I first met E. Michael Mitchell when I arrived in the Character Animation program at Cal Arts in 2005.
Mike was one of the first people to show me how advanced someone could take drawing.
Mike became my friend and mentor from then on. Showing me the importance of fusing observation and imagination while you draw.
Here are a few interesting things about Mike:
- When he was a teenager he left Canada to join the Royal Air Force in Great Britain. After the war. Mike and another fellow he flew across the UK and Canada heralded as war heroes. Yet Mike expressed extreme regret over this.
- Mike is the cover artist for J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger wrote parts of Catcher in the Rye in the small guest house behind Mike’s house. At the end of each day, Salinger would share with Mike what he had written. Mike is the inspiration for the short story, De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period.
- Mike developed and sold a the film idea, Ferngully. Using only his vivid pastel drawings he developed the entire idea with just visuals, no words. Unfortunately, the film didn’t live up to Mike’s original vision of the story.
- Mike worked as a production designer in the animation industry for many years.
Over the years, I’ve collected digital photos of Mike’s work from his other students. Please enjoy this collection of his drawings.
I hope they’ll continue to inspire and teach other artists who want to take their drawings beyond. There will never be an artist or teacher who’ll ever take his place at CalArts.
Mike was always working on personal projects. Here is a random collection from a variety of different projects.
Portraits of E. Michael Mitchell
E. Michael Mitchell, young and old.
Often working as an illustrator and art director for the publishing industry in New York. Here are a few of his published illustrations.
Every Sunday I send out my best wildlife sketches and travel stories
Access this 2 minute, behind-the-scenes speed drawing video when you join my weekly newsletter.