Micah Lidberg from Minnesota, United States
Please introduce yourself to MAPS readers.
I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have moved around a lot though, so if you read somewhere that I’m from Missouri, New Jersey, or Alabama that would be why. I’m fascinated by nature and weirdness. A lot of my work is about those two things.
What about your process of working? Do you use a combination of hand-drawn work and digital? Do you have a specific process for creating your illustrations?
My process is pretty straight forward. I draw by hand in black and white, and then digitally color my pieces. Projects generally start with daydreaming and visualizing, and then I make a rough drawing. From the rough drawing I make the final drawing. When all of that is complete, I develop the color. Usually I don’t have a specific palette developed a head of time, I just have a mood in mind and I develop a the color as I go.
Are there types of illustration that you most like working on, for example, publications or zines, or for albums?
Albums can be quite fun because the work can be less literal and more open in it’s content and creation. Personal work is also great. Over the last ten years I haven’t been able to fit a lot of that in, but when I do it’s pretty enjoyable.
Your drawings often describe jungle. What is it that attracts you to draw jungle?
There’s something overwhelming to me about a jungle and that sense of overwhelm is really attractive to me. It’s a quality that happens in a busy city or a messy room as well. Also, jungles look similar to how I feel when I think about life. It’s a special mix of chaos and structure.
What do you think is the most important when you draw?
It’s very important to me that I feel true and honest about the work I’m making as well as just simply enjoying it.
What do you think is the most important qualification in living as an illustrator?
A willingness to stick with it. I mean that in a couple of ways; the ability to see an idea through to fruition as well as the lifestyle as a whole. An ongoing creative practice is not the easiest pursuit and being able to navigate the ups and downs with persistence is very important.
What makes you keep drawing?
The desire to create and the desire to connect and share an idea.
How do you think about Art academia? Is there anything that still sticks with you or do you feel you’ve thrown out a lot of advice of tutors as your practice has developed?
I didn’t finish school so I can’t comment on the whole of Art academia. I left the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2007 after I completed my exchange program at the University of Brighton, England. The experience I did have was very valuable. The two schools had very different approaches to teaching creativity. One was quite goal oriented, while the other was more process oriented. I’m glad I got exposure to both approaches. I do think one draw back of academia is that it can be very bubble-like and insular. You can lose touch with the rest of the world, which I don’t think is very good for a creative practice.
What’s your advice for young creatives who want to be illustrator?
Work hard and work a lot. Also, try lots of different things and find what you like to create. Also, if you have the opportunity, start making the kind of work you want to be making in the future.
Now you are based in Minneapolis. How does this city affect your work? Do you want to move to the bigger city like New York?
I’ve moved around a lot in the last ten years and I just recently moved back to Minneapolis, so I’m still discovering out how it impacts my work. I’ve been on a small hiatus creatively so we’ll see. As I mentioned earlier, I went school here and it’s a very design oriented city. I’m curious what it could bring. The last few places I’ve lived haven’t had much of a creative community. As for a bigger city, I’ve spent some time in and living near New York. I worked with an agency there for about six years, and I have a number of close friends that live there. I think it’s great, but I aspire for more quieter settings.
What is good balance to you?
I’m actually trying to figure out what a good balance is for me on a lot of fronts. Creatively, I think good balance is always a moving target. Each piece is an exploration of that question. As for professional and personal balance, the freelancing life was very exciting and interesting, but very unbalanced at the same time. I’ve been tackling that issue over the last few years. The ultimate goal is to restore a bit more harmony between my creative life, personal life, and professional life.
What does the future hold for Micah Lidberg? Any projects you’re working on you wanna talk about?
I would really love to develop my personal work more. I grew up making things, usually my own toys, and I miss that. I always drew, but there’s another side of me that loves making actual ‘things’ and I would love to develop that more.