Work inspiration with Michiel Nagtegaal

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Michiel Nagtegaal

Graphic Designer from the Netherlands specializing in UI/UX

My name is Michiel Nagtegaal. I am 40 years old and since 2007 I have been a Freelance Graphic Designer from the Netherlands specializing in UI/UX and Webdesign. A small part of my work is designing logos and stationary. Illustration is also part of my services but as I find it hard to keep illustration commercially interesting, most of my time tends to be eaten by designing webpages for large Dutch companies.

Recently I left a fabulous project at one of the leading Dutch telecommunications companies for a few sabbatical months, to pursue another passion; making art. This involves painting mostly but in the near future I’d like to investigate more 3D work and sculptures aswell.

What inspired you to become a designer?

When I was a little kid I used to draw on almost anything that would hold a bit of a drawing. When the first personal computers came widely available I found myself designing and coding user interfaces on our home computer.

I like to create ‘things’ and I love a beautiful image whether it is a photograph, illustration or web interface.  As a young kid I grew up reading comic books so I aspired to be a comic book illustrator once. Until I found out that it was very difficult to become a reasonably payed comic book illustrator in the Netherlands. Therefor I switched my ambitions to graphic design.

At some point I started to design flyers for the house parties we organised in our home town. Those flyers and my comic book illustrations led to a design job at a small advertising agency. From there I ended up at online agencies and eventualy started my own online agency.

What design software do you use?

I don’t use a broad spectrum of software. Only Adobe Photoshop is used for designing webpages and interfaces. For the illustrations I use Adobe Illustrator.  For jotting down ideas, inspiration and saving images and notes I use Evernote. 

When I make my art I start sketching with a plain old pencil and a simple piece of paper. The finished rough outlines are then digitalised using Adobe Illustrator. The main advantage of this step in the process is that I can switch colors and shapes real quick.

What is your ideal work environment?

I have the luxury of living above a fairly large working space/ home office and having a smaller studio nearby. The messy studio is used for solitary working and painting. The home office for drawing and working behind screens. Both work enviroments have lots of light coming in and a good sound system for music.

I am most happy working on a sunny spring morning with the sunlight coming in, nice music on and a really good espresso.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

For me inspiration comes a lot from browsing various blogs, design websites and Pinterest, watching movies, documentaries and reading magazines and books.

Inspiration for my art comes mostly from my personal interest in positive thinking and imaginary worlds populated with strange characters where everything is possible. 

Who is the person you admire most?

When I was younger I liked bands and DJ’s but I never really admired any rock stars or Hollywood movie stars. I still feel that I should not compare myself with others but I do find some people interesting.

This small list of people changes all the time but currently I like (not in this perticular order) Richard Branson (his biography is awesome) for his entrepreneurship, Les Brown (on Youtube) for his enthousiasm on finding and persuing your personal dreams, Takashi Murakami for his unique efforts of bringing Manga / Anim? into the art world and Seth Godin for his marketing vision.