Weekly Feature: Spotlight on CAR-toonist Micah Claycamp
This week's feature is on CAR-toonist Micah Claycamp, also known as Micahdoodles.
All words in this feature by Micah Claycamp
I'm a husband, father of four, lizard enthusiast and Christian who loves to draw CARtooned cars. I started Micahdoodles (part-time) after I started getting requests to draw people's vehicles almost four years ago. It's been a wild ride as my style continues to change and develop. I draw most nights after the family goes to bed from 10 pm to midnight catching up on client requests and sharpening my skills.
My encouragement for those car artists is to get involved in a car artist forum either on Instagram or Facebook. Draw and post often and learn from others. Most of all, have fun at what you do.
I always loved to doodle and sketch when growing up. I drew mostly cartoons and ideas I had in my head. Yes, I was one of those kids who constantly got in trouble for drawing on their homework papers too. In high school, I started painting back windows of club trucks in the late ’80s. I also drew for our school paper and did cartooning for t-shirts and other events where needed. I illustrated my first children’s book just after high school called, My Mother Doesn’t Like To Cook after I was contacted by author Wanda Phillips. In college, I was a cartoonist for the paper as I was pursuing my degree in Graphic Design with an emphasis on computer animation. After college, I pursued my graphic design degree (1996) and have been designing ever since.
HOW MICAHDOODLES STARTED…
Major Turning Point - Dec. 2014
One night after I took my son and his friend home from basketball practice, I noticed a drawing pad in the back seat. My son's friend had left it by accident. I brought it inside and decided to draw him a picture in it as a surprise. I decided to draw a truck. I sketched it out, then inked it in, then closed the drawing pad. I was excited for the surprise my son's friend would get when he opened it. I decided to post that drawing on Instagram and also Facebook. I shared the story then went to bed. A few days later I was contacted by a grade school friend (Ken Tisdel) who saw my drawing on Facebook. He wanted to commission me to draw three drawings for him.
After completing Ken's drawing, I continued to draw and post on Instagram and Facebook. My style was cartoonish with pen lines drawn with sharpie markers. Then one night I decided to try something different. I found a box of old design markers from when I was at NAU (Northern Arizona University). They were ancient and only about 10% had any ink left in them, so I made do with what I had. Since I own a 1956 VW Bug, I decided to test them out and drew my car. The outcome was night and day...there was no going back...I needed to get some new markers, but where, and how was I going to afford them?
AN ANSWER TO PRAYER
My friend Ken called one night as I was finishing a drawing. I had posted my color rendition of my Bug and was excited for the direction these drawings were taking. I was getting comments and likes on Facebook and Instagram, so I planned to get my work out there and see what would happen. That meant I would need to draw more and post often. I shared that with Ken and my dilemma and need for pens. Ken said, "I'll buy them for you! What kind do you need?" I was blown away. God had provided what I needed through a friend. I was so excited and anxious to get started when my pens arrived. I started drawing more and posting and got my second commissioned piece. Lera saw my work on Instagram and wanted her car drawn. Was this turning into a side business? That's when Micahdoodles was born.
After completing Lera's Jaguar, I decided to start posting scriptures with each picture I drew. God had blessed me and I wanted to honor Him in what I did. I knew people were beginning to follow me and like my art, so what an opportunity to share Bible truths with an audience who might never step foot in a church.
For the next year, I drew a lot, some for clients and some on my own. I also began to record my drawing and created a YouTube channel (search Micahdoodles). My style was growing with each vehicle I drew.
GOING DIGITAL - November 2016 - present
I wanted to go digital but needed to purchase a digital tablet to try it out. I ended up purchasing a Wacom Cintiq 13hd Companion used. This became my new focus as I moved forward. I used Sketchbook as my application.
This new media direction came with its own set of challenges. My first attempts were pretty crude but after a few months I began to get the hang of it and started developing my digital style. I posted often on social media and new opportunities opened to start Cartoonedtees. (Cartoonedtees.com) This would be another option to partner with a vendor and sell my finished artwork to clients on t-shirts as well. My clients loved the idea and option to have their car drawn and then wear it on a shirt to their next car show.
GOING on TV
In 2017, David Ankin from the popular show ToyMakerz called me and asked if I wanted to be a part of the show drawing his builds. I agreed and flew to Reidsville, NC to do some filming on set. Each of the drawings I drew was featured as closing cartoons at the end of each episode as well as t-shirt designs sold on their website (toymakerz.com). Due to post-production edits, I only appeared in episode 1 and 8 in season 2 on Velocity. Toymakerz has since signed with History channel and is gearing up for season 3 in Feb of 2019.
The TV exposure is a great experience as I continue to press forward and draw often and post a lot on social media. I believe that is one of the best ways to get yourself out there and recognized. Another thing that opened some other doors was I started doing live videos on Facebook. I started including with each commission, the live Facebook feed of me drawing their ride from start to finish. My client could watch along and comment and could share the post on their Facebook wall. I don’t know a lot of other artists who do this, but since I have trained myself to finish a piece in about 1 1/2 hrs, it's been a fun bonus for my clients and a great way to meet new people. I love teaching while I’m drawing and encouraging people along the way. Some have called me the Digital Bob Ross. That's funny, but just to let them know, I’m not growing an afro!
I currently draw on a 22HD Wacom Cintiq using Sketchbook app. I recently purchased an iPad Pro and am using Procreate for on-the-go drawings when I am away from my desktop. I have started a series of timelapse sketches that are helping me in my proficiency to be able to do a live drawing at car shows of peoples rides.
All in all, Micahdoodles is steady. It's not my full-time job but demands a lot of attention at times. I'm grateful for the opportunity to draw and make money at it. It's been said, “If you love drawing, it's your hobby. If people love your drawings and pay you for them, it becomes a business." It's great to be able to make some extra cash doing what you love!
Check out Micah's process in this time lapse video
Our past Weekly Feature artists:
• Kustom creations by Amfiria 11/25/2018
• BOMBOTZ: The Mural by Tyler K. Smith 11/21/2018
• Q&A with Daniel Mana, kustom painter from Italy 11/18/2018
Support kustom kulture artists and traditional print magazines by grabbing a copy of Gnarly. Thanks!