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Mike Jackson's Biography

Mike Jackson - Lean on Me

History & Background

Born in 1962 to a working class Manchester family, I grew up in a warm family surrounding with honest values. I left school with few qualifications but with a great love of art. However, I was encouraged to learn a trade so I would always have something to fall back on. I became a Butcher. After a wide and varied career path I eventually pursued the artistic path and became a Graphic Designer. I bought the various computer packages along with an Apple Mac and taught myself. I was lucky enough to gain access into the Commercial Art world and I stayed there, learning from mistakes and increasing in knowledge and experience for about 12 years. Meantime I was developing my illustration skills and learning different Medias until I felt I was good enough to sell some of my paintings. For years after that I concentrated on perfecting my watercolour skills and felt that this was the path for me. I was quite a successful watercolour artist for many years and was pushed by a friend who has a gallery in Somerset to try out acrylics. This I did, and to my surprise I absolutely loved them. I have no formal training in art so I have had to learn by my own mistakes, yet I would have it no other way as I feel that this is the best way of developing your own technique. I am married with two fabulous children and one grandson, who all keep my feet on the ground. We moved to Somerset in 1999 which was fabulous for my artistic inspiration, as the colours and the local sounds of the country really help to free up my mind.

From Palette to Picture

After I have chosen the images I am going to paint, I start by painting the backgrounds. This can take up to about four or five layers of building up and getting the light and shadows right. Then after this has dried, I paint in my background images faintly in white or grey as these should not dominate the page. As I am going through these stages I am still determining the positions of the main characters and may change direction at any time. Eventually after great thought I am ready to paint in my main character. I block in this with white paint sketching the lines faintly first with white/grey paint as this would be easier to remove if I make a mistake. Eventually when the character is blocked in, I paint in the form in monochrome greys before applying colour to the image. When the image is coloured in, then I intensify the shadows and the highlights very carefully.

A Day In The Life

I awake at around 9.30, and come down stairs for a nice cup of tea. After I have come around, I go into my studio which is conveniently attached to my house... it is also called a garage!
I look at the previous days work and see what I can change about it. I try to be critical about my work, as I feel this can only improve. I am constantly endeavouring to make every piece better than the last.
I turn on my radio... I cannot work without my radio on, and begin to work. I work on one piece at a time, as I get frustrated when I try to multi-paint! I like to see a painting reaching its end and improving quickly.

I spend most of the day in my studio, only popping out to put the kettle on or make a sandwich.
I usually pack up work at about 4.30pm and start the Tea before my wife gets in from work. In the evening we will sit and watch Coronation Street and Eastenders together, and then later I will get out my sketch book again or pop back in the studio to put a few touches to whatever I am working on.

I love my work passionately and never want to stop painting... I feel extremely blessed to have been given a skill such as this

Mike Jackson's Artwork

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We Belong Together
by Mike Jackson
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