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Interested In Becoming An Illustrator?

Is art one of your passions? Are you interested in turning your drawings into a rewarding career?

Then becoming an illustrator might be the path for you! 

 – By Emi –
What is so appealing about the illustration field, you may ask?

Illustration can be a broad term, so let’s break it down. You get to be creative on the daily, while working on projects that require your imagination to run wild; and seeing your finished product after hours of hard work is an extraordinarily rewarding feeling. You often work on a wide range of projects, working with clients from all over the world on anything from children’s books to magazines! Some of the other projects you may work on include: 

  • Manuals 
  • Advertising 
  • Educational illustrations for textbooks
  • Narrative illustrations for a variety of literary forms
  • Comic Books/ Comic Strips/ Graphic Novels
  • Book & graphic novel covers
  • and anything from Greeting Cards to Album Covers
Haley Millman
art by Haley Millman, 2016 Graduate
Who are Illustrators?

An illustrator is someone who creates images to give a visual element to an idea, narrative or text. These images can be used to provide clarity to advance written or spoken ideas by providing a visual aid. These illustrations will work with the concept, rather than distract from it. Illustrators work on a wide range of projects from comics to personal stand alone pieces! They can also be artists who bring stories and imagination to life with their work. They are often commissioned on a freelance basis or hired by companies to create illustrations for everything from commercial ads to cover art for novels, graphic novels or even art for album covers. Often, an illustrator will specialize in a particular field, while also selling personal work of their own. Many work to publish their own graphic novels and comic series! Illustrators even work in the education field, creating images for textbooks and other educational works. 

MTM College (MTM) Graduates go on to have successful careers in the illustration industry, many work as freelance illustrators, some publish their own comics/graphic novels, while others are hired by large companies and publishing houses.

Here are some of MTM’s Illustration graduates and what they are working on now:

Andrew Kwan, graduated from MTM’s Illustration for Sequential Arts program in May 2014, and has gone on to make his illustration dreams a reality. Andrew Kwan writes, illustrates, and publishes his own comic series, “The Work and Gel”, a post-apocalyptic tale about an Earth where humans are no longer at the top of the food chain. He also works as a character designer for Nanomyte Studios, on their multimedia series, “Injection”, another post-apocalyptic tale.

Andrew Kwan
art by Andrew Kwan, 2014 Graduate

Neiva Mateus, graduated from MTM’s Illustration for Sequential Arts program in May 2014, is now working as a freelance Illustrator for various children’s books. She has illustrated for a children’s book, written by Rachel Vander Veen, called “A Journey Down the River”. This book has been published in multiple languages and encourages children to count, and look for hidden creatures at the turn of each page! 

Neiva Mateus
art by Neiva Mateus, 2014 Graduate

 Ana Jaimes graduated from MTM’s Illustration for Sequential Arts program in May 2018. Ana currently works as an art director at NerdyCity, a company that specializes in making board games and tabletop RPG’s that capture the imagination and transport you to a whole new world! She will be teaching a Clip Studio Paint workshop here at Max the Mutt over spring break! This workshop will introduce students to the various illustration and comic focused features the Clip Studio Paint software provides their users such as unique page formatting options, speech bubble features, unique shortcuts, and even how to utilize built-in 3D models to shortcut and strengthen your digital artwork.

Ana Jaimes
art by Ana Jaimes, 2018 Graduate
Why choose MTM College of Animation, Art & Design to study Illustration?

MTM College (MTM) is a college that simulates a realistic work environment for its students so they are prepared to enter the workforce. MTM now provides a 4-year Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts diploma program with a focus on visual storytelling that teaches students the fundamentals of drawing, and trains students to work with industry standard programs like the Adobe Suite. MTM even offers a 2-semester graphic novel development course that will provide its graduates with a package that can be pitched to publishers! Other benefits of choosing MTM College include: 

  • Smaller class sizes which offer instructors the opportunity to provide more one-on-one time with students and the chance to get to know them personally 
  • Instructors work in the Illustration & Comics industry, who want to help their students build the skills they need to start their own Illustration careers.
    Like Dave Ross, who has worked with Marvel and DC Comics as a writer, penciller, and cover artist. Dave Ross teaches Structural Drawing, Penciling, and Constructive Figure Drawing for Illustration students.
    Paris Alleyne is a MTM Illustration 2013 graduate and another instructor with industry experience having worked as a colourist for comics such as Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles and GI Joe. He teaches MTM Illustration students a Digital Media course. Paris has won an Eisner Award for Best Colourist on a Comic Book Series.
  • Curriculum designed in consultation with Industry professionals. Our current 4 year Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts diploma program was updated from a three year Illustration for Sequential Arts diploma program, to meet the demanding requirements of working in the industry. We constantly consult with experts in the industry to ensure our students are receiving the most up to date skills and training.
  • A fun and engaging work environment that is supportive of everyone and provides unique learning opportunities. While the curriculum at our college can be demanding, we also want our students to enjoy themselves! Our college has a collegial and friendly atmosphere.

MTM College’s Illustration program has core skills as part of their curriculum. You will gain skills in penciling and inking comics, storytelling and scripting for comics, and children’s book illustration. You will also dive into topics such as graphic design and illustration for advertising skills and storyboarding for film and advertising. You will graduate from the MTM Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts Diploma Program with a solid portfolio, a web page, the skills needed to write an excellent cover letter and resume, and the confidence to perform well in job interviews. MTM College will prepare you to be the next generation of freelance illustrators, comic book, and graphic novel artists.

If you are unsure whether studying illustration is the right fit for you, check out some of MTM College’s Workshops! They are a great way to get a feel for what you will be learning while attending MTM.
To learn more about MTM workshops, contact workshops@maxthemutt.com

To learn more about MTM College’s Diploma Programs, contact admissions@maxthemutt.com

Hope to see you there!

Mariana Fernandes
art by Mariana Fernandes, 2020 Graduate

How to Learn Anatomy!

The important Skill of Anatomy and how young artists can Learn It

-by Grace Gardner-

Ah, human anatomy, the artist’s great friend and often foe. Almost every aspiring artist knows the frustration of drawing a hand and making it look right. We often find a way around it with a glove-like shape or just a simple circle and it passes, or so we think. So ‘why’, you might ask, should I have to learn how to draw a realistic hand, or realistic human in general, when the cartoons that I’ve already been drawing work well enough?

The answer is quite simple. Understanding human anatomy offers an artist the fundamental building blocks for correctly drawing other people. Otherwise one could wonder why anyone would start to learn how to draw humans, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, if we weren’t surrounded by them. But really, if your plan is to pursue a creative career, you’ll need to have a diverse skill set and knowledge of proper human anatomy as it is expected by default and is a bit of a hard skill to fake.

Cai Ritter
art by Concept Art student, Cai Ritter


Given that anatomy is essential for understanding how to build proper humanoids, it is a skill you should be learning pretty early on. But there are people who either don’t bother to learn anatomy at all or have difficulty fully grasping it the first time someone tries to teach them. For these reasons students commonly give up learning this skill before they begin.

Yet understanding human anatomy and how to use it properly is a very important skill to have. Anatomy gives students a 100% chance of improving their ability to draw a human form. In Anatomy courses, like the ones offered at Max the Mutt College through our diploma programs, you’ll learn the human body’s bone structure, then how muscles connect to those bones, how those muscles work for movement, act and react. Understanding those concepts help students to improve how their characters move and will assist in creating a less awkward looking form. Anatomy also helps a student understand how to give a human form weight and knowing this helps to make even a 2D person seem more alive.

Taking workshops that focus on figurative drawing like those of our Portfolio Development programs will give you more insight into how to draw a human form.

As a wise artist said:  “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”  – Pablo Picasso
Anatomy
characters by 2022 Animation Graduate, Melodie Litwin
Anatomy
characters by 2022 Animation Graduate, Melodie Litwin


You’re probably wondering why in the world it is so hard to draw humans considering not only are we human ourselves but we are constantly surrounded by them. Well it may be surprising to know that the reason IS exactly that, we are constantly surrounded by humans making them very hard to draw.

You see, our brain has made short cuts for us to make processing the world around us easier and an often used social shortcut is to break down and then interpret the details that make up the people around us. Our brains aren’t fully recognizing the exact shapes and contours of our hands or how many wrinkles a person has on their face. The brain sees this information and changes it into generalized ideas of a person, like when you say someone has ‘soft features’ or they ‘looked old’. 

Our brains do this for better social communication and is the reason we can see strange looking comic humans as humans. It takes the features we unconsciously process and exaggerates them to give us an impression of what that person is like.

This is why understanding and putting proper anatomy into practice is so hard. You have to un-train the brain of your old social shortcuts in order to really see what humans are made up of for the first time.

Anatomy: Daniela Jung
Anatomy by 2022 Animation Graduate, Daniela Jung
Jordan Marshal
Anatomy by 2022 Animation Graduate, Jordan Marshall
Where do you even learn anatomy nowadays?

Well many people now try to learn it casually online by picking up techniques and instructions on how to draw humans here and there through other artist anatomy tips. This will give you an idea on how the body could be drawn in the artist’s style but it lacks that teachable understanding of how the bones and muscles interact to make a human form pose or move. 

Nolan Chew Anatomy
art by Animation student, Nolan Chew


The best way to fully understand the fundamentals of anatomy is to take a hands on course like ones offered at MTM College. For example, workshop courses like
Single Session Life Drawing or any of our Portfolio Development programs which give students the tools to help understand the concepts as well as assist to build their portfolio. Those looking for a more independent approach can follow the teachings of our Constructive Figure Drawing instructor, Dave Ross through his book, Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators, which provides a thorough approach to practicing figure drawing. Or for the student choosing to enroll in a creative diploma, like any of MTM College’s diploma programs in Animation, Concept Art or Illustration, they would definitely be taught anatomy and other important basic building blocks in order to improve their skills.

Whichever path you choose, we know that mastering anatomy from the inside out will give a boost to any artist looking to make any characters or creature designs.

Let’s Workshop a Little!

What is it like to take a Max the Mutt workshop?

-by Grace Gardner-


For the uninformed, workshops are short courses focusing on a skill development or program training. In this case, Max the Mutt (MTM) holds workshops based on creative arts and the programs used to make art! Their appeal lies in the fact that MTM class sizes are small with a direct focus on each attending student, there are a variety of offered courses that can run for a number of classes to single sessions for all ages and skill levels, and MTM also offers workshops that can be brought into your high school’s art class!

You’re probably now asking yourself – Why should I attend a MTM workshop instead of just googling a tutorial on YouTube or something? 

  1. Well, MTM’s workshops offer courses taught by an experienced art teacher, who is often working in the industry related to the skills offered by the course. So as you can already guess, receiving instruction from an Industry Professional is more trustworthy than from someone uploading YouTube videos where you have no way to check their credentials, experience or background.
  2. MTM workshops cover the basics for artistic tools and techniques to give you a fundamental understanding of the skill being taught. The MTM workshop courses are a good choice for beginners or hobbyists with some courses designed especially for kids to teens. While being a skilled self-taught artist,  is entirely possible, you will get farther and have more luck with concept construction after you have a full grasp on the important fundamentals, and this is something MTM’s instructors are trained to provide.
  3. MTM workshops can fit into most schedules as well, with workshops lasting from one day class to multiple weeks for a more in-depth course. MTMs workshops are good for established artists or industry professionals as well for this reason. If you ever need a refresher, you can easily take a day and get a fresh perspective to hone your skills or, to update your skills, MTM offers professional development courses that run for longer periods.

Now if I haven’t convinced you yet, it’s probably because it sounds like I’m just talking up Max the Mutt without backing up my facts. Well to help change that notion I will now give to you some examples of the kinds of workshops offered at Max the Mutt and how they can help to open up the world of art for you.

Portfolio Development

The Single Session Life Drawing

A segment that follows the various teachings of Kimon Nicolaides and is a wonderful workshop lasting for, as you can guess, one session. This workshop focuses on teaching you how to draw the human figure, this workshop is good for anyone looking to add to, or refresh their knowledge on gestural figurative drawing. These classes often include nude models and encourage you to show your artwork to receive feedback from this accomplished illustrator.

Workshop
Student work by Daniela Jung, Kylah Heykoop, Jordan Marshall for “Intermediate Life Drawing” class

 

Extended Portfolio Development Program

Max the Mutt also offers a full Portfolio building course, taking place for six hours once a week for 12 weeks. This course offers many foundation art skills and encourages developing pieces to create your portfolio. This includes fundamentals like principles of drawing, the basics of color theory, composition, gestural life drawing with nude models, perspective and of course how to get through an application process with your art portfolio. This program concludes with a one-on-one portfolio review by the instructor for feedback!

 

Kids & Teens

“Who’s that Character?”

An 8-week course focused on thinking up creative ideas and putting them onto the page. Run by Elizabeth Carey, an accomplished illustrator and MTM Illustration for Sequential Arts Graduate. You’ll be given lessons in character design that can be used for things like comics and graphic novels. They’ll provide examples of pre-made characters and break them down to learn what makes them tick to give you the tools so you can make one of your own.
Open to anyone ages 8 and up!

workshop
Art by – Elizabeth Carey – MTM Alumni and Instructor

 

Introduction to Traditional Animation

This workshop covers the fundamentals of animation which can be applied to future animation projects, personal or professional. Taught by Bryce Hallett, an independent animator with 20+ years of experience in animation. This course will teach you the techniques of traditional animation, ending with a full bipedal walk cycle to take the knowledge home with you.
This is a beginner-level 2D animation course open to anyone ages 13 and up!

workshop
Art by – Bryce Hallett, MTM Instructor

 

Professional Development

Digital Painting for Professional Development

This 3 hour workshop is focused on providing teachers and instructors with techniques for teaching digital painting to a class or for personal use. Taught by Maya Ivanova, an instructor at Max the Mutt and will cover the process of developing a design, drawing a layout, and much more while also introducing activities for teaching in a classroom setting.

Please note that for practice and demonstration purposes, the class will be conducted in Adobe Photoshop, though students are welcome to utilize a similar alternative program.

workshop
Art by – Maya Ivanova, MTM Instructor

 

Introduction to Autodesk Maya

This workshop is an introduction to animating in 3D. You’ll learn the interface as well as the tools and hotkeys that you will need to start animating in Maya. To get students familiar with the program, they will begin by completing a simple bouncing ball animation. These skills will be built upon by eventually exploring a bipedal character! With the completion of this workshop, students will have developed the skills and knowledge to move on to doing more complex 3D character animation.

workshop
3D model example by MTM Instructor, Mike Shiell

 

Some courses are also offered in a miniature form for high school classes if you’re an interested teacher or school administrator contact – outreach@maxthemutt.com – or to learn more about MTM student workshops, contact workshops@maxthemutt.com.

Congratulations Sergi Iranzo – 1st place Finalist – Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards 2021

 

Sergi Iranzo, Year 4 Concept Art for Animation & Video Games Program student, has been awarded the 1st place Finalist for the Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards 2021 competition.

Docking Bay Sergi Iranzo -2021 Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards - 1st place Finalist
Docking Bay – Sergi Iranzo – 2021 Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards – 1st place Finalist

Ubisoft Toronto NEXT is an annual competition designed to display the talent of video game development students in Ontario, and to kickstart their careers in the industry. With paid apprenticeships in hand, winners of each category receive the opportunity to learn from top talent and further hone their skills.

The 1st place Finalist winner receives a paid 3 month Apprenticeship position at Ubisoft Toronto studio and a $300 prize package. The apprenticeship is set to begin at the end of May 2021.

A compilation of all Finalists and their work from all Categories can be seen here:

Branko Bistrovic, Team Lead Concept Artist – Concept Art Department – Ubisoft Toronto and a former Max the Mutt student, who has been a part of the NEXT competition since it’s founding had this to say about Sergi Iranzo’s submission for the competition:

“For the competition, Sergi Iranzo’s entry for Concept Art category, execution-wise, knocked it out of the park. A ‘Space Opera’ on a grand scale.
An interesting design, solid composition, simple yet striking lighting, that’s very important for a space scene, thanks to the intelligent use of the clouds along with the leading angles of the ships and the actual structure. This still image of a docking bay in the thermosphere has a strong sense of motion and energy which is very impressive. The scale is also exceptionally well-handled. It feels as if the structure is absolutely vast.
Well done Sergi! You are our number 1 pick for all of those reasons. Be proud. You earned it!” 

(Click for the Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards Live Event Stream for the full event and words from the Judges, like Branko, and the Finalists, like Sergi, from all categories.)

Sergi Iranzo had previously entered and had been awarded the 3rd place Finalist for the 2019 Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards competition for Concept Art category. Since he was only in Year 2 of the Concept Art program, at the time for the competition, his 3rd place standing was very impressive.

Sergi Iranzo 2019 Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards
Sergi Iranzo – 2019 Ubisoft Toronto NEXT Awards Entry – 3rd place Finalist

Check out Sergi Iranzo’s Student Profile to see more work from him.

Congratulations to all Finalists for this years competition. There was some amazing work for sure!!

 

Check out Max the Mutt’s 4 year Concept Art Diploma Program!

 

Paris Alleyne Wins Award for Best Comic Book Colourist

 

Paris Alleyne thought he might eventually get an award in his career as a comic book artist, he just didn’t anticipate it happening so soon. In the summer of 2020, Paris received an Eisner Award for Best Colourist on a Comic Book Series for his work on Afterlift, written by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo.

Natalie Kauffman, MTM Director of Outreach, spoke with Paris, who graduated from Max the Mutt’s Illustration program in 2013, about being an award winning colourist, his work on other projects such as Crescent And Io by Marvel Comics, and Black Comix Returns,  as well as his personal work.

 

Colouring takes thought and attention

When asked how he makes his choices for how he colours his projects, he says it varies greatly each time. “Every project is different…that’ll change what you’re trying to get across.” It depends what the mood and style is that you’re trying to get across working with the illustrator.

Veering away from comics, Paris was a colourist for a book called Deal with it, a graphic novel dealing with real issues experienced by teens, published by James Lorimer & Co.  He speaks about how the work that you do for comics – like meeting deadlines, working with writers/illustrators, working independently and fulfilling creative requirements – is not just limited to the comic book world.  “Comics really prepare you for other types of illustration.” If anything, working on a book project was easier as the deadlines weren’t as tight as they normally are for comics. It is a profession that has many applications – from freelancing for comics and graphic novels, to graphic design for advertising and film – all of which are covered in the curriculum in the four year diploma Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts program at MTM.

MTM teaches more than art skills

Paris credits MTM with teaching him more than art skills. “It’s where I learned self-reliance.” He continues, “Working as a freelancer now, if I don’t respond to this email or I don’t get this work done today, it doesn’t get done.” Paris remembers overhearing an instructor during his first year in one of his classes say: “The point of this is to learn to see”. Paris admits that his youthful defiant self resisted that instruction at the time, but later it clicked with him, and it’s been pivotal term that he has found has made a difference in his career ever since. He admits these principles taught at MTM saved him a lot of time and agony, which otherwise would have come from trial and error over many years. “The fundamentals that were taught there (at MTM) have carried on with me.”


Contributing to
Black Comix Returns is particularly meaningful to Paris


Black Comix Return is a project which holds particular significance to Paris. He remembers seeing the first book, Black Comix (published in 2010), and thought “I want to work on this!”, even though he knew he didn’t have the body of work to contribute anything at that time. Years later, he actively sought out to be part of the next publishing, which worked out well since the author was seeking Paris out to be part of the next book too. “I knew I wanted to be part of a book like this so that I could properly feel like I was part of this community.” Being part of this book is his way of both contributing to the legacy of Black comic book artists, and to his own identity as a Black artist making his mark in this industry, which has traditionally been a white dominated field.

Teaching is a way to give back… and to constantly learn

Something else significant for Paris is to give back to the artist community, which means he has become an instructor at Max the Mutt! Paris taught Digital Painting last year and is teaching Digital Media for our students this Winter semester. Every time he teaches, he says, he learns from his students, which keeps things fresh for him.

 

Congratulations again, Paris!
We look forward to see what other super interesting projects you will be involved with next.

 

Watch the full interview on Youtube

Learn more about Paris on Instagram

Learn more about our Illustration and Storytelling for Sequential Arts Program

MTM rated one of the top schools in the world by The Rookies

The Rookies — known for its creative community and school rankings in creative media and entertainment categories — recently released its 10th annual ranking lists naming the Top 50 schools offering programs in game design, animation, visual effects, concept art, motion graphics and architectural visualization.

Over 500 International Schools Apply for this Award

We are honoured to say that Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design made the cut. Over 500 International Schools submitted their student work to the Rookie Awards 2020, which were reviewed by industry professionals, so it means a lot to be included in the rankings and to be recognized as one of the Top Schools in the World!

Check out the full list of 2020 Top 50 Creative Media & Entertainment Schools and Colleges.

We’re also thrilled to be named one of the Top Concept Art Schools and Colleges in 2020.

Congrats to all the schools who made the list!

Artwork by massimilianobianchini95

A chat with Dave Ross: Comic Book Artist and MTM Instructor

Dave Ross, comic book artist and a long time instructor at MTM, loves to tell stories, not with words, but with pictures. That’s why he became an illustrator – specifically, a comic book illustrator. 

“Tell a story, whether it’s your own or someone else’s”, advises Ross

MTM Director of Outreach, Natalie Kauffman, “sat down” (virtually, that is) with Dave Ross to chat with him about his career as a comic book artist, his teaching career, his book and more. So what does Ross, who has worked for Marvel, DC Comics and Darkhorse, amongst other publications, and has drawn such well-known characters as Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Batgirl and Daredevil (and many more), recommend to those who want to make it in the big leagues? “Get out there and get yourself published.” Start off with an Indie comic, or self publish. “Tell a story, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, but show publishers that you can put together a visual story from start to finish – that’s the key.” 

Ross was instrumental in the design of MTM’s Illustration Curriculum

As one of the founders of the Illustration and Storytelling for Sequential Arts diploma program at MTM, Ross has been instrumental in helping to design the curriculum over the years. When asked why Illustration should be a four-year diploma program for a college (upgraded from our original three-year diploma program), Ross has a simple answer: we teach everything you need to know in order to have a life long career in illustration. “It’s a really broad base of skills that you need”, Ross explains. “With a fourth year, we’re able to diversify some of the learning”. He goes on to explain that he’s now able to spend more time on teaching areas of study that there wasn’t time for before, which serves to make students stronger in the field and ready for a wider variety of potential career options.  

Dave Ross’s book is used by art students all around the globe

Ross also talks about making his book, Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators, which has been widely received, translated into several languages (Japanese, Korean, Mainland Chinese) and has had him tour places such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. He has essentially crafted the book around courses that he teaches at MTM – constructive figure drawing – and has designed the book to be like a text book with exercises after each chapter. Ross loved meeting art students from around the globe, and can’t wait to get back on his book tour again, once it’s safe to do so. “You can go to the other side of the world and essentially be dealing with the same challenges with the students there,” Ross comments. Speaking of these artistic challenges, Ross notes that “the struggle is a universal struggle” – a struggle that he is happy to help students overcome!

This is a must-watch interview for anyone wanting to pursue a career in illustration, particularly in a comic book or graphic novel illustration. It’s also great for any of the multitudes of comic book lovers or fans of Dave Ross!

Watch the full Dave Ross interview here

Interested in becoming a comic book illustrator, a graphic novel illustrator or a children’s book illustrator? Find out more about MTM’s unique Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts Diploma Program – the only one of its kind in Canada! 

Be sure to check out daverossart.com too.

MTM grad M.Sassy.K makes her bread & butter in comic book art

Michele Assarasakorn, a.k.a. M.Sassy.K, has come full circle in her work as an illustrator. She started off her diploma at MTM in Illustration for Sequential Arts, then switched to Concept Art (which she graduated from in 2011) and now primarily works as a comic book artist. She thought that background art for video games would be where she would have ended up, but she came back to her love of comics. So skeptics beware, there is money in the comic book world!

It is possible to have a career as a Comic Book Artist?

Featuring Max the Mutt's concept art graduate and comic book artist Sassy K

Is it possible to have a successful career as a comic book artist that also pays the bills? “It is!”, says Michele from her home in Vancouver, “And it’s a lot broader than you think.” She goes on to say that “all the skills you learn in school with the foundations…it’s so broad that you can just leap into different careers as you progress as an artist”. There’s a lot of crossover in the industry so it’s not like you are stuck with the diploma choice you made, and the training at MTM prepares you for this kind of flexibility as a career artist.

Michele is the colourist on the comic book Isola, co-created by Brendan Fletcher (MOTOR CRUSH) and Eisner Award-winning storyteller Karl Kerschl, which just launched volume 2 (July 2020) in its series.

Understand what the market wants

Michele stresses how important it is to do your research before embarking on your career. Start your research before graduation, so you know what path you want to apply yourself after graduation. “You are your own business person so you have to understand what the market wants,” she emphasizes. As a freelancer, it’s critical that you set out with plan – even if you end up deviating from it. You have to choose your own direction and start working towards it – you cannot sit there and wait for someone to approach you. 

It is because of the feedback of alumni like Michele, and others in the field, that the Illustration and Storytelling for Sequential Arts program was expanded in 2018 from a 3 year to a 4 year program to make sure that graduates were better prepared for a career as a freelancer, and to increase their general versatilely as visual storytellers, giving them many potential career options in areas such as Background Painting, Storyboarding, Layout and Visual Design for Marketing alongside freelance or published work in Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Children’s Books.

Want to work in Canada after graduation? Don’t forget to do your research!

MTM is very welcoming to international students – we offer a unique international student orientation, we offer support throughout your time at MTM, and we have one of the lowest international tuition rates of animation, concept art or illustration program in North America.

Michele was one of our international students. When asked about her experience of what it was like to come to Canada as an international student, she says “it was a long journey… but it was definitely worth pursuing”. Michele believes that this country is full of opportunities for illustrators – comic books or concept art – and it’s worth the time and effort to make Canada your home to have the career that you love. Just don’t forget to research the permit process and what you will need to do post-graduating to stay in Canada! 


Watch the full interview for helpful tips for any current students pursuing illustration, or for graduates looking for some pointers in starting your career. You’ll also see lots of Michele’s artwork too, a must see for any of her fans!

Interested in MTM’s Illustration and Storytelling for Sequential Arts Diploma Program? We also offer workshops for artists of all levels if you want to take a shorter course or one day workshop. 


All illustrations in this article are by M.Sassy.K.

You can check out more of her work here!

Click here to see more of ISOLA

Second time a charm for recipient of our first year Scholarship Award!

Taneikah Anderson could have given up after she got rejected the first time she applied for the Sean Michael Stewart Memorial Scholarship at Max the Mutt, but instead, she took it as a challenge to improve her portfolio and apply again. Good thing she did as the second time around was what made the difference! Here’s why Taneikah chose Max the Mutt to foster her skillsets towards building a creative freelance career.

Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts Program

Taneikah is the recipient of this year’s scholarship which is awarded to a first-year student entering one of our diploma programs; she is going into the Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts (ISSA) program. Taneikah took the time over the past year to improve on her skills and keep pushing herself, a quality that is necessary to have in this field if you are going to make it, especially if you want a creative freelance career. She took the time to develop herself as an artist, to get over some of her anxieties, and “focus on getting better as an artist”, she says in our video interview from her home in Toronto.

Thriving Environment and Catered Art Classes

Taneikah chose MTM because of the small class sizes and the environment that the school provides. “When I went there (for the Open House) I just really liked the environment, I liked the vibes; it just seemed like a really cool place to be”. She also did her background research and was impressed with the instructors who teach at MTM and the courses that are offered. “The programs they had were super specific”, Taneikah commented, as compared to other schools where there were many art skills combined into one class, much “too generalized” for her. She recognizes how this attention to honing distinct art skills is what will set you apart in your art career and better prepare you for success. 

Drawing by Taneikah Anderson, scholarship recipient of Max the Mutt's Illustration & storytelling for sequential arts program. Drawing by Taneikah Anderson, scholarship recipient of Max the Mutt's Illustration & storytelling for sequential arts program.

Building a Creative Freelance Career

Asked about where she envisions herself after she graduates? “I want to be making my own comics…I want to have my own store where I’ll be selling my own prints”. Taneikah sees herself as an entrepreneur. Which was another reason why she chose MTM as her first choice of college, as one of the courses that are taught to ISSA students is Freelancing and Self Promotion.

Drawing by Taneikah Anderson, scholarship recipient of Max the Mutt's Illustration & storytelling for sequential arts program.    Drawing by Taneikah Anderson, scholarship recipient of Max the Mutt's Illustration & storytelling for sequential arts program.

Taneikah knows that she has a lot to learn and explore as a young art student, but she is clear about two things: “I love to tell stories and I love to draw”. Well, we can’t wait to see where she will take this passion of hers.

Congrats Taneikah and welcome to MTM!

Watch the full interview:


Do you see yourself as a freelance illustrator or are you looking towards building a creative freelance career? A comic book or graphic book artist? Do you love telling stories with your images? Then check out our ISSA diploma program or contact our admissions counsellor to learn more about how you could become a student who, like Taneikah, follows their passions to pursue the career of their dreams.