American artist Mike Winkelmann has been creating digital art consistently since childhood, when his parents bought him a computer to keep him busy. For the past ten years, he has committed himself to creating and publishing an artwork every single day, in a series called ‘the Everydays.’ We caught up with Mike for an insight into the motivations behind this impressive commitment, and the effects it has had on his practice.
How did your creative life begin?
When I was in 4th grade, my teacher thought I needed a creative outlet to keep me busy. My parents bought me a computer and I taught myself how to program in Basic. I created stick figures that moved and I’ve been at the keyboard ever since.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
It’s from the book ‘War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield. It talks a lot about procrastination and motivation and was a real turning point for me.
When did you start your ‘Everyday’ series and what inspired it?
I posted my first Everyday on May 1, 2007 with a crappy drawing of my Uncle Jim. I started the series because I wanted to get better at drawing. When I look back, I can see how some of the pictures were definitely not great. But along the way I tried more techniques, studied tutorials and realized that, day after day, I did improve. Just seeing that I am getting better is inspiration for me to keep going.
Could you walk us through the process of creating your Everydays?
Throughout the years, the Everydays have focused on different tools – whatever I wanted to learn or improve upon that year. Right now I am working on Cinema4D, which is a 3D animation tool.
This allows me to model and light 3D models to achieve pretty much anything. I will usually start with some sort of base idea, build the basic scene, position the camera and then render out an image. From there, I’ll take it into Photoshop and do any ‘post production’ finishing touches. I usually spend around 2 to 3 hours per day on these.
What was the initial motivation behind creating a drawing every day? Has that changed over the course of time?
The initial motivation behind drawing everyday was just to produce more work. I figured that if I posted them online that I would be accountable to myself. I didn’t expect anybody other than my wife and mother to actually look at what I did. But I knew that they would look everyday so I had to post it. I picked midnight as my deadline.
And now I guess my motivation is also to encourage others. I have learned so much from other artists around the world, I really want to give back and let people know their own ‘Everyday’ can make a difference in their talent.
What is your greatest dream as an artist?
I don’t have a single, passionate dream but I would like to work on a single project and devote all my time to just one venture at a time. I can’t even imagine what that would be like – to put my time and energy into one thing without any distractions. Although, I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t like that. It’s a dream of mine though.
Stay up to date with Mike’s ‘Everydays’ and check out his other art via his website.