How to find your own voice and succeed as an illustrator, with Magoz

May past decisions not make you a slave to your future. That does not imply being a weather vane and thinking something different every day, but time does that: time changes us, our interests evolve.

If we get too connected to what one day we wanted to be, we will be slaves all our lives.

— Magoz

magoz (@magoz) is a conceptual illustrator from Vilanova (Barcelona) who has worked for international newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Wired Magazine and the Financial Post.

In addition to illustrating, Magoz, whose real name is Michael Punzano (Mike to friends), is a programmer, blogger, lecturer and animator, and has also spent several years traveling the world as a digital nomad.

For me, Mike is not only a brilliant artist, but above all else he is a spectacular person, with a good heart and very clear ideas and principles that have led him to where he is, and you will be able to see it in this interview that I have done and that I have decided to divide into 2 parts.

In the first part (episode #18), Mike and I cover his entire career, from his beginnings as a graffiti artist and his traveling days, to his current life in Malmö, Sweden, and we talk about topics as interesting as…

  • Where does the pseudonym Magoz with which Mike signs all his works come from?
  • What Mike did to find his voice and develop his own style as an illustrator
  • What was the strategy that Mike followed to get his first international clients?
  • Why Mike decided to leave everything and go traveling the world with a backpack
  • Or what it was that led Mike to abandon the nomadic life and settle with his girlfriend in the south of Sweden

In the second part (episode #19), Mike and I talk about a lot of different topics, including how to approach your professional career if you are an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer or similar, and we touch on such interesting topics as…

  • How to find your own voice as an artist and why it’s so important
  • What you should keep in mind when creating your first portfolio
  • What is the best strategy to get clients in the art world
  • How to charge a fair price for your illustrations or drawings
  • What is the strategy that Mike followed to learn to program on his own, and that he continues to use today every time he has to learn a new skill

Of all the interviews I’ve recorded, this is one of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, because it’s very philosophical and full of super powerful ideas, so I think you’re going to love it.

But well, I prefer not to anticipate anything so as not to spoil your surprise, so without further ado, I’ll leave you with the great Mike Punzano “Magoz”.

listen in itunes | iVoox | Spotify

listen in itunes | iVoox | Spotify

Episode #18 Links

Where to find Mike:

Mentioned in the episode:

Mentioned people:

Quick index of episode #18

0:52– Presentation of the guest

2:44 – Start of the interview

2:44 – How I Met Mike

5:05 Why is his name Michael?

7:58 – At the age of 14 he began to paint graffiti. What was it that drew her to graffiti and what kind of graffiti did she paint?

11:50 – How did you come up with the name Magoz and what does that word mean?

15:16 – How to make a graffiti in broad strokes and how long it takes to make a mural

7:45 p.m. – How did becoming a freelance graffiti artist come about when you were 16 years old and how did your potential clients find you?

25:02 – What was your first payment order at that time and what is the charge for graffiti?

28:10 – What did your parents think of you doing graffiti?

29:56 – How was Mike a student and how he combined going to a religious school and getting very good grades with the rebelliousness inherent in graffiti

35:23 – When he finished high school, he enrolled in an illustration school. Why she decided to take this path and not go to university and how was his experience at this school

38:40 – What is illustration and what is the difference between drawing and illustration

40:33 – In 2009 he left illustration school and decided to create a free illustration magazine called Pandemia Fanzine with a couple of friends. Why did he make this decision, what did he hope to achieve with this magazine and how was it received?

46:23 – What do you think was the key for the Pandemia Fanzine team to remain united all the time, how they were organized and how important decision-making worked

52:07 – Pandemic Fanzine not only did not generate income but also had expenses. What did Mike and his friends live on during those years?

1:02:25 – What was the most important thing that the stage of Pandemic Fanzine brought to your life and career?

1:05:12 – How do you define your voice?

1:07:31 – In November 2012 they decided to terminate Pandemia Fanzine and in May 2013 they started Crean. What was this new project about and why did they make this decision?

1:10:37 – How was Crean received?

1:14:16 – In parallel with Crean, they decided to launch into the job market. In Mike’s case, what made him realize that he was ready to start working as an illustrator?

1:18:55 – What was the strategy you followed to start working as an illustrator?

1:23:42 – As a result of the e-mails that I send to start working, an agency from Canada that represents illustrators internationally responded. How these agencies work and how did it go with them

1:30:47 – What were your first commissions, how did you feel and how did they turn out?

1:33:51 – For a while, Mike and his friends combine their professional careers, until they decide to close Crean. What made you make that decision?

1:36:57 – A month before closing, Crean gave up everything to move to England: he left his girlfriend of 5 years, sold his van, gave away your spray paint and went to Bristol with a backpack. why did he do this

1:40:05 – Why he decided to leave his girlfriend and sell his things when he went to Bristol

1:47:29 – How his parents, his friends and his girlfriend took the decision to go to Bristol

1:48:43 – How did it go in Bristol?

1:50:48 – How was your day to day in Bristol

1:52:37 – How he met his girlfriend Elina

1:56:10 – Life rewards you, but to find what you want, you have to enter the right place, you have to enter the right path

1:58:03 – Did the months in Bristol help you get unstuck and grow on a personal level?

2:00:39 – Where did he go after Bristol

2:02:06 – How he organized himself to travel and work at the same time

2:10:18 – How his girlfriend traveled as a musician

2:13:33 Why did you decide to start a blog?

2:17:39 – Anecdotes during your trip

2:26:54 – What an impact the year spent backpacking Asia had on Mike

2:32:00 – In the summer of 2016 Mike and his girlfriend decided to settle in Madrid. Why they decided that the time had come to leave the nomadic life

2:41:26 – In Madrid he started making animations; how did this come about and what is it that draws your attention from animation to get into it

2:47:57 – How to create an animation

2:55:14 – In 2018 Mike and his girlfriend decide to settle in Malmö, a city in southern Sweden. Why Sweden and why Malmö

2:58:14 – How your lifestyle has changed since you settled in Sweden

3:03:29 – What do you currently do

3:06:55 – What a typical day in the life of Mike looks like

3:11:47 – Are you happy with your life right now?

Episode #19 Links

Where to find Mike:

Mentioned in the episode:

Mentioned people:

Mentioned books:

Quick index of episode #19

0:47– Presentation of the guest

2:28 – Start of the interview

2:28 – What would you recommend to a person who is finishing high school and wants to make a living painting?

11:05 – How to know how to train, with whom to train and where to train

16:28 – How one’s own voice develops, without falling into being a copy of another

23:36 – How do you know when it is time to jump into the job market and start earning money?

30:24 – How to design a good portfolio

33:41 – Tools that he recommends to create a good portfolio

35:18 – What structure should a portfolio have?

37:51 – If you are a graphic designer, should you make a more elaborate resume or should I keep it simple?

43:36 – Once you have the portfolio prepared, what process do you recommend following to start promoting yourself and getting your first job?

46:54 – What are the key figures of a company that you recommend contacting

52:39 – In the world of illustration, what must be done so that a client is very satisfied with you

57:27 – How to put the right price on art

1:06:32 – Is it possible to earn a good living working only with Spanish clients or do you recommend looking for international clients as soon as possible?

1:10:54 – What is the process from when you receive an order until you are paid

1:14:23 – How are you selling your illustrations online and in which cases do you recommend creating an online platform to sell them?

1:21:21 – Pages that allow you to manage stock and shipments

1:22:41 – How piracy is controlled

1:26:06 – How do you see the current illustration market?

1:30:24 – Is there any discipline that is in high demand right now?

1:33:04 – When and how did you learn programming and web design?

1:35:06 – What process do you follow when you want to learn something from scratch?

1:38:12 – About your Illustration Tools project

1:44:54 – What tools (software and hardware) you use to do your job

1:50:24 – When did you become vegan and why?

1:53:00 – Of all the books you have read, which have been the 3 that have marked you the most?

1:59:40 – What plans do you have for the future?

2:04:46 – Where to find Mike

(2 ratings, mean: 4.5)






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