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Exploring illustrator John Mata's out of this world creativity

Meet John Mata, an illustrator and graphic designer who calls Dallas, Texas his home. John’s passion for vintage space travel and mid-century textures can be found in much of his work. Learn more about John as he tells us more about the themes and people who have greatly influenced his creative career.

Tell us about yourself and where you work.

My day job is designing trading cards for the MLB, NFL, and NBA. Yes, people still collect baseball cards. I’ve been fortunate to do that for over ten years. During this time, I’ve met tons of pro athletes and have learned from some of the best sports designers in the business.

At night and on the weekends, I’m a freelance illustrator. I never considered myself an illustrator, but I have to thank Stewart Scott-Curran who was working at Intercom at the time. He saw my work and asked me to do a few blog illustrations. It ignited a passion in me that was missing from my work.

What else are you passionate about outside design? How does it influence your work?

I’m obsessed with vintage space travel. Specifically the Apollo program. I love the look and feel of that era and I use it often in my work. Lately, I can’t stop working on space art, since 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

  1. Space GOAT nasa poster space texture
  2. July 20, 1969 - Apollo XI apollo11 astronaut badge illustration moon nasa space
  3. Apollo XI- 49th Anniversary badge moon nasa poster space vintage
  1. Apollo XI - 50th Anniversary badges collage nasa poster space stamp swiss design vector vintage
  2. Apollo XI - 50th Anniversary apollo illustration moon moon landing nasa space space art stamp swiss design vintage
  3. Apollo XI - 50th Anniversary badges collage nasa poster space stamp swiss design vector vintage

What’s your favorite piece of creative advice?

I got my big break at 28, which is way past most. As difficult as it is, try not to compare your story to someone else’s. Talent is talent and if you work hard, it’s amazing how many good opportunities come your way.

Who’s another Dribbble designer you admire that you’d like to shout-out?

It’s got to be Brad Woodard of Brave the Woods. Not only does he support my work, but he’s also a great guy and he works hard to help the design community.

SpaceRanger PSD Brush Kit & Tutorial Pack 50s astronaut cowboy lettering mid century moon photoshop planet rocket space spaceship stars

SpaceRanger PSD Brush Kit & Tutorial Pack

by Brad Woodard

It is finally here! I am so excited to announce the release of my very first brush set, in collaboration with RetroSupply Co.! It is called the SpaceRanger Photoshop Brush Kit & Tutorial Pack! Purchase here:

View on Dribbble

Do you have any events, speaking gigs, merch, workshops, classes, or products you’d like to shout-out?

I have a small shop where I sell my hand-printed art pretty cheap! Check it out at

Want to keep up with John? Find him on Dribbble, Instagram, Twitter, and at

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