Doing What You Love: A Chat with Illustrator Miguelcm

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09.14.15 | By
Doing What You Love: A Chat with Illustrator Miguelcm

We’ve long enjoyed the illustrations of Miguel Camacho AKA miguelcm, and he’s even created a desktop wallpaper for us. As miguelcm fans, we obviously wanted the opportunity to find out more about him, his design and working style, how he created such a unique online portfolio design (which we highlighted here). He started out studying business and by day, he works in an office, but longs to make his design work, which he does in the evenings, a full-time gig.

Tell me a little bit about yourself: where do you live, what is your background, what did you study in school?

Hi! I’m Miguel, I live in Jabugo, an small village of Andalusia, southern Spain. Since always I draw things, when I was very young, even, I painted a landscape on the walls of my house! That didn’t end well… I studied Business Management and Marketing.

A childhood drawing

A childhood drawing

What made you decide you wanted to be an illustrator?

The earliest memories of myself, are drawing every morning with my grandmother. I only drew things that I imagined, I never imitated other drawings, or ways to draw. I drew many landscapes, buildings, vehicles, characters, animals… I see the world as a drawable thing. One day I thought, why not show other people my illustrated vision?

When I start to share my passion for drawing with my wife, she trusted me and suggested that I take my passion for drawing seriously, and become a designer and illustrator. Every day of the year, I feed it. This year, I’ve started a microproject called #drawingoftheday, where I do a daily doodle and publish it on Twitter.


I see the world as a drawable thing.


Do you work on a particular schedule and how do you find time for personal projects?

I work 6 hours a day regularly, but always depending on projects, I adjust my time for them. When I have no commissioned works, I do personal stuff, but everyday I do something!

What are some of the tools you for organization and efficiency?

I use my iPhone to note ideas (by the way Squarespace’s Note app is my fave), a notebook to do quick doodles, the Paper iPad app to do sketching (I have practically replaced the sketches on paper with this tool, it gives me many more possibilities especially with colors).

Jot down any ideas helps me to create new things that comes to my mind, even if I have an idea about to sleep, I write it down. Record all ideas, occurrences, be more organized, makes you be more productive.



A designer yourself, why did you choose to design your website using Squarespace?

Searching for the best place to showcase my works, I found Squarespace. Other designers also told me about it. I compared it with other platforms and finally decided get a business plan with them. It allows you show what you do without loss of quality, in a clean environment, with an easy-to-use editor and interface.

I like the modern templates, easy image management, built-in mobile website, and style editor. I think that Squarespace is ‘the place to be’ on the internet for a visual designer, illustrator, artist… Everything is designed for make the content the protagonist, without impeding in any way the user experience, nor “dirtying” the minimalist, clean and functional feel that ooze their templates designs. I must also say that the help desk works very well. This is something that is I value very much when issues arise.



What’s your process like?

I start with rough sketching. I capture the essence of the idea on paper, then I go to the computer and outline the sketch. From the lines, I work there until the final result. Walking new cities, and new places, I find a lot of inspiration, for example the ‘Building Series’ was born from a coast-to-coast trip for United States.


Where does your love of architecture come from? What’s your most favorite building ever?

It comes from a long a time ago. A Christmas, I received the gift of a toy with colored wooden building blocks, I spent all day playing with this and drawing the small buildings so I didn’t forget them. I think that’s where everything started. I must also say that I like to be at home, when I draw some buildings, I think of them as my own home. I don’t have a favorite building, but the top five are: Flatiron Building (New York), La Giralda (Seville), Milad Tower (Tehran), a lot of mid-century houses (Palm Springs) and the Burj Khalifa (Dubai)


What is your favorite medium to work with?

If I have to choose only one… the computer, no doubt. I also love the pencil, I don’t want you to get mad, dear pencil!

What advice do you have for designers looking to create an online portfolio of their work?

Showing what they do ASAP. You never know who will see your work, and you can’t imagine the opportunities you can find online. If you do something you love, show it! And above all, choose a medium such as Squarespace, which displays the creations of the best way. And one last tip: choose carefully what to show.


When approaching a design project for a client, what is your process?

First of all, I thank the client for thinking of me for a project. After, we specify what will happen in the creative process, which always adapts itself to the needs of the work. Once it is clear what to do, I discuss my rates and, if we reach an agreement, we started working. In the ‘About’ section of my website I have included opinions of customers and designers, I think it’s important for someone looking for an illustrator or designer, to know the opinion that real people of the sector have of me. So, the process is the following:

– Know the needs of the client.
– Determine the creative process from the first sketch to the final result.
– Reach an agreement with pricing, legal terms, rights, deadlines.
– Work hard until you’ve fully satisfied the client! Sometimes this isn’t an easy task.



What project is/was your favorite and why?

I don’t have a preferred project. With each project, you grow in the profession; with each client you learn. Every time I receive a new inquiry, I take it as a great opportunity to return to the client the trust that it placed in me.

What’s on your playlist?

Music is a important part of my life. In fact, I have a speaker on my desk, so I’m always listening music. It helps me to focus on the creative process and keep my mind clean and comfy. I listen to many kinds of music, right now I am listening to Devonté Hynes, Iggy Azalea, Drake, Lenny Kravitz, RHCP, Maroon 5, Babasónicos, Lana del Rey…


How important is your portfolio and online presence?

It is vital, absolutely necessary. I live in a village of only 2500 inhabitants, there is no possibility to do things by word of mouth. It also happens that in my land, there is still no great aesthetic sensibility, in terms of graphic design. 99% of my clients are from abroad. If you do not have online presence, no one would see what you do, so … it would be impossible.

Thanks, Miguel!

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Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.