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Mike Moran

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Mike Moran is a children's picture book illustrator, illustrator, character designer, artist, writer and educator. His work has been used by major book publishers, magazines, newspapers, animation, toy packaging design, greeting cards, apps and many more. Gallery work has included group shows and solo shows from New Jersey, New York City to Los Angeles. His work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles and Society of Published Designers.

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Q: What town do you live in? Where is your studio/place of work?
A: Florham Park

Q: What kind of art do you create/what do you do in the arts?
A: I’m a children's picture book illustrator.

Q: What is your art background/education/

A: County College of Morris and BFA from The School of Visual Arts.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A children’s book for Sleeping Bear Press “Do Not Eat This Book” By Beth Kander. Also working on an educational book along with writing and illustrating my own children’s picture book.

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Q: Has your practice changed over time? Why/How?
A: Totally! Traditional art to digital art. Using the internet for promotion and delivering final artwork. Gone are the days of directory source books. No more using FedEx or faxing for sending sketches, receiving layouts and art specs from an art director.

Q: How do you balance your time in the studio/in the workplace with other commitments?
A: Illustration is my full time job. There are times when I have deadlines and need to work longer hours and weekends. You just have to do it, that’s the business. For personal work I like to draw on my ipad at night watching TV or when work is slow or on the weekends.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the arts? Least favorite?
A: Just doing something I love. It also makes me feel good knowing I make children and adults smile and laugh from my work. 

Least favorite part is waiting to get paid and dealing with the business side. Luckily I have an agent that does that for me.


Q: What inspires you? Who are your favorite artists/ artwork? Favorite museum/ gallery (outside of Morris County
A: Inspiration. Music, old saturday morning cartoons, children’s books, old monster movies. My favorite artist’s are NJ’s own Charles Addams, Sempe´, Wayne White, Leo Espinosa, Edward Gorey, Mary Blair, Golden Books illustrators. 

I’m a big fan of the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst MA, The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA and love visiting Brandywine in Chadds Ford PA.

Q: How do you stay connected and up to date with the art world?
A: The internet , social media. I’m always looking at old and new children's books.

Q: What memorable responses have you had to your work? 
A: It’s always warming when a child laughs and smiles when looking at a book I have illustrated. That’s the best. I also like when adults say work reminds them of 60’s Saturday morning cartoons they watched as a kid.

Q: What are a few of your big artistic career goals? What is your dream project?
A: I have achieved many goals already working with very cool clients such as Major League Baseball, Disney Animation, the Grammys, major book publishers like Simon and Schuster. Awards include the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles. I just did my first vinyl record art too! I  have to say I’m pretty content.  As for a dream project… I would LOVE to illustrate a Paul McCartney children’s book!

Q: When you are working through problems in your arts practice, who do you talk to? What is the best piece of advice you've been given? What advice do you have to give other artists?
A: I’m pretty lucky there are a bunch of folks I can bounce things off of. My wife and boys are good ones to go to. My one son is a graphic designer in the marketing department of a book publisher. He is a good one for font recommendations, design suggestions and photoshop issues. I also have a good group of illustrator and artist friends I can always check in with.

My advice? Do the art you love to do. It will show in your work. Plus just have fun… it’s art.

Q: Do you have any exhibitions/events/performances coming up? Where can people see your work? 
A: I did the illustrations for a vinyl record that I’m really proud of. The record is called “Falloween” by Grammy Award/CMA/ AMC singer songwriter Don Henry. Don’s songs have been recorded by Ray Charles, Blake Sheldon, Miranda Lambert and many more.  In the fall 2023 I will be going on tour with Don as he performs the entire record live. As he sings the song I will be drawing out each song in real time on my iPad in Procreate that will be projected on a screen.  It’s a really fun multimedia show. We plan on some in Morris County shows! Keep an eye out for us at                                               
My illustration website is

My agent:


Lightning Round

Q: What was the weirdest/worst “survival” job you ever had?

A: I worked at a liquor store putting my way through college and the start of my illustration career. 

Q: What is the perfect food?

A: Thanksgiving dinner.

Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: A cartoonist and outfielder for the NY Mets. 

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: Not really sure.

Q: Are you an early bird or night owl?

A: Early.

Q: What place would you like to visit?

A: I would like to go back to London and cross Abbey Road, which I didn’t do the first time I was there! 

Q: What superpower would you have and why?

A: Fly… then go visit Abbey Road.

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