What you are about to read is an excerpt of Urban-Muse Magazine Issue #1, currently available as part of $5 pledge on Patreon.com. Over the next week we will gradually be releasing all 20 interviews on the blog. If you want to read all the features, see the specific layouts/images chosen, read additional articles that will not be on the blog, view the images in High Res Lossless Quality, and support the project ensuring future issues can be made. Please consider supporting the Urban-Muse Magazine Patreon here:
Mel Milton is special. Mel is the kind of artist that typifies the best things you can find in the character of an artist, he has a strong work ethic and is one of the most consistent producers of art on the internet and social media in general. Generally, you see something new from Mel on a daily to semi-daily basis. Most high-level artists that I’ve talked to always say the same thing, they always find some time out of every day to devote to drawing or art, the difference being most don’t post their daily sketches for the world to see. The reason for this is also common, every artist, however, high their skill is usually isn’t 100% happy with their work, there’s a famous story that based on x-rays of the Mona Lisa you can see many different versions, iterations, and minor to major changes to the painting over a 17 year period. So if Da Vinci himself was never satisfied how can mere mortals like us ever hope to be? The answer is, We can’t. We just have to always keep producing, until the day we die, and hope that every piece is a little better than the last. It’s a life long struggle.
Mel Milton is one of the most positive people you will ever meet, If you look at his Facebook profile you see hundreds of photos of him with friends, other artists, and people he admires, and he usually always has the same ECSTATIC grin on his face, that grin is infectious and you can’t help but smile when you see it. Mel’s visual styling has a very refined and seemingly effortless flow to it, and if you look at his work today immediately you can tell it’s at some of the highest level for that style of art. You might even say the name “Disney/Animation” when describing his work, so it should come as no surprise he spent 5 years working for Disney Interactive where he refined his craft. Mel Milton is also a Father and a Husband, one gets the sense that he’s the kind of guy who will take greater pride in pleasure in the way he has raised his Daughter, than anything he has accomplished in his Artistic/Professional career. Husband/Father First, Artist second.
In the interview that follows Mel is often very critical of himself and what he says are his many failures and shortcomings. But from our perspective, if his failures are akin in size to the things he dislikes about his own art, enough to refer to them as excrement, those failures are probably fairly minute in the grand scheme of things. Mel seems like the kind of guy you would want as a friend, the kind of guy who would bend over backward to help a friend in need. It’s been my experience that people like that are often the people that need people to do the same for them at times. So Urban-Muse prides itself on considering Mel Milton a friend and someone we support wholeheartedly. No matter what happens, Mel always keeps his head up and keeps the positivity going. Mel’s departing tagline is always “Keep on Keeping’ On!” So we say, Keep on Mel, Keep on.
Mel Milton’s Self-Portrait
Urban-Muse.com: You’re an American Artist living in Orem Utah, but it says you are originally from California. Believe it or not in this issue of 20 artist profiles only 3 are from the United States, and most of Urban-Muse’s Facebook fanbase is from outside the United States as well. What can you tell our readers about what it’s like to be an Artist in 2017 in Utah, USA?
Mel Milton: Originally I’m from the Philippines (California is mainly where I grew up and where my heart still resides) Still amazed to be featured on Urban Muse (a huge highlight for me!) To be a part of this is quite humbling.
Utah has some of the most talented artists around and one of the many reasons why I push myself so much. When I decided to truly pursue a career as a professional artist, to my surprise many lived close to me. There’s such a diversity too, from feature films, children’s books and fine artist illustrators and the area that I ended up in video games. Utah has been good to me.
Urban-Muse.com: On your Facebook profile you list yourself as a “Professional Hobbyist,” yet you are easily one of the top favorite artists in the History on Urban-Muse, every time there’s a Mel Milton post it’s nearly always guaranteed to be a hit. If Art is your hobby what are you doing for your day job?
Mel Milton: For the past 4 years I have been full-time father. Toughest job I’ve ever had! Hahaha. When I left the workforce to watch my daughter grow up, I noticed I was going through the motions of art like it was “work.” I wanted to get back to why I wanted to be an artist in the first place. The enjoyment of doing it. Drawing has always been my outlet. It has been a great way to better understand myself not only as an artist but as a person. I’m grateful to my wife for being so supportive and always nurturing my creative side.
Urban-Muse.com: In the past, it says you used to work for Disney. For many people (myself included) working for Disney is a dream job. What can you tell us about your time there?
Mel Milton: I was at Disney Interactive for 5 years as an animator and took me 5 years to get there from when I started to try to become “professional.” I would have never thought I would ever be in the industry as I started so late (30) and was self-taught. (Highschool Dropout) It was a great place for me to really learn, hands on (by working) next to some really talented people helped me improve quickly. I always wanted to be an animator. 2d especially. Which is why I draw so much. The studio life was fun but when I became a father at 40 it wasn’t what I wanted anymore and it lost a lot of the sparkle. I miss the people and the times I had there but know that the best is yet to come.
Urban-Muse.com: You often call your sketches “dooks,” even named one of your books that, why is that? I once told you I didn’t like that name because to me it had negative connotations.
Mel Milton: One of my favorite questions! I never thought there would be people asking about it to tell you the truth. Dook is short for “dookie” which means poop or crap. I know people who go “ I can’t draw a stick figure so why would you call your work crap?!” As long as I’ve been doing it, I’ve learned that I will never be happy with how any of my work turns out. There will be happy moments, and I’ll find success here and there, but my work will never live up to what I have in my head. By being ok with it and remembering that it’s not the destination where I find the happiness of the work, but in the creating. I pour all my positivity into my work and am grateful to get the time to do it. I see that mistakes are actually the best part of my work as it shows me how to get closer to what’s in my head. By embracing this mindset, it has allowed me to push past some of the self-defeating thoughts that kept me from being an artist all those years. I understand when someone finds enjoyment in my work, but if I could show them how I “feel” when I create them, then they would better understand the contrast between the art and the finished piece and why I call them dooks. I also understand that people take it more negative than I mean for it to be. So I end every post with a “keep on keepin’ on” to end on a positive note and to remind myself every time I get the chance to “DO” art is a gift and a blessing to myself.
Urban-Muse.com: Speaking of negativity, what do you do when you encounter overly negative people online, who only seem to want to try and tear you down? What would be your advice to our readers when dealing with folks like that?
Mel Milton: It’s funny but I really haven’t dealt with a lot of negativity. I’ve had people tell me things are wrong in my images. And I tell them, they are correct there’s always something wrong in my art. I don’t do them to show the world they are perfect. If I thought they were perfect, I’d probably not post as much, heheh. I know when I first started out I took the crits differently, as I (like most) was overly insecure. Hard to take them especially (hard) when you are so tough on yourself in the first place. When I defined who I wanted to become as an artist, it helped me see if the info in a crit was relevant or not to what I wanted to accomplish as an artist. Anyone can judge the art. I have to understand and be comfortable with me first. I know I’m not the best at what I do, but I am confident that my art is serving the purpose I want it to serve, and I create from that place. And that place is always positive.
Urban-Muse.com: You’re a Family man, actually as far as I know the only one of the 20 profiled for this issue, you always seem to have a smile on your face and an overwhelmingly positive attitude. That feeling I think is kind of imbued into all of your works and provide them with that intangible warmth that makes them so popular. What can you tell us about your home life, how you find time to create your “dooks” and your life in general?
Mel Milton: I’m a mess! Like my art, I know that I know, nothing. I fail a lot as a parent / husband and human. But that’s ok because I know that if I spend time improving to be something better that everything will be alright. I’m not ashamed to say I suck at something! I suck at soooooo many things! Understanding that a bad drawing is like a bad day, has been a great lesson for me. I can’t improve if I don’t have somewhere or something to improve upon. So I have to enjoy where I am because I know I’ll be something better or stronger because of it. How could I not be happy with that?
Urban-Muse.com: What would be your advice to an Artist who wants to improve their work?
Mel Milton: Don’t rush into becoming that “improved person.” Pour over the detail of where you are now. How you feel and why. If you feel miserable it’s ok because when you’re not miserable it’s comparing the two that gives you the meaning. Know that if you want to improve, that that is a positive thing. Wanting better for yourself shows how much you truly love yourself. Everyone deserves that kinda love. No one who is successful talks about where they are, but more from what it took them to get there. Create from that place and you are guaranteed to improve.
Urban-Muse.com: What would you say is your favorite piece of yours? Your most popular?
Mel Milton: There was that purple haired girl in the sun. That one was one of my most popular. I think people can read the feeling I get from art easiest from that one. My favorite piece is yet to come… why I keep on keepin on!
Urban-Muse.com: What are your plans for the future? You alluded that there might be another book on the horizon. Anything else?
Mel Milton: Dooks Vol. 2 is in the making and I may set up and online store. Now that my daughter is in kindergarten I hope to figure out how to make a living doing what I love, but for now, I enjoy where I am. Thank you for being apart of my journey. Keep on keepin’ on!
You can follow Mel’s work here: