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A Conversation with… Mark Bird

Posted by Nicole Yeardley
18/11/2016

Wallsauce.com offer a warm welcome to the highly-demanded illustrator, Mark Bird.  We’ve collaborated with Mark to bring you fairy tale inspired murals that are colourful, playful and whimsical!

Mark Bird began his career working for CBeebies TV and since featuring on the front page of Reddit, Mark has been in high-demand and produced illustrations for the likes of Which? Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Quarto Children’s books, and Kiehl’s.

With such an impressive CV, we asked Mark about his journey so far:

“Being an Illustrator is by no means the easiest job but it can be one of the most rewarding and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I started freelancing many years ago as a graphic designer. I had always wanted to work for myself and create my own illustrations for others to enjoy, but it wasn’t until I did a degree in graphic design at Salford that I learnt the tools I now use on a daily basis.”

Most of his mural collection features familiar fairy tale faces. ‘Waves of Imagination’ in particular incorporates many well-known characters from classic children’s fiction including the Wizard of Oz, Moby Dick and Alice in Wonderland combined with nursery rhyme characters like Little Red Riding Hood.

Mark-bird-Waves-of-imagination-wall-mural

Mural: 'Waves of Imagination'

Mark discussed this mural:

“It was a piece that attempted to epitomise what it was about illustration that I loved so much and what lead me to illustrate for a living.  ‘Waves of Imaginations’ was originally intended to be a sea of books with well-known characters from stories and nursery rhymes emanating from them. After working on the sketches, the characters that stood out for me could be easily split between water and land and that sense of dreamlike transition between the two resonated with me and what I wanted to achieve.

It’s too easy as we grow up to lose the sense of imagination that once surrounded us as children and this piece was a homage to wonderful literary works that have inspired generations of children, including myself, and lit a fire in their imaginations.

My hope is that children (and adults) would be inspired by this piece and use their imaginations to create their own stories, in the same way I did when I was a child reading my favourite books.”

Another fanciful illustration that can be found in Mark’s mural collection is titled, ‘The Circus’. This also comes with an interesting background:

“The characters are some of my favourite and always make me smile. My approach to the majority of my work is to simplify without sacrificing expression or emotion - I feel that this piece best sums up that approach. ‘The Circus’ was one of the pieces I most enjoyed illustrating and possibly one of the most challenging.”

Mark-bird-The-Circus-wall-mural

Mural: 'The Circus'

Although the majority of the illustrative murals would look great in a child’s bedroom or in a nursery, there are a couple within the collection that would suit other rooms around the house.

Mark-Bird-looks-like-rain-wall-mural

Mural: 'Looks Like Rain'

Mark-bird-know-what''s-good-for-you-wall-murals

Mural: 'Know What's Good For You'

With a “large visual appetite” we questioned Mark about his influences:

“I am heavily influenced by nature and interactions with people, but these influences are largely subconscious. I take in my surroundings like a sponge and ring it out on the paper at a later date. I am constantly looking at other artists and illustrators work too. I’m inspired by certain parts of their creations and feed that into my work in an effort to constantly improve.  Jon Klassen, Riccardo Guasco, Poly Bernatene, Scott C and Tom Gauld are a few core illustrators who were a big inspiration for the style I work in.”

So, what would it mean to Mark to see his work on your walls?

“Seeing my work up on the wall of someone else’s home is a large part of why I do what I do for a living. As an illustrator, you always want to produce your best work and I try to come up with something a little different that is hopefully unique. Having someone else put that part of your imagination up on their wall to appreciate or maybe even inspire them is one of the greatest honours I could have. Seeing someone fill an entire wall with my work, therefore couldn’t be more satisfying!”

Choose your favourite Mark Bird wall mural over on our website today.

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