Mike

Jacobsen

My name is Mike Jacobsen. I live in Canberra, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever do a political cartoon.

I think of myself as a perpetual man-child with nerd-like leanings who was put on this planet to share my left-handed drawings with a global community of like-minded nerds.

I make humorous illustrations for clients and cartoons for myself under the name See Mike Draw.

I’ve always loved working with brands that are looking to use humour in their marketing. It’s such an effective way of creating personality. I think something like this, tapping into the zeitgeist, would work nicely on the social channels of a company like Starbucks or Coke.

What interests me most about humour is how it's such a universal language. I've seen my cartoons translated into many languages, and I'm constantly surprised by who's out there appreciating gags that began as scribbles in my sketchbook. Sometimes it’s the very people who inspired those scribbles!

My work is all about being playful, looking at situations from an unexpected perspective, and engaging people through humour.

One of the most formative experiences of my career was being commissioned by 20th Century Fox Animation to create a show based on a webcomic that my friend and I had created. Talk about being thrown in the deep end—it was a massive and rather overwhelming project, requiring concept art, script writing, assets for animation, and numerous pitches all the way up to Fox's head of comedy in Los Angeles. It was a real eye-opener to see how things worked in such a competitive and high-profile industry. I learnt a lot about time management, hard work, having confidence in my ideas, and in the end, how to take rejection.

Here’s a recent storyboard I created for the Bank of Melbourne. I loved bringing this guy to life in my style and working out the actions

Not long ago I worked on a children's book for Lonely Planet. It was a unique opportunity to have my target audience (my little guy) sitting right there next to me providing feedback. But despite his insistence, I chose not to add lasers to absolutely everything.

One of my all-time favourite projects was the artwork I created for a promotional video for Dicker Data. I was like a kid in a candy store when I was looking at the brief, which called for a funny Matrix-inspired animation to promote their software solutions. It was such a creative and playful way to promote what might otherwise be a really dry subject. Sadly that one never ended up seeing the light of day!

I really loved working with Clemenger BBDO Melbourne on the Snickers Hungerithm campaign. It was a brilliant campaign, using the ‘mood’ of the internet to determine the price of Snickers bars—the angrier the internet, the cheaper the Snickers. I’ll always remember the deep connection I made with the attendant at 7-Eleven thanks to my numerous visits for cheap chocolate.

One of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done was an illustration I created for Camp Quality. I was able to help a cause that meant a lot to me, having a friend going through treatment at that very time.

When I wake up each day, I slowly and carefully navigate the minefield of creaky floorboards up the hallway to my studio, trying not to wake the kids. Early morning is the best time for me to work on ideas, when my mind is the clearest. Unfortunately, fifty percent of the time, the floorboards let me down. My studio is always filled with music, nerdy toys, children (attracted by nerdy toys), and glorious natural light (except at night and during solar eclipses).

Lately in my personal work I’ve been experimenting with digital sketching on my iPad Pro and absolutely loving the flexibility it gives me. I'll never fully give up my sketchbooks because I love the tactile feel, but I think sketching in Procreate will certainly streamline my concept work for commercial projects.

Here are some pages from my sketchbook. I love scribbling down any idea, no matter how poorly formed, before it slips from my goldfish memory. I'll often pore over my sketchbooks and find potential in ideas that I'd previously given up on. And yes, I know it looks like I draw these with my foot … whilst blindfolded … but the goal is just getting it down on paper. Interestingly, I usually find these rudimentary scribbles much more amusing than the finished product.

People are often surprised to learn that all of my work ends up as vector artwork in Illustrator. Even my more organic, hand-drawn illustrations are converted to vector after being inked. Illustrator is my program of choice and I appreciate the infinite scalability and editability it allows. Depending on the complexity of the project, I’ll sometimes go straight to Illustrator to work on concepts as it’s quicker for me and also streamlines the approval process.

That’s me! If you want more, check out my full folio and Instagram. Got a brief? Contact me and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.