Southern Californian illustrator, Danny Miller, won our second illustration competition in March with his amazing Chuck Berry entry which was featured in our sixteenth issue and will be displayed at our winners exhibition later this year. We caught up with Danny to find out what inspires him and what we can expect from him in the near future…
I was born in December, and the doctors sent me home wrapped in a Christmas stocking. My mom loves that little detail and brings it up every year on my birthday, so it seems like a good place to start. I live in Southern California where I spend my time drawing and listening to music. Those fundamentals have always been true, and I can’t imagine them changing.
How do you go about starting a piece of work? Does it start as a pencil drawing? What is your process?
I like to start on paper, using ink and a brush so I can’t overthink things. Then I scan the drawing into Photoshop and drive myself bananas overthinking things.
How do you want people to feel when they see your work?
Like little kids. Like the world is an enormous, exotic, funny and confusing place where anything might happen.
What things around you inspire you?
The birds in my neighborhood. They’re all glorious without exception. We have wild green parrots in California. They’re an invasive species that supposedly escaped from a pet store in the 1950s. I love them. They fly around in large numbers and are so beautiful but make the most ungodly screeching sound. It makes my life so much better knowing those parrots are out there raising hell like a misfit biker gang. Some cities around here have the same problem with wild peacocks.
Do you have a favourite project or piece of your own work?
I couldn’t choose a single piece! When I think about my drawings, I feel like I have 100,000 children who never amounted to anything but I love them all anyway.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in an art duo called Dog Knit Sweater with a great artist named Daisy Rosas. We’re currently working on a picture book called “The Pleasant Bugs.” We’ve been working like devils on it, and I hope we finish soon because it’s the big projects people remember you for.
Tell us a bit about your winning entry to our illustration competition… Why Chuck Berry?
Chuck is punk! His songs are direct and fun. I tried to keep the drawing immediate like his music.
Once I tried to illustrate Five Years by Bowie in one big scene like a Breughel painting, but I got too uptight about it, and the drawing never came together. I should’ve been more Chuck Berry about it!
Finally, what can we expect to see from you in the near future?
“The Pleasant Bugs” and a big accordion-fold book about Noah’s Ark I’ve been dreaming of. Each page would move through a section of the ark crammed full with happy animals. When you finally get to the front of the boat, you see Noah being eaten alive by a hungry bear.
Danny Miller won our Issue Sixteen Illustration Competition, our Issue Seventeen Competition is now open! ENTER HERE