The Blueprint: How Anime Artist McFlyy Found His Style

In the '90s, his Back to the Future namesake predicted twentieth-century style with a hot pink hoverboard and pre-HD Nike Air Mag gray. But in 2016, LA transplant McFlyy is setting graphic art trends with futuristic shades of fluorescent red, inspired by the work of Japanese giants Takashi Murakami and Akira Toriyama. Using vibrant Japanese-pop-art-style colors against dark shades and designs in his vectors (he paints, too), McFlyy’s individuality is fueled by a love for Anime cartoons and contrast. That same contrast carries over into his well-balanced demeanor — one part natural introvert who says he's underwhelmed by everything; one part fame-induced extrovert. It works.

But while McFlyy has worked with stars like YGGucci Mane and Chris Brown; and is set to release a book and two animated series (one called Dark Halo, and one called Black Pyramid with Brown for a streaming service), the blueprint to his creativity still has humble beginnings.

McFlyy's wild use of color and fantasy are derived from Murakami, and Toriyama influenced his Anime-style characters.

Toriyama is the creator of Dragon Ball Z, and Takashi Murakami is a painter that’s dope. I’ve always loved them so I always liked replicating their art and making my own until I had my own set style. From Murakami, I probably just took the idea of characters, like monsters, and the colorful design palette he uses. People say they love the colors that I choose; I created my own color palette to use so everything stands out. I got coloring and design from him.

The hardest part about coming into his own art style was earning the public's acceptance.

When people hit you up, they want certain things because they see you do it. It’s what everybody wants now so you gotta give them something else that’s better. They only want what’s hot. That’s the hardest part — trying to get people to like your actual original stuff.

If someone really supports your stuff, they really go hard for it. Nowadays people just follow me because it’s cool. I understand that, but it’s like, if you really like my stuff, you’ll support me in other ways besides commenting “Dope” under my picture [laughs]. You don’t have to buy anything. I mean, that’s a way, but ... You know how people say, “You should sell this on a shirt,” and then when you put it on a shirt, the person that said they’ll buy it doesn’t even buy it? I don’t get it. The whole generation’s moving so fast that they can’t really appreciate anything.

His breakthrough moment developing his voice as an artist came through a panda creation.

I started doing my own illustrations. I created this character at the end of 2014—it’s like a panda—and I would literally draw it in thousands of different ways, and I would just sell the illustrations. People were just buying them so I got started doing my own thing. It was like a shifting point of “I could do this without drawing from anywhere. I can do whatever I want to.” Maybe that was the first act. I’ve been knowing I could do it, but that was the first act of me trying to think different.

Now he's the one being imitated.

It’s a good and bad thing. I see it sometimes. It’s a difference between being inspired, and directly copying a style or copying the actual image, and then trying to pass it off as your own. I see people steal my stuff and then sell it on websites all the time. I see people that really just draw over my concepts and say they created the whole concept, and I see people that will re-draw from an idea. And that’s cool; that’s the difference. I used to feel like I needed to [correct them], but now I don’t care anymore. I have more important things to worry about.

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