WORD OF THE WEEK - The Blog of Illustrated Type

WORD OF THE WEEK is my new blog that pays tribute to artists who are crazy about illustrated type. Each week, the word changes and new artist's work will be featured to reflect the word. The execution is totally up to the artist. It can be literal or conceptual, as long as it incorporates illustrated letter forms. Open to photography and all media. Check it out if you want to submit!

Word of the Week #1: HELLO
Prepare for Week #2: TAX, MONEY, or $ (dollar sign)

© Michael Mullan . 2015

© Michael Mullan . 2015

© Michael Mullan . 2015

© Michael Mullan . 2015

NEW WORK

Wiser words were never spoken :) This is a new art collection of prints & patterns available for licensed product. Check out the full collection here. Happy Friday everybody!

Original Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

Original Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

NEW BEER PACKAGING

To be clear, WONDERMENT is not a legit beer company. Home-brewing is a hobby of mine (it's a right of passage in Vermont) so designing beer packaging felt very natural. I entered this beer into a statewide Homebrew Competition. I thought a snazzy label would help my chances... but the beer is actually delicious :)

For more beer packaging, check out UPPER PASS BEER COMPANY based out of Tunbridge, Vermont (they do exist).

Cheers!

Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

STAYING POSITIVE, PRODUCTIVE, & CREATIVE

Throughout my development, the goal was always to find a balance between making art that sold & art that felt true to me. In searching, I fell for many creative pitfalls. I've found these 6 reminders to be most helpful in staying positive, productive & creative.

Original Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

Original Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

1. Art is never perfect. While working as a staff artist that became very clear. Even the veteran painter's art needed digital correction. It's nothing personal. The publishing & licensing market has broad needs (subject, styles) that are very predictable. To be sold, however, the art needs to fit a specific need for a specific customer. It comes down to having the right 'look' at the right time. It's best not to fuss too much over details. Call it done and move on to the next project.

2. Comparing yourself to others is bad. Following trends and looking at art is a good thing, but when you start to doubt your own abilities, it becomes very unhealthy. Living in an office overflowing with trend reports & other artist's work, it was very difficult to break the habit of comparing myself to others. At a certain point, you need to stop, absorb the inspiration, and trust your instincts.

3. Do what comes naturally and makes you happy. In my first few years as a staff artist, I was flailing. I tried everything to make my work marketable, including adopting techniques and styles that felt foreign to me. I was trying everything to fit a mold. As a result, my art ended up looking like something someone else had created and I end up hating myself just a little bit (see Mo Mullan). I find it's best not to live by the trends or worry too much about how it will sell. Instead, focus on your strengths, draw what you love, and aim to stay true to your vision. Once I started trusting my artistic instincts, people began reacting more positively, and art making became less painstaking. Trust your instincts.

Original Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

Original Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2015

4. Pinterest is amazing/awful. It's convenient & easy, and is my go-to source for inspiration. It reveals trends, but also features so much derivative art, it's depressing. Everything has been done, it seems. Part of selling your work in this market means hitting trend subjects, sometimes twice, but try to do it your own way. It sucks for the artists being copied but it sucks even more when you get called out for it. Make sure to broaden your scope of inspiration.

5. If you do anything consistently, even if it's shitty, people will take you seriously. Basquiat, James Franco, both perfect examples. My alternate portfolio, Oliver Towne, is full of rough sketches inspired by outsider & children's art. This work does not blend with my main portfolio, but I love the spontaneity these drawings hold. Individually, the drawings are weak, but presented as group, they hold weight despite their crudity. When building a portfolio, consistency, the volume of work, and presentation is key.

6. Breaks are important. When you work for a company who's main source of revenue is new art, the staff artist has excellent job security. The downside is that your work is never done. It's a good problem to have, but it's important to remember in this situation, you're only as busy as you want to be.

TAKING THE DIVE

This is part of a new series that I'm working on about taking the dive into freelance illustration. I've noticed a ton of buzz on the subject lately (probably Facebook's targeted ads zeroing in on me). For the past 7 years, I've worked as a staff artist & designer. This past month, I decided to leave my position and head out on my own. I've been very lucky to have met many supportive & inspiring people along the way, without whom, this would never have been possible. This was a very scary (and exciting) decision to make, but I'm very happy to have taken the dive. So far, it feels fantastic.

© Michael Mullan . 2015

© Michael Mullan . 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thanks to friends, family, and all who shared kind words, likes, and positive feedback throughout the year. Your encouragement is much appreciated! I wish you all a safe & happy new year. Cheers!

WONDERMENT

WHOAAHHH... clearly having way too much fun with time & space this weekend :)

New Original Art Collection © Michael Mullan . 2014 . www.mullanillustration.com Check out every color of the rainbow  here .

New Original Art Collection © Michael Mullan . 2014 . www.mullanillustration.com
Check out every color of the rainbow here.

Illustration for Charleston Magazine

I just got the latest issue of Charleston Magazine with a new illustration about the traditions of hunting. Love seeing the finished piece in print!

www.mullanillustration.com © Michael Mullan . 2014

www.mullanillustration.com © Michael Mullan . 2014

Urban Notes Collection by DEMDACO

The folks at DEMDACO went to town with a few of my music pieces. I just got a truckload of new stuff... everything you could want from canvas prints to melamine plates & trays, pint glasses, wall hangings, tea towels, & over-sized clothes pins. Below are a few product shots from their showroom at the Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Love this!


Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2014

Artwork © Michael Mullan . 2014

Photo from DEMDACO showroom, Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market

Photo from DEMDACO showroom, Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market

Wonderful World

Here's a sample of a new series I've been working on. Available in blue-green & orange - pink. Check them out - here.

Original artwork copyright . Michael Mullan . www.mullanillustration.com

Original artwork copyright . Michael Mullan . www.mullanillustration.com

Art Hearts

I just received some really cool sample ornaments from the folks at DEMDACO. Their giant line of 'Art Hearts' features a great mix of artwork, each with a unique sentiment. These are well made and a fun, creative way to share some love.

You can see a nice variety of artwork within the collection. Very fun!

You can see a nice variety of artwork within the collection. Very fun!