10 Questions With Mike Corley

Welcome to the seventy-ninth edition of 10 Questions With…

Today our guest is:

Mike Corley

10 Questions With (11)Tell us about yourself.

I’m a full-time freelance designer, mostly for books but also have worked in comics and general illustration jobs. Lots of good things have been said by kind people other than my Mother about my art, which is quite nice to know. I’m a believer in Jesus, but even if you don’t like God we can still be friends. I’ve been called a cat lady several times.

1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?

My favorite things to read are Folklore and Ghost stories. I prefer the feeling of melancholy, and sad stories or unhappy endings. If I wasn’t an artist anymore I would be a grave digger. I can bend my toes under and walk on the knuckles of my feet. I have a cat named Dinah (which anyone who follows me in Instagram probably knows all too well). Also, my back hurts.

2.) Where do you look for inspiration when approaching a new project?

I have numerous inspiration folders I’ve made over the years of different images I’ve collected so that’s where I dig first for new ideas. If those don’t strike up the inspiration that I need for a book or piece of art I’ll peruse different design blogs looking for something new.

3.) Do you have a favorite artist and if so what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Mike Mignola for his ability to break down an image to the simplest shapes and still be profound. Hayao Miyazaki for his beautifully sad imagery, Olly Moss for his cleverness and Sam Bosma for everything else in general and specific.

4.) If you could have dinner with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Probably no one. I’m really terrible around people I admire, artists doubly so. I either become a mute or end up stuttering simple phrases like ‘I l-like your arts’ or ‘How do draw?’ which is uninspired boring conversation for a dinner. And if the artist I was eating with was dead I’d probably be to frightened to say anything other than “Did you have plans to eat me too?” before I run from the room. I prefer have meals with living people, particularly my wife and two kids, and our cat if she cares to join us.

Reviewers Wanted (3)5.) Do you specialize in any one genre? Or, is your style suitable for all?

I wouldn’t say I specialize in any one genre, but I do get picked for lots of horror or spooky books. Maybe that’s because a good portion of my work has been for Valancourt Books.

Looking at my work you can see I work in a wide variety of styles, I’ve tried to work towards having a varied enough portfolio that I can work in any genre and adapt a style to fit any book.

6.) What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

The internet is pretty crucial, also Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. A glass of water or black tea, music or a podcast to listen to. A periodic “Hi Papa” from my Daughter or a goo-goo face from my Son is nice.

7.) What is your favorite cover on any piece of literature? Why?

My favorites change almost daily so, today its the cover of The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. Really beautiful and weird imagery on that one. I want to read it for the cover alone (which is the sole purpose of a good book cover I think).

8.) Is there a cover design you are most proud of? Why?

Well, I don’t know if proud is the right word but my Harry Potter covers I did back in 2008 are very important to me. Less for the art itself and more for what it has done for my career. Once I put those online they swirled around at a lightning pace and ended up giving me constant cover design inquiries for the next 8 years. (Plus poster inquires for those covers on a weekly basis, No sorry I can’t make them into posters, Warner Bros told me I can’t in a quite austere way) Had I never made those covers I wonder where I’d be right now… Probably over there somewhere.

9.) What song best describes you and why?

Currently I’d say, Where Were You by Ghost Ship.

Mainly because life is confusing and hard and doesn’t make sense most of the time to me, and yet I know God has got a plan for it all and is guiding the insignificant me through this vast universe that he made.
Also, the sound of summer Cicadas chirping.

10.) A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

“Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?”

Go ahead, tell us more about M. S. Corley Illustration & Design
You can see a sampling of my work at mscorley.com
I’m on twitter and on all the other social networking sites as required by law these days. Just do some searching.


I want to thank Mike Corley for joining us today for this edition of 10 Questions With…

I hope you enjoyed learning about him as much as I did.

If you want to learn more about Corley or his services you can visit his website.

You can also follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Head to Mike Corley’s website and tell me: what is your favorite cover or illustration?


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About leighgendarium

Preston Leigh, with the help of many in the indie community, is the founder of The Leighgendarium.

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