Miko Maciaszek was born in Warsaw, Poland. As a child, he left with his mother to Canada to escape the post communism mess. His father was already here building a life for them. Miko always drew and his parents always nurtured that After high school he studied illustration at Sheridan in a small town called Oakville, his life has been devoted to making pictures ever since. Within a year of graduating Miko has worked with The Globe and mail, Big Sexy Comics, The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times, Ryerson Review of Journalism, and The New York Times.
How did you get into illustration?
I enrolled at Sheridan with aspirations of becoming a concept artist for video games and movies. After studying art fundamentals for a year I got into the illustration program. It was open ended with opportunities in all ends of the spectrum, from animation to graphic design. I was introduced to, and became fascinated with editorial and book illustration. That has been my focus ever since.
What other types of jobs have you had?
When I was younger I worked at a movie theater, eventually retail (video games, music, movies). My interests haven’t changed much, I just no longer peddle content, rather create it.
Describe your creative process?
I’ll scribble down my initial reactions, even if it’s within minutes of reading a brief. Depending on how much time I have to complete the piece I’ll take as much as I can to refine it. This involves taking walks in deep thought, to and from the cafe. Sometimes a piece of music will get across the feeling I want to express with my illustration, I’ll use that to guide me.
What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?
Anything really, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do even half the things that I would want to try. I love quick editorials because the subject matters vary so much. I love the process of research, problem solving, and the surprising quality of an image based on something I was unaware of before.
How would you like your work to be used in the future?
I would like to eventually have my work published on my own terms, as in comic/picture books. I have a story in mind I’ve been working on for years, I could totally see it being turned into something moving and/or interactive.
Is your work more conceptual or decorative?
A little of both, aesthetics are very important to me, but they must contribute to the concept.
Do you have an art rep? Why or why not?
I do not. I think it’s too early for me in my career. I’m still warping my head around mailing lists and writing postcards.
Please describe a typical day?
- I try to wake up at 9 or earlier, I’m most effective and creative in the first half of the day. Breakfast is either something greasy from the night before-microwaved, or something extremely healthy to balance out the guilt and nutrition.
- A walk to the cafe for espresso is essential.
- By the time I get back to my desk I’m awake and I’ll either take care of business on the internet or preferably draw something.
- By mid day I start to burn out and I take a long break, lunch, mindless tv, video games, sometimes a nap.
- Another walk for an espresso if I have to work into the night. I try to plug in as much social life as I can when I can.
What is your working environment like?
Ideally organized, I’m surrounded by screens and surround sound. I have stacks of history books, comic books and magazines at hand. Aside from tablet & photoshop I’ve only been using graphite so my drafting table is covered in bits of pencil and stacks of paper.
Do you meet up with other illustrators in person? Who?
I keep in touch with many people I graduated with. The art scene in Toronto is pretty good and the people in those social circles are amazing. They are illustrators, animators, fine artists and professors. A lot of these people are involved in groups like ‘Pen Club!’ and ‘nook collective’.
Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?
- Greg Capullo -illustrated the Spawn comic books in the 90’s that had me addicted as a little boy. The artwork deeply affected my taste and always inspired me to just draw. My sketches to this day still have echos of his work.
- Joe Morse -illustrator and instructor at Sheridan who took me under his wing as an intern. His philosophies on life and art will resonate with me forever.
What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?
Recently at a party someone told me the story of Ferruccio Lamborghini - a tractor maker from the 40’s, sports car collector, and owner of several Ferraris. With his engineering expertise, disappointment in Ferrari’s quality of cars and treatment of customers, he set off to build his own sports cars and established what we know today as Lamborghini. There’s a lot of beautiful esthetic involved, it’s pretty fascinating and inspirational.
What was the best advice given to you as an illustrator?
I’ve gotten advice from brilliant professors, friends, illustrators, pod casts, recommended books and quotes. I have a terrible memory but I know this has all snowballed within my subconscious. Someone recently sent me this: ” If obstacles discourage the mediocre talent, they are, on the contrary, the necessary food of genius; they ripen and exalt it, where the easy road would leave it cold. Everything that opposes the triumphant progress of genius irritates it, and induces that fever of exaltation that overthrows and conquers all to produce its masterpieces. -Theodore Gericault(1791-1824).
Top 5 favorite things in life
- espresso in Italy
- things that come in black
- books with pictures
- decent people
- summer nights in good company
Top 5 bands/singers
This is mostly changing for me all the time and it really influences my work.
recently: Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, The music from Elysium by Ryan Amon, Hans Zimmer film soundtracks, and Frederic Chopin(always).
Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?
- Alysha Dawn - www.alyshadawn.com
- Steven Glanville - www.stevenglanville.com
- Jori Bolton - www.joribolton.com
Sometimes He allows the mind of a man
of distinguished birth to follow its bent,
grants him fulfillment and felicity on earth
and forts to command in his own country.
He permits him to lord it in many lands
until the man in his unthinkingness
forgets that it will ever end for him.
He indulges his desires; illness and old age
mean nothing to him; his mind is untroubled
by envy or malice or the thought of enemies
with their hate-honed swords. The whole world
conforms to his will, he is kept from the worst
until an element of overweening
enters him and takes hold
while the soul’s guard, its sentry, drowses,
grown too distracted.
SUBMISSION: The Cycle Path (Esther McLaughlin Creations)