When I saw Mike Burroughs’ work on Instagram I had to contact him. His feed is full of his lively characters and creative process. His work is a modern interpretation of classic lettering styles. Mike took time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Lettering Guy.
1. Your name and title/business name?
I am a freelance hand lettering artist and go by my own name, Mike Burroughs.
2. Do you have a specialty or special style that makes you relatively unique? If so, what?
I specialize in branding, but also love making lettering for t-shirt designs, posters, and other misc. projects. It’s difficult for me to say I have a definitive style because I like to keep a certain variety in my work. However, I am drawn to working with scripts because I love the challenge of creating smooth interactions between the letters. A huge inspiration for me is the work of Doyald Young. He was a lettering master and was able to perfect an extensive range of styles.
3. What’s your educational background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?
I graduated from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York in May 2014 with a BFA in Graphic Design. I started heavily practicing hand lettering after graduating and have been doing it ever since then. Lettering has mainly been a self-taught skill, but I have taken a couple lettering workshops with Ken Barber of House Industries at Cooper Union in NYC.
4. Preferred tool(s) and medium?
I prefer using plain old pencil and ink. My go-to tool is a Mars Staedtler 2mm lead holder. It is super comfortable in my hand and I can get a crazy sharp edge that’s more difficult to get with other mechanical or wooden pencils. About a year and a half ago, when I was just starting out, I was terrified of inking over any pencil drawings I made because my hand skills weren’t that good. Now I am much more comfortable with the process and allow myself to make mistakes. For the inking process, I prefer to use either Copic Multiliner pens or Micron pens.
5. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?
On a daily basis I am consuming podcasts (check out any podcast on the Seanwes network), online articles, and books about entrepreneurship, lettering, and self-improvement. I’ve become really absorbed in learning since graduating school. I usually get fueled with energy after listening to or reading motivational material.
6. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.
I guess something that most people don’t know about me is that I listen to a lot of death metal. My older brother got me into that type of music when I was growing up and it’s become my main outlet for stress. Needless to say, I never get the auxiliary cord on road trips.