Milly McMahon Feb 05
Five minutes with… Mark
An optimistic, joyful aesthetic typifies the colourful work of Method Designs, in-house illustrator Mark. Creating caricatures of colleagues, landscapes animals and people, all vivaciously dreamt up from the wide expanses of his wild imagination, Marks work is rich in personality. Taking inspiration from comic books, early Warner Brothers cartoons and the work of illustrators Derek Yaniger and Tomm Moore, Mark simply adores drawing. Growing up in an 'arty' household, Marks father worked as a graphic designer and his mother an artist.
Collaborating with clients to create and conceptualise unique and engaging images, expressing a light sense of innocence and optimism, strong lines and eye catching colours decorate Marks pictures. Inspired by the challenge to take on a project which allows him to flex his creative muscles, Mark has contributed to the strong but simple brand identity of Method Design. A kind character with patience and a distinct curiosity for captivating an adult audience with childlike intrigue, Marks baby girl keep his illustrations fresh and his mind active. Method Design caught up with their in-house man, in-the-know Mark to discuss how important design and imagination is to business and commerce.
There is an effortless sense of fun and energy to your work, is this representative of your personality?
I like to think I have a good sense of fun although my energy levels directly correlate to my coffee intake. Like all illustrators I have borrowed, adapted and taken inspiration from many artists. Growing up, my hours of cartoon viewing certainly influenced my style. But ultimately most things I draw tend to be cute, l’m aiming to please my wife.
What is your background in illustration?
Growing up I was always scribbling. I studied graphic design at art college but despite advice from my lecturers to switch to illustration I stubbornly stayed with graphic design. When I graduated I naively pursued a job in a field completely unrelated to art and got used to the money. But after a few years I realised it was time to bite the bullet and go back to what I loved.
How do you attempt to capture a person, encapsulating their personality with a fun and light sense of optimism?
Drawing real people is the hardest part of my work because I must balance perception and expectation. It can also be one of the most gratifying experiences when the client is pleased with the results.
What are your ambitions?
I have always wanted to illustrate and publish a children's book. That is something I am working on in my rare free time.
What colours and designs tend to draw more attention from commercial audiences?
I've noticed a shift towards a flat geometric style illustration over more traditional hand drawn style.
Do you have a photographic memory, how do you conceptualise a piece of work from the initial brief?
Truth be told, I have a terrible memory. Sometimes an idea will pop straight into my head. Other times it takes an considerable amount of thought and research.
What materials do you work with?
All my work tends to be digital. In the past, I've used an iMac and large Wacom drawing tablet but now I mostly use a iPad Pro so I have the freedom to wander and work.
Who have been some of the more creative clients you have enjoyed had the benefit of working with?
I always enjoy working with the education sector. I've been fortunate enough to frequently work alongside teachers. I've had excellent feedback, knowing the children have benefitted from my illustrations is very uplifting.
What is the best animated film you have ever watch?
That's a very difficult choice, I love everything from The Secret of Nimh to ParaNorman to The Incredibles. Thanks to my daughter’s obsession with Frozen I tend to avoid Disney these days.
If someone were to draw you what facets of your personality would you hope would be illuminated?
I would hope my odd sense of humour and slightly strange imagination would shine through.