Michael Wertz

Andy Cowitt

Michael Wertz is a commercial artist who creates images for books, products, ads, CDs, and movie trailers. He lives in Oakland, California, and teaches at the California College of the Arts in the illustration department.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Illustrations by Joseph Schindelman.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

It’s a poem by O’Shaughnessy, “Ode”:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Lynda Barry, Gary Panter, Vivienne Flesher

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

Illustration runs in the family. My older brother went to the same art school that I attended – CCAC. When I was a teenager, my older siblings shared their music with me. The imagery on those albums – the fold-out 12” records (with accompanying booklets and inserts) made me want to create imagery as well.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Perseverance and hard work will take you far. Show up to work every day. Keep a sketchbook, and draw every single day. Have fun if at all possible.