I am delighted you want to find out more about me personally, however please talk to my agents about commissions as they handle all of that for me. I look forward to working with you.
Mark Oliver

Mark Oliver



Mark took his foundation course at Stevenage Polytechnic, before doing a degree in graphic design at Middlesex University.


Adapting to the challenge of any brief is what excites Mark. He’s used a wide range of media during his career, from physical painting and collage through to Illustrator and Photoshop. Most projects these days are tackled digitally, but he loves to draw and paint as well if it suits the commission.


Mark works in a variety of styles that he adapts to suit the requirements of a job. His favourite at the moment involves an isometric perspective with a distressed finish using a retro palette. He likes the look and feel of old photos from the 50s and 60s, as well as Polaroids, and has a collection of vintage paper and card that he uses to bring real world textures into his work.
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