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Mark Oliver

Mark Oliver

This is the portfolio of Mark Oliver. Explore. You will find a range of illustration approaches in paint, digital and sculptural. Mark is an established, professional illustrator and a problem solver who enjoys a challenging brief. He has awards for his Children's books and print illustration. Mark is primarily an illustrator, but he has also exhibited his work in Europe and USA.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Mark: My father was an engineer and a great inspiration. So a lust for drawing plus a plethora of technical literature produced an Illustrator. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Mark: I studied Graphics, but had no formal Illustration training. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Mark: I live in Brighton. Nowhere has it all, but Brighton gets close. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Mark: I’ve just left The Annexe in Brighton, which is full of wonderful Illustrators and designers. Unfortunately the part I was in was run by Mrs. Gaddafi, we didn’t get on. So now I’m at home. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Mark: Good ole’ Dad, again. Question: How do you get your ideas? Mark: From Haynes Manuals. Question: Do you collect anything? Mark: All sorts of broken, rusty, torn, faded or burnt bits and pieces. I’m attracted to the natural decay of old objects. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Mark: No, but I do collect scrap for my 'Litter Bugs'. I have drawers full of old rubbish. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Mark: Junk shops, drinking and travel. Question: What is the first record you bought? Mark: 'Life on Mars', David Bowie. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed. Mark: I’ve just finished the follow up to a picture book for Macmillan called 'Aliens. An Owner’s Guide', (the first book was 'Monsters. An Owner’s Guide'). It’s all paint and collage, no computers were harmed in the production.
Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Mark: It would be a character development project, something with mechanical elements to it, but not too serious. I like things to look fantastic but still workable. Question: Who are your art heroes? Mark: Marcel Duchamp, Peter Howson and Gustave Doré. Question: Who are your illustration heroes? Mark: Hergé, Hiroshige, Norman Rockwell and Heath Robinson. Question: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Mark: 'The more you know, the more you see', from my History of Art Lecturer. Question: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into illustration? Mark: Spend time with designers, Art Directors/Editors in order to fully understand the job they do. Illustration is about communication. Question: What about when you hit "the wall" with an illustration? How do you cope with that? Mark: I use synergetic thinking. Surround yourself with books, images and things which generally inspire you, then make connections between those things and the brief you are working on. I worked as an Art Director and the process of 'brainstorming' with a writer is ideas bounce around the room. Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Mark: Victorian England during the Industrial Revolution. Really making things.
Macmillan, Bloomsbury, Hodder, Faber & Faber, Egmont, Oxford University Press, Little Tiger Press, Chronicle

Café: Carats Cafe, Shoreham.
Gallery : Musée d’Orsay
Art Equipment/Tool: Tracing paper 90g/m or heavier
Drink: Margarita
Blog : bibliodyssey
Magazine: Modern Mechanix