Over the span of the next five years, as the set of hands grew, with larger thoughts and ideas, so did the sketch. With supportive parents, additions were made to this little sketch, with all kinds of fan pop graffiti until one day, the room was demolished for renovations. Sketching fantasy cities or ‘spectacular’ futuristic holiday resorts while growing up, his drawings would feature the architecture known to him at that time, nurturing the early interest in buildings.
Today, Mark’s Instagram account reveals many such cityscapes—some detailed to the intricate grills on the windows, while others showcase them within a larger context.
Currently residing not too far from where he grew up in Melbourne, this 53 year old artist usually makes his drawings on the tram. Having completed a degree in Graphic Design with the view of becoming an art director in advertising, Mark has been working as one for the past 28 years. “Drawing architecture is just an innate thing,” Mark says, “Okay, it’s an obsession!” Luckily, this obsession has found ways to coexist with his stable day job. With that, he has not always had to worry about living off solely on his drawings. From drawing houses for real estate advertisements back in 80s to showing to whole ad agency drawings he made on his recent 7 week European trip, the environs of his working lifestyle have always supported creativity.
The innateness of drawing for Mark keeps finding ways to escape out on paper. While travelling on the tram, Mark would usually read to consume time. Then, when one day he finished the entire works of ‘Game of Thrones’, he saw he needed to make his time more productive. So he started sitting on his usual seat, music in his ears, latest pen in hand, oblivious to much of the world, apart from the one he would start creating in his sketchbooks. He would deliberately take the long route to work, so as to not be interrupted. “I love that this personal time and what comes out is so enjoyed by the many who comment when I share it,” says Mark. The response from social media has truly overwhelmed him. “I know I have a strong inner confidence but it’s so deep and often hard for me to find,” he says. “It’s hard to believe people when they praise me.” But the number of followers has not only reinforced the importance of drawing for him, but has also helped him monitor his own development, seeing the drawings turn out day after day. Many comments come in and a YouTube video channel has also been requested. But at the same time, thanks to his experience with art buying and commissioning many illustrations, he has noticed that social media has many scavengers. “I’m not willing to sell my work for any price,” he says.
His current style is a result of a relentless period of sketching. At the time he was drawing for real estate, colour shots in classifieds were too expensive. “Black and white shots were the norm which looked bland,” Mark says. “So I put contrast-y shadows in my drawings for impact in newsprint.” Mark loves the use of black; the grey in his drawings are almost like an illusion. “To me, grey has certain negative connotations,” he explains, “but I like to achieve halftones in drawing as it is essential to describe form.” Evolution is what Mark believes in and it is this process that bring new techniques to him. He has recently been trying to add a row of slightly angled verticals on top of dead straight lines and repeats the process for the darkest tones.
“I know I have a strong inner confidence
but it’s so deep and often hard for me to find.”
When it comes to the medium of sketchbooks, evolution here also becomes important to Mark. A usual user of Moleskines, Mark recently realised that his latest book was not only slightly different in tone, but also that a thick hair had infiltrated the pages, embossing itself over many leafs. “That’s why,” mark explains, “I have decided to bring out my own range.” He is currently seeking quotes on a few models of dedicated notebooks with one to contain drawing guides and Instagram tips that he can impart. The colour and quality of paper is paramount to him.
Recently, Mark and his wife embarked on a Europe trip which came after a period of 28 long years since his first trip there. “I think it was watching all those Bond movies as a child that hooked me,” he says explaining the trip. Spending five weeks in Italy, few days each in Copenhagen, Paris and London, his trip was all about acquainting and reacquainting. He saw some of his favourite buildings come to life, while some he realised had changed, as the city and the people around grew. With the thrill and adventure of travel, Mark understands cities as they best need to be understood—as a living organism, evolving with time.
“Drawing almost consumes me.“
When he is not sketching, Mark would usually be spending time with his family. But most of the times, including 7am on a winter morning, Mark would be happily sketching on in his book. “Drawing almost consumes me,” he explains. “It’s always been a passion.”Mark swears by the commitment and hardwork that drawing requires.
He pushes himself, and works late if he has to. “For beginners,” he suggests, “overcoming their fear and building self-confidence through small steps is important.” He believes that while art schools can provide with opportunities, the craving for image making has to come from within. And that craving needs to be fed—with analysing line work, perspectives, lights and composition amongst other things.
Mark’s muses are the cities—the ones he lives in and he travels to. He observes, sketches them down and on social media, he sometimes leaves a clue within his sketches, for us to guess what his latest muse was. His exploration and rediscovering of techniques is almost like walking on the paths of the cities that inspire him—where sometimes if he gets lost, he only finds something new; both in the city and himself.
You can write to Mark – firstname.lastname@example.org