British-born illustrator Michael Crampton studied illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He spent six years as the Executive Art Director at Neiman Marcus corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas, before moving to New York City to pursue his career as a freelance illustrator. He now lives in Connecticut with his wife and children, where he continues to create vibrant vintage-inspired illustrations with a bold, contemporary twist.
His extensive client list includes Coca Cola, American Express, Hasbro, Starbucks Coffee, U.S. Postal Service, Frito Lay, Blue Moon Brewery, Estee Lauder, GQ UK, Bloomingdales, and American Airlines, to name just a few.
Michael Crampton capture’s the beauty of Connecticut’s coast in his illustration for our 2020 Calendar’s August image displayed on the right.
Learn more about Michael Crampton with our recent Q&A:
Mendola: What inspired you to become a freelance illustrator?
Michael: I used to love looking and collecting illustrated movie posters and wanted to do the same. Tom Chantrell was a big name in British quad film posters that I was in awe of. I loved his painting technique, his brush marks.
Mendola: Describe your illustration style in three words.
Michael: Painterly, rich, colorful
Mendola: What has been your favorite illustration project?
Michael: My favorite illustration project was to illustrate a travel poster for the Caneel Bay Resort in the Virgin Islands, because it involved going there and making my own sketches at the beautiful luxury resort.
Another contender was illustrating a bunch of retro travel poster-like images for two Capital One ad campaigns.
Though I feel my greatest achievement with the biggest excitement was to have illustrate the US Open Tennis Theme art for 2012 and again for 2014. Seeing my art on banners, posters, cups, towels, program covers and all sorts of tchotchkes was extremely exciting. Going to the event was a spectacular treat.
Speaking of spectacular treats, I did an illustration for a Christmas gala invitation for the Clinton Administration. I got an actual invitation to the White House Christmas Gala, where we mingled with the President, First Lady and many other political figures at the time. It was a magical one-time event.
Mendola: What do you do to relax and recharge after an illustration project?
Michael: I like to bike ride or hike for recharging (all that sitting at the desk is very unhealthy). Having said that, a day relaxing at the beach is awesome. Even in winter a walk along the beach is a really great way to feel recharged or re-centered.
Mendola: What is your dream illustration project?
Michael: A dream illustration project would be not only in my newer painterly style, but also one that would be especially for a social or environmental cause. We are losing our focus on protecting lives, nature, and common decency. I would like to put my art to good use.
Mendola: You illustrate a lot of nature and wildlife scenes, where is your favorite place in nature to explore and why?
Michael: Though I still love doing the retro poster style, my art has evolved to painting nature and wildlife scenes. These days appreciating nature, protecting insects, birds, and all wildlife is more important than ever. After hiking Mount Washington, my favorite area is to explore the top of that mountain and surrounding ridge trails to the other summits in New Hampshire. I loved the complete openness of the vistas and the elevation of the area.
Mendola: What’s the best part about working as a freelance illustrator?
Michael: I get to choose the projects that I work on and create images that I like.