PK 081: How to Start a Creative Career – Interview With Mike Clarida Part 1

In this podcast, artist Mike Clarida shares his years of experience as a freelancer, and why he’s constantly learning new skills to move forwards in his creative career.

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“If you focus on the love for drawing and what you do, then the doors will open.”

~聽Mike Clarida

Want to know how to start a creative career? Meet Mike Clarida, an artist who’s had an amazing career so far working for Disney and other big names.

But it’s not all been plain sailing. Along the way, he’s had to adapt and learn all kinds of new skills as an artist to land the jobs he was looking for.

And, in this week鈥檚 podcast interview, he聽tells you what today’s employers are looking for, and how you can make sure your portfolio ticks all the right boxes for聽landing聽your dream creative job.

Mike Clarida is a freelance artist who鈥檚 been working for Disney for the past two years. Prior to this, he also produced work for some of the world鈥檚 largest sports apparel companies, such as Nike, Adidas, and Footlocker.

However, he didn鈥檛 always know he wanted to become an artist. In fact, after finishing high school, he enrolled at his local Daytona State College on a drama scholarship.

How to Start a Creative Career – Even if You’re Not Sure Which Path to Take

While he was studying singing and drama, Mike聽began to think about rekindling his love of drawing and painting.

He鈥檇 always loved making art, but he hadn鈥檛 really considered it as a career until he got talking to a design teacher, who inspired him to apply to Ringling in 1997.

At that time, this renowned college was the go-to path for anyone who wanted to work at Disney. Indeed, many former students went on to work at companies such as Pixar, including Lion King illustrator, Aaron Blaise.

And for Mike Clarida, it was his firm belief in the importance of art fundamentals (such as composition, gesture drawing, and color theory), which gave him the broad set of skills an artist needs to show in their portfolio.

But it wasn鈥檛 all plain sailing. Mike soon learned that a good education alone wasn鈥檛 enough to secure him an animation job at the companies he was applying to. So he had to adapt, learn new skills, and broaden his experience even further to get where he wanted to be.

And, eventually, his hard work paid off and doors started to open for him. Listen to this podcast to hear the rest of Mike Clarida鈥檚 story and discover how聽to聽start a creative career in your chosen field.

Listen to this week鈥檚 show and learn:

  • Why experience and flexibility are just as important as qualifications
  • How to take the highs with the lows in your creative career
  • Why your determination and hard work will eventually pay off

People on this Episode:

Links From聽This Episode:

Listening options:

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Thanks for listening to our show! We鈥檒l be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.



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3 Responses to “PK 081: How to Start a Creative Career – Interview With Mike Clarida Part 1”

  1. Zhang Hanlin

    Hope I can Draw

    • mm

      Chris Davies

      Hey Zhang, daily practice is the key – even if you only have 15 minutes to spare. Make sketches in your sketchbook, on a notepad, on your phone or wherever you like – you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start to see an improvement 馃檪

  2. 3 Key Steps for Your Creative Career: Interview With Mike Clarida

    […] our previous聽podcast with artist Mike Clarida, he spoke about his 16-year career and how adapting and learning new skills led him to work with […]


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