Mike was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1977, six months before the release of the original Star Wars movie. He started out as no different to any other kid: more likely to be found whizzing around or watching He-Man than spending every every waking moment scribbling with crayons. It was when he was seven or eight that Mike realised he had a strong knack for observational drawing, and an uncanny ability to capture likenesses. By the time he was done with school a few years later, it was apparent that a career as an artist was beckoning.
After a brief flirtation with graphic design, Mike first became excited about caricature in the late nineties. He had always had a passing interest in the artform from seeing street artists as a kid, but this escalated when he discovered the work of Mad Magazine’s Tom Richmond for the first time.
Tom was (and is) a phenomenal illustrator and caricaturist, and it blew Mike's mind that someone could actually make a living creating this kind of art. As a direct result he began sketching celebrities in his free time, which landed him a regular slot cartooning for the student newspaper. After managing to assemble a rudimentary portfolio, Mike was commissioned to create caricature illustrations for UK film magazine ‘Flicks', and his career was underway.
However, like many caricaturists Mike's true education came about by working at a theme park: he began drawing caricatures at Alton Towers Resort in spring 2002, undertaking four consecutive seasons before moving on in late 2005. He will always look to this period as invaluable, both allowing him to develop the elusive eye for caricature, and get comfortable drawing in front of an audience. It’s also no exaggeration (ha!) to say that Mike was completely lousy at first, and felt frustrated with his efforts for a long time; especially since every tiny mistake (which actually felt HUGE to him) was being scrutinised by a fascinated crowd hanging on his every penstroke. In fact, you’d be surprised just how close he came to jacking it all in around that time.
However a couple of thousand faces in, something clicked and an unexpected thing happened: Mike began to allow each person's unique features and individuality dictate how the likeness unfolded, and in doing so the whole process became extremely enjoyable and fun. Clearly, it was infectious: the crowd began to have a blast too. And for the first time, Mike thought there might be a future in this caricature lark after all. Shortly afterwards, he scooped 1st place for 'Best Likenesses' with the International Society of Caricature Artists (ISCA), a true indicator of how far he had come in a relatively short space of time.
Since those formative years Mike has worked continuously as a freelance caricature artist and illustrator, undertaking live caricature bookings at hundreds of weddings, events and venues worldwide, and creating humorous studio illustration for a wide range of clients and applications. He was also hand-picked to design nearly 100 celebrity characters for ‘Newzoids’, the satirical puppet show which aired on primetime UK TV in 2015/16.
Mike is husband to The Lovely Lynsey, and devoted dad to Tom and Joe, his two little smashers. In his free time he enjoys the odd nip of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, listening to a wide variety of music, and has an unhealthy obsession with all things 1980s.