About Freelance Illustrator Mr. Upside

About Freelance Illustrator Michiel Nagtegaal - MrUpside webshop limited edition art prints

Freelance illustrator

Michiel Nagtegaal (1974) is Dutch Freelance Illustrator Mr. Upside, UX/UI Designer and abstract artist, with more than 20 years of experience, working both for creative agencies or on client side. He is based in Voorburg, the Netherlands (near The Hague) but also works on location with clients.

Besides being a passionate designer and illustrator, he is a father of a daughter and a son and partner of Janette van Tol. Janette runs a webshop and store from home, making and selling handmade leather bags.


Michiel has a carefree childhood in Delft, the Netherlands. He doesn't have any brothers or sisters but has many friends. When his friends are not around, he draws. Drawing makes him loose track of time and it develops his intuition for color and form. His ambition is to become a well-known illustrator of comic books. But after high school and six months Graphic School he abandons those dreams and starts working full time.


For Michiel money isn't the world, but it surely equals freedom. In the early days of house music and together with two companions, he co-founds a company that organises house music events in local venues. Michiel likes to design the flyers. Those flyers and his comics become part of the print portfolio he takes with him when he successfully applies for a graphic design job at an advertising agency.


During the rise of the Internet, he 'upgrades' this graphic design job for a webdesign job at an internet agency. In the evenings, together with friend and skilled developer Marc Molenwijk, he founds internet agency Suburban Media in 2000.

In 2005 clients are getting bigger, a third companion, Koen Borgman, joins the company that's now renamed Supershift and Michiel learns that managing a company is not one of his passions. He misses the freedom to create. In 2007, when the small internet agency employs more than five people, Michiel leaves the company and starts a successful career as Freelance Designer.

Wise words

He is 38 when daughter Zoë is born. Fatherhood makes him thinking about the future and the wisdom that he will pass on to his daughter. Things like: 'Do whatever you like, as long as you do it with passion' and 'Follow your dreams'.

But which of all that wisdom does he practice himself? He realises that ultimate (creative) freedom only can be achieved as an artist. 

Increase energy

Just like film, books, news and music, art has the power to influence the energy levels of the viewer. Emotions in the artworks are reflected in the viewer. But why would you want to make the viewer sad or angry? What is the point in decreasing the energy of the viewer? 

Michiel feels that art should always try to increase and lift the energy of the viewer. One way to reach that goal is to use the vibrant colors Michiel Nagtegaal uses in his artworks.