Interview: Michael Driver


Name: Michael Driver

Where do you live: London, United Kingdom

Known for: Illustrator, Animator

Currently working with:
Currently working full time as a freelance Illustrator on lots of top secret projects.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
I’ve always been really into illustration. It wasn’t until I was around sixteen/seventeen that I got into alternative music and collecting stuff which really naturally lead me into a career path geared towards illustration.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
I currently live in London and really love it however I would also love to spend some time in both Berlin and New York.

How would you describe your creativity?
My Process is really digitally lead but I try my hardest to continue to make physical things. I think it’s best to have a nice mix of digital and analogue, I find that there is something exciting about making physical things like making mistakes and discovering new processes but I also find that the safety net digital offers is really important to my process.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
I’ve been trying to chase really paid illustration work since I was in my first year at University. Only very recently have I tried to treat everything more seriously. I’m starting to deal with a lot bigger clients that expect a high quality finish delivered on deadline. It’s scary and demanding but it certainly helps your professional practice.

What do you do at the moment?
I’ve got a few jobs in the pipeline at the moment I’ve just started doing some work for a wine company, designing a few t-shirts and I might be work on an animation over the next few months.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
For anyone wanting a career in any sort of creative field I think it’s really important to be obsessive about what you do. Having a genuine interest in the creative field you’re interested in can really propel you forward.

Tell us how it all started.
I’ve always loved children’s books and toys and comics and cartoons. After my A levels I dropped out of school and worked as a chef. Eight months in I stopped enjoying it and started to think about how my life could feel more fulfilled. I’ve always been in creative things and thought I’d enroll on a foundation course and try and make my way through the world of illustration.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
I think it’s really cliché and boring to say but my computer and internet connection is pretty important. I recently moved to a house and not being able to check my emails has been pretty painful! Apart from that I think books and prints are pretty important. I like being surrounded by visually nice things, it’s like a constant source of inspiration.

What is your favorite film?
That’s a real tough one! I’m a real sucker for old movies that make me feel nostalgic. I love a lot of the old Disney movies that have a real immersive feel to them. Heck I’m beating around the bush here. I love Flubber.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
I’d love to have dinner with Charlie Harper. I’ve always been a huge fan of his work and how he makes very natural things graphic.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
I’m a very indulgent person – if it’s a good day I’ll buy chocolate for myself. If it’s a bad day but I have spare money to burn (which isn’t often) I’ll buy a record or a t-shirt or some sort of expensive collector toy.

What is luxury for you?
I think Luxury for me would be, being able to afford my own place, being able to eat nice food and listen to good bands and not have any money worries.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
I recently got a really big feature on “It’s Nice That”. The whole team is really lovely and it’s such a good platform to be on.

What do you fear most?
My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to afford rent next month and I’ll have to move back in with my parents.

What is a happy life to you?
A happy life is a good work balance, working for people I want to work for.

What does a regular day look like for you?
I wake up early around 7.30 make myself a cup of tea, read my emails and start to do roughs, have breakfast/lunch and work until dinner time. I probably spend too much time working but I really love what I do and I think that’s redeeming.

Tell us about your dream project.
My dream project would probably be some sort of graphic novel. I love the idea of designing a fully immersive world that people can read and feel involved in.

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
I think this is a really tough one, I have so many people that I take inspiration from that it’s really hard to pick one and say that they are my role model. I think if I had to pick one though I’d say Keaton Henson. He was very successful early on and I truly admire that. Other than Keaton Henson I really admire my father who has always been really hard worker and has always been behind me in all of my life choices, as soppy as that may sound.

How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I suppose my work is geared to an editorial field. I think previously when I got into illustration I was interested in all the things illustration could be printed onto and I liked the idea that illustration itself could be a commodity. However, now I feel that illustration is at its best when it is interacting with the rest of the world.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
I don’t think I’d be able to live without my Wacom tablet. It speeds everything I do up and makes my life so much easier.

What inspires you?
Things, lots of things, toys, prints, books, art, other people.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
I think reading “Where the wild things are” was a really great experience for me.

Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelwdriver & Instagram @MichaelDriver & Tumblr
Visit his website
Email him here

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