Illustrator Interview: Michael Villegas

Illustrator Interview: Michael Villegas

Ikon Images

Describe your work in three words

Vivid, clean(ish), reflective

How did you get started in illustration? Did you always want to be an artist?

I got started by attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After graduation, I took a VERY winding path and continued to draw and create. Then I decided it was time to promote my work, which I continued to do to this day.

Businessman losing job
Four hands interlocking fingers

How do you approach a new illustration, where do you start?

I start by reading the article/story then pick key words and put ideas to them. I play and at some point I’ll come up with something I feel is good and has my sense of vision and humour.

What inspires you?

Many things: other art(ists); music; mathematical equations on chalkboards; nature

What’s been your favourite topic to illustrate / favourite illustration and why?

Honestly, I don’t have a favourite topic. I like the challenge of many different ones. However, if I was being interrogated, I’d have to say science topics.

Polar bear sitting on tiny iceberg
Man half awake and half asleep looking at phone

What’s been your most challenging commission?

Most challenging was doing a cover for The Isthmus in Madison where I created an image of the then governor sort of looking like Che Guevara.

What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

I’ve always loved using ink, whether it be with a pen or brush or any other tool. Most of my current work is digital, using procreate on the iPad. The brushes artists create for the app are pretty close to the real thing.

What does your workspace say about you?

Given that I mainly use Procreate and my iPad, my workspace differs every day. Even when I use traditional tools like pen and ink, I tend to draw small and I can carry my sketchbook anywhere, along with my iPad. If I do a drawing in my sketchbook then colour it in Procreate, I use a scanner app and it works very quickly.

What bit of kit can’t you live without?

Good ol’ pentel brush pen, Lamy safari fountain pen in fine and medium point and a sketchbook by Baron Fig.

Michael Villegas workspace

Do you have any other creative endeavours outside of illustration?

I enjoy building and fixing things around the house. I’ve learned a ton from my dad, and he likes to help as well.

Name a favourite artist or an artist who inspires you

Christoph Niemann. Fantastic concepts and killer artwork Others: Ben Shahn, Nishant Chokski, Jock, Greg Capullo, and many others.

Draw a 2-minute self portrait

Michael Villigas 2 Minute Self Portrait

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