Nicholas McDougal
BFA in Illustration
Creative Services at KCCI News

In a couple sentences, describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

I work at KCCI News in creative services where I produce media content. It's hard work but there is a lot of freedom to make my own schedule.

What inspires you and your work?

Deadlines. No, but seriously . . . the threat of failure fuels me. Visually it's all about Bill Waterson, Jim Davis, the MonStars from SpaceJam, Pixar films, James Joyce, Jon Klassen, Mike Curato, NHOJ Comics, Incidental Comics, the Care Bears, comics podcasts and their guests, and anything I love at the moment on Netflix (Stranger Things!).

What advice do you have for current MCAD students?

Would have started blasting art directors and publishers with postcards way sooner! Also, branch out and check out Minneapolis. I was very bubble-centric and missed out on what the city has to offer.

Tell us about your internship.

I completed the Project M internship. A small group of students were tasked with one big project: to raise money for the homeless using design. We set up a full living room in the downtown area where we sold screen-printed welcome mats to raise funds.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Tom Garrett, he created a safe space and knew how to bring out my best work.

Has your work evolved since leaving MCAD?

Absolutely! I recently began working in the comics/graphic novel form. A big development for me is when I accepted myself to be a writer. The writing side of things just developed the past couple of years.

How do you network yourself and your art?

I go to children's book conferences all over the country. They are held by the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators. The group has an illustrator critique group that I meet with regularly. I am active on Twitter and participate in Thursday night #KidLitArt talks. I go to local studio open houses too.

How did you get your job? 

I met a friend at a bible study event who I knew did motion graphics and worked in AfterEffects. We had a lot to talk about and became good friends. After becoming roommates he noticed that my freelance graphic design business wasn't bringing in enough money to support me. He knew I was working very hard and relayed that to his boss. They had me apply and interview, and I got the job.

Current obsession?

Working on Lumpkins, my graphic novel for eight-to-ten-year-olds. I am also kind of obsessed with lifting weights, something I did NOT see coming in college.

Name your one biggest takeaway from MCAD?

It gave me credibility. I proved to myself that I have what it takes to be a successful artist. It gave me a strong starting point, something I reference for confidence in my artistic process.

Lastly, do you have a favorite interview question we didn't ask? 

Favorite Game of Thrones character: Brienne of Tarth.