Mike Moran Profile
posted: February 20, 2007
I haven't jumped a turnstile in years, but I revisited my criminal past the other day when I went out to New Jersey to interview Mike Moran, age 49. The dollar feeders on the PATH turnstiles weren't working, so it was either jump or give up and go home. I felt sure that Mike was worth risking a ticket from New York's Finest, and I was proved right.

"What I remember drawing when I was real little was the Flintstones;  I grew up in the 60's, so I was a Flintstones and Top Cat and Jetsons fan. And also a Bill Cosby TV show fan, and I remember I made my own Bill Cosby comic series; I called it Cool Cos. I remember in one I had Bill Cosby on a surf board and he had on a neckerchief, and then he fell in the water and the next thing you see, there's a shark on the top of the surf board, wearing the neckerchief.

"In high school, I used to sit and draw cartoons on the cafeteria table, in pencil. For the entire lunch I used to have a group of kids who would sit around and they would all watch me draw. And then when lunch was over, I'd have to erase it all. I guess everyone knew tthat being an artist is all I ever wanted to do.

"When I first started going to Visual Arts, I had a class with Julian Allen, and I thought I should be a painter, like him. But at the same time, I was taking a life drawing class with Bruce Waldman, and I loved his class and I took it over and over. I'd bring him my illustrations from Julian Allen's class, and he'd look at the paintings, and say, "Your life drawings are so much better than your illustrations; why don't you try making your illustrations like your life drawings?" So, he really got me to loosen up and find what works best for me.

"After graduation, I got a job at a liquor store, where I'd work from 9 in the morning till 10 at night, three days a week, and the rest of the time I'd draw and draw and draw, till I got a portfolio together. Around that time, I met Larry Ross, who kind of took me under his wing, and I met Jeff Moores, and I realized, "I should start doing cartoons again," and those guys kind of helped me out.

"You know, little by little, I started getting jobs and then I got enough that I quit the liquor store and went fully freelance. And I haven't had a job since.

"After a while, I sort of got into a rut, but when I went over to the computer, I fell in love again with drawing. I just love the computer: everything looks fresher and I love fooling around with the colors and textures now. It's just so much fun!

"What I'd love to do next is animation. I've got Flash, but every time I sit down and start to learn it, I suddenly get busy, and I have to stop. But I'd really like to find some time to focus on animation.

"It's great being an illustrator. It's a neat thing, to work out of the house and be home when my kids come home. And it's neat to see the influence my kids have from me. Our six-year-old, Matthew, he draws  a whole book everyday and staples it together; he's just always drawing and cutting things out and pasting them down. And our 13-year-old, Pat, he's really into music – he plays the drums – and the other day they had to write something in school about what they're thankful for, and he wrote that he was thankful for the creativity that I've given him.

"I feel really lucky."