I’ve been drawing since I was 10 or 11, and my love for it goes way back. I’ve always loved to play with pencil and paper at an early age, so pencil art has always been a dream of mine. As a kid, I would draw characters and landscapes and everything. I would put pencil down for 10 or 15 minutes to write my characters or to draw landscapes. At first I wouldn’t use my left hand, I would just draw with it, drawing pictures or landscapes. I actually loved to draw that way. I don’t think drawing pictures is always the best way to express yourself in a work of art. You need to have more freedom and create a better artwork, not just try and draw something as good as you can with a pencil. But when I was a kid, there was a period of time when I was drawn to drawing art by hand, so I think when I got older I would use that opportunity to learn how to use a pencil properly.
What draws people to your artwork?
I think people like the realism of it. People like that the style of drawing. And I think it’s funny how artists and other artists see things differently. I had a little show in Chicago back in the ’90s called “The Paintings of Mike McCleary.” What drew people to it was the fact that it was like an amateur show and everyone else in the room was working. What drew me to it was when I saw how hard they worked at painting and drew things. It also appealed to me because I just love drawing. I can draw pretty much any subject that comes to mind, including a lot of comic books. I’ll do anything for any amount of money… If it’s something I’m really into, then it will end up in my art.
Doing all of this in front of a crowd is a challenge. How do you cope with that?
It is a challenge, and sometimes what I end up doing on a day to day basis is I’ll be doing a project over a weekend on a Saturday and then going to a concert on a Sunday. I’ll just turn it in over the weekend and have a bunch put together for the show the following weekend. The show we were doing at the time in Dallas wasn’t very large for two years or so, so when I was doing it every weekend I worked out a way of making it manageable. Also, when I started drawing a comic like Batman, I’ve gotten more used to
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