Brian Miller on Finding his Way Back to Illustration

Posted at 9 am on May 21, 2013 by

Posted in: Character Illustration, Digital Illustration, Photoshop

It’s undeniable that being a freelance illustrator has its challenges. Warnings of never being able to support yourself would have been given to most with artistic ambitions at some point along the way. It’s something that should be considered and definitely seriously thought about, but it’s nice to hear about those who had then chosen to take a different path being eventually pulled back to what they’re passionate about.

Brian Edward Miller, who makes these wonderfully nostalgic illustrations, talks to us about his experience with this and how he ended up doing the work he does now. We’re really enjoying his depictions of mountainous ranges and farmlands so were keen to hear more.


Throughout my 10+ year career as a graphic designer, I kept drawing and eventually rediscovered my love for illustration and stories.

I’d practise drawing before and after work and eventually landed jobs which afforded me the opportunity to draw as much as I was designing. A few studio closures and layoffs later, I decided it was time to launch into this crazy endeavor of becoming a full time illustrator.


My working method is one born out of practicality. I tried all sorts of tools and materials to see which ones I liked working with best.
Ultimately, my career as a graphic designer gave me a high level of comfort working digitally, a method I’ve kept to this day. ¬†I work 100% digitally in Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq. ¬†I still enjoy traditional materials (pencil, paper, brush + ink), though they haven’t found their way into my professional illustrations yet …


I tend to favor vintage themes and stylings in my work though my overall goal is to create pieces which elicit nostalgic feelings from viewers. I consider the piece successful if people smile when they see it, or say, “I wish I was there … ¬†” because often that’s what I had in mind while creating the work.
Venturing out on my own as an illustrator has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had so far. ¬†Every day brings a new surprises and I smile knowing that I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid (minus the whole Top Gun thing…).





Self portait


© Brian Miller, 2013