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Mike S
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A look behind the curtains

December 4, 2015 · in Uncategorized · · 13 · 1.4K

When I'm not building, I'm paying the bills at my chosen vocation as a commercial artist. Featured is the box top art commissioned by the Model company. This illustration was created back in the 80's and the medium is Designer's Gouache, a form of egg tempera. Gouache is extremely unstable it dries darker than you think so one has to adjust accordingly. Neither can this paint be worked over, it has the tendency to streak while always mindful of the oils from your hand as it will leave smudge spots on the art too.

Over the years I've created artwork for most fortune five hundred companies and even had my work appear on the Opra Winfrey television show. These days with the loss of many magazines and newspapers outlets there isn't much call for this type of illustration. For the most part I stay busy enough drawing story boards for TV commercials.

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13 responses

  1. Dude that is so cool! I was and still am, (Revell be Damned) A Monogram kid, loved the kits, loved the box art. Much respect to you man!

    • Thanks Rob(!) and go Navy, my dad was in the Navy (WW2 Pacific/Norfolk ship building yard and Pensacola ), machinist first class on the aircraft carrier USS Randolph also a crewman on PBY's out of Florida. I rarely got work like this so it was a labor of love. I also did some side art for another box but can find it...I will tell you this when I went to Monogram to pick up the assignment a lot of the box top art was framed on the walls and it was amazing! One of the artist that did work for them was also a famous cartoonist for the ChicagoTribune, man was his work outstanding his name was Dick Locher (

  2. So YOU'RE the one...I HAD that kit (and many others). Nice work there, Mike.

  3. Mike, it would be nice to see a selection of your work in a sequence sometime. It would be a popular Headlines feature, I'm sure.

  4. Very nice Mike, always appreciate anyone who has enough talent to create realistic illustrations. For me stick figures is about the extent of my drawing capabilities. Always wondered who does the box art for models, in house staff or commissioned people. I suppose there's a book somewhere that covers the art associated with model box tops, could be an interesting read.

    • Thank you Tom(!), for the most part I believe the art was done by freelancers. When I picked up my assignments from Monogram I did get the chance to see some of the artwork of other great illustrators as it graced the walls of their offices. What a thrill indeed to see the actual work that I grew up building kits with my dad! One of the box top illustrators that greatly influenced me whom incidentally was also a famous political cartoonist, Dick Locher (Chicago Suntimes). As to your comment regarding a book of box top art, yes there is and here's a link ( It also features the art of the aforementioned artist.

  5. Fun! Thanks for the glimpse into your past!

  6. like to swop jobs?

    If only I had your skills! Interesting insight though and thank you for sharing.

    • You do indeed have a tough job. Truth be told I hate my job. ...The hours are long and a lot of pressure. Those box covers are rare project as they come along once and a great while...Most assignments bore me to death. ..

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