May 18, 2018

MAY ARTIST SPOTLIGHT - Meet Michael Mitchell Jr.

This month's
shines on artist/illustrator,
Michael Mitchell Jr.
Michael is an artist, writer, and musician whose work includes illustrations for books, comic strips, and roleplaying games. He has been exploring imaginative worlds and developing character designs for most of his life, and his passion for storytelling drives every aspect of his art and writing.

Find out more about him in his interview below, and share your thoughts about his art in the Comments section. We'd love to hear from you!

Hi Michael. What inspired you to become an artist?
I’ve always loved sci-fi and fantasy stories, whether it was movies, illustrated books, or comic books. At an early age, I wanted to be a cartoonist. Comic book artists such as Carl Barks, who drew and wrote Disney’s Uncle Scrooge, really inspired me. I spent way too many hours learning how to draw those ducks! The Star Wars movies and toys, early Disney films, and Saturday morning cartoons were all major inspirations to my developing imagination.
I discovered that drawing was a way I could escape, tell stories, and express myself. I was thrilled with the idea that I could bring my own characters to life on the page. That excitement has never left me!

What is your favorite medium to work in?
I feel the most confident with a pencil in my hand. I think many artists start with pencils, as they are easily accessible, and we all doodle in our notebooks during school. All of my art begins with a pencil sketch, and then I move into colored pencils or inks. I’m currently illustrating a book primarily using colored pencils (and a few acrylic paints).
I’ve been incorporating more digital tools in my work (for coloring & inking), but I still begin every idea with an HB pencil in a notebook before I scan it into the computer.

Who has influenced you as an artist and why?
My parents encouraged reading in our home, so our house was filled with wonderful books and illustrations. The art of John R. Neill (Baum’s Oz books) and Pauline Baynes (Lewis’s Narnia series) are both major influences. Richard Scarry, Arthur Rackham, and Charles Vess are some other favorites. I love all the details, textures, and characters in their work.
My mom Sharyn was also an amazing artist with an incredible imagination and a gift for storytelling. One of my earliest memories was the two of us building a miniature zoo together (with cardboard, construction paper, and plastic animals). Our awesome menagerie filled the kitchen table! She always encouraged me to pursue the arts and to keep drawing and creating.

What else would you like to add for our readers...
I have an M.Div. and an M.A. in English, which has informed my creative writing and art, and I’ve been a college instructor for the past decade. I’m in the process of finishing my first illustrated children’s book this year, which is an original fairy tale and will be available on my website. It’s an all-ages story about identity and finding one’s place in life. Music is another passion of mine, and I’ve been a musician and songwriter for over twenty years.

I’m also available for art commissions or collaborations,
so feel free to contact me at
or visit my website:

Check out Michael's enchanting art:
Afternoon Rain

Trees are Friends

Alice in Wonderland

Frog Warrior

Lady of the Woods

Mouse Bard

Winter Forest Companions
Follow Michael on Twitter @MitchellJrArt 
Read Michael's story from our "Of Frost & Firelight" Issue


Carmen said...

Awesome interview and article! Since I joined Twitter I bumped into Michael, and he's been really supportive about my writing, and his drawings are awesome, congrats Michael!!

Carrie said...

Great interview! I've really enjoyed seeing Michael's art, and it's fun to see a glimpse of his influences!