Incredible Inception-esque Illustrations

Could these illustrations have been inspired by Christopher Nolan's psychological sci-fi action film Inception? How else could you explain how they look like they're based upon dreams within a dream? Regardless, full-time freelance illustrator Miguel Mansur has made one mesmerizing collection of work that's filled with strange and shocking stories.

“I am a fellow who feels that he can bring extra value to clients project more so then what a client would receive from any stock image,” he says on his Behance page. “I like to bring new and different concepts into the projects I dive into. So that the client's end result is a very unique soulful product that stands out in today's commercial world.”

Update: After we wrote this post, we got in touch with the illustrator to ask him a few questions, including if his illustrations have been, in fact, inspired by Inception. Read his answers, below.

Were you ever inspired by the movie Inception when you created your illustrations?
Yes, I have been inspired by the movie Inception but I also have a number of other sources to draw ideas and concepts from. Such as FLCL, that's where the origin of my color palette came from. But going back to Inception, there is one illustration that I can say came from it. That would be the cover art for Albert Camus The Rebel. Also I really dig the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, which I sometimes just put on and work on a project to.

What tools do you use to create your illustrations?
Well, my process is pretty simple. It's usually a mix of both traditional and digital. I always start with graphite on tracing paper. I try to figure out all my problems there first, such as composition and anatomy and other things that might need to be solved or questioned. Then, once I solved and answered all of these problems, I redraw the illustration still using graphite but, this time, on Mylar paper, which gives the whole drawing a different look also at this point the drawings are usually 18×24 or 36×24 inches. Then, once I am done redrawing, I scan the illustration in parts since it's too big to fit the whole thing on a scanner.

Once that is done, I photomerge it in Photoshop and add color. That's the whole process I follow these steps for every illustration I make, though I might add something different to the mix if it adds to the project.

How important is it to stand out from the crowd? How do you achieve this?
Well, I think it's very important to stand out from the crowd, but as you have a few thousand established artist and having more coming into the industry who just graduated added to the mix every year. I think sometimes it's impossible to stand out from crowd you are just bound to see or hear about someone who shares elements of your style. So what I think is more important is that the artist should have a strong will and keep doing what he or she likes to do and block everything out. Not to say do not listen to feedback. Just keep in mind that you might share elements of your style with someone else and that is not a bad thing and it's not the end.

I am not really sure how I achieve this, I just get a vision for an illustration and go for it. I do not stop and ask questions like “Did that artist or that other artist do something like this?” ‘Cause that would just kill the project for me. And, if someone happened to have done something I had in mind, it does not mean I am not going to do it. I am just going to do it my way.

How do you stay creative?
Staying creative? I just have a strong will that motivates me to make art, 'cause I know if this does not work out I am going to have to get a day job at some caf or something and that's just not for me, I have to be doing something creative. But aside from that there are a number of ways that I stay creative.

Watching movies. Some of the recent ones I have seen are Lost in Translation, Brick, Yojimbo, The Red Baron. I feel that movies really help one to better understand composition and use of color. Another is reading comics or graphic novels such as Y: The Last Man, Fables, and Asterios Polyp which I highly recommend for anyone who is a visual artist to pick up. Music would have to be another, stuff from Philip Glass, Yo Yo Ma, The Strokes and The Libertines. But for the most part – movies, music, comics and all the things in between – help me stay creative.

If I may add something, I would like to say to my follow artist to not let yourself get in the mindset that if your work does not make it into Society of Illustrators, 3×3, Creative Quarterly or any other annual art publication it does not mean that your work is not the best out there. I personally feel that it's an outdated way to get art directors to see your work. Nowadays, there are so many ways out there, to get art directors to look at your work and most of them are free. Sometimes, I think you might just be better off not applying to competitions like them and doing a lot of self-promotion on the Internet can go a long way as long as you are consistent. I am saying this because I have seen a lot of my peers really get down on themselves and question their ability to make art over this.

If anyone is interested in seeing more of my work or following me and future projects you can go over to or And, if anyone is up for buying prints now or in the future, you can drop by


Miguel Mansur's website

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim is the Editor-in-Chief of My Modern Met. In May, 2008, he co-founded the website to create one big city that celebrates creative ideas. His mission is to promote a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity—from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening.
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