animation from movies like Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Bambi, and all the rest had such a vibe and life that it was hard to fathom that they were hand-drawn. There was an incredible talent to be shown in those early films. I love the way Disney has changed the style of animation with almost every movie. It gave each movie so much personality.
I think you can see these two specific influences on my work. I never tried to hide it. I always thought it was important, at least for me, to wear these influences on my sleeve and in art. Let them shine so to speak.
Who do you really like these days, do you follow on Instagram?
I keep my Instagram feed almost entirely devoted to artwork and artists as much as possible. One of the good things about social media is seeing such a blast of artists from all over the world, with so many different voices. Brandon ragnar has always had a great influence on my work. I also like what Tom whalen Is it that. These two artists, more than any other, have produced the kind of graphic illustration that I continually seek.
I am represented by The poster group, and the wealth of creativity that resides in their artist roster is impressive. I am always inspired when other artists reveal what they have worked on. It’s also nice to have so many other artists I can reach out to with questions and / or advice. I think artists are always better with other artists. It inspires you and pushes you to improve your game.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists today?
Get your job there. Art is made to be appreciated, so let others see it. It will only make you grow as an artist, even if the initial reaction is not what you would like.
For a long time, I was reluctant to show my work to a wider audience. I wasn’t really confident in my job at the time. I wish my work had taken place in nature earlier than I did. I grew significantly as an artist once I did.
What should we expect from you in the future?
I have created three books containing my illustration work, and have just started planning for my fourth. This will be more of a concept book with a short narrative that walks you through the book filled with artwork focused on a specific story. The story of an old haunted mansion and the park that surrounds it.
I’m also finishing a series tribute to classic 007 novels by Ian Fleming. I took it upon myself to create a complete cover design for each of the books in the series. I have managed to go through Goldfinger so far.
Recently, I partnered up with Sideshow Collectibles to create artwork for some skate decks, artist print series, and officially licensed work for everyone’s favorite superhero IP.
As a fan site, we have to ask you… What are your favorite movies / TV shows of all time?
It’s a big list.
I’m an 80’s kid so Lucas and Spielberg are my movie gods. The original Star Wars trilogy and Adventurer of the Lost Ark remain two of my all-time favorites. LOST is my favorite TV show, along with Batman the animated series.
I’m also a James Bond junkie, and the film series is one of my all-time favorite franchises. Craig’s era was exceptional. It will be hard to follow, but I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
Lately, like everyone else, I’ve been swept up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The interconnectivity of what they were able to do is so much fun. The Captain America and Wanda Vision movies are two of my favorites.
As much as I love the MCU, so much Zach Snyder’s Justice League blew my hair back. I’m a big fan of the sweeping epics, and felt that was exactly what we had. Count me in the camp who thinks it’s a crime if they don’t build on what they have there.
Besides the superhero genre, David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson are always interesting filmmakers who appeal to me. Another would be Denis Villeneuve. Its catalog of films from the last 8 to 10 years is remarkable. Arrival and Sicario really stand out for me.
Scroll down to check out some of our favorite works of art from Mike as we continue to follow his journey through his Website and social media platforms: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Deviantart / LinkedIn / Youtube / Pinterest / Shop
Ford vs. Ferrari
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
The invisible Man
The Legion of Destiny
Live and Let Die
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Mary Poppins Returns
Spider-Man: No Path Home
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Toy story 4