Just the other day, I was browsing through Instagram and I came across some eye-catching work from up-and-coming illustrator Marcus Marritt.
Despite only being an illustrator for three years, Marcus has done some impressive work for a number of high profile names including Chelsea FC, JP Morgan and WIRED Magazine.
Marcus’ eye for vibrant colours, subtle gradients and minimalist approach to illustration gives his work a distinct and unmistakable style.
With such a diverse portfolio, I was keen to get to know Marcus and his process a bit better. Luckily for us, he kindly agreed to an interview.
- How long have you been involved with illustration?
“I have been full time as an illustrator close to 3 years now. Before that, I had been drawing since a teenager. Though I wasn’t allowed to do A-Level Art at school as I only got a D at GCSE, so I had a few years off!”
- When did you realise that you wanted to become an illustrator?
“I lived in New Zealand for a time, and it was the circumstance that brought me back home that made me realise you have to do what you love the most. So I would say I had a couple of years run up to going full time, knowing that is what I wanted to do. I drew alot as a kid, mostly comic book characters. Though my work in design agencies in the UK, Australia and NZ opened my eyes to illustration in industry.”
- What other illustrators do you take inspiration from?
“Sean Phillips, Thomas Danthony, Phil Galloway, Daniel Nyari, John W Tomac, Marly Gallardo, Malika Favre – there are so many I could mention. Though any visual artist can be an inspiration, Charles Sheener is a big inspiration.”
- What portfolio piece is your personal favourite?
“Ah tough question, I changes every week! My work for BT Sports and the relaunch of Construction Manager front cover have been highlights of the past year. Though my personal work, those I sell as prints are what I love working on the most. Solo Climber and Midnight Gold being favourites of mine.”
- What does a usual day involve for you?
“I’m very lucky to have a swimming pool across the road, so swimming first thing, then typically start production work at 10am. I like to work while it’s dark outside so late nights are regular. The flexibility of being self employed is a big bonus.”
- How do you go about promoting your work?
“I ensure I book time in my schedule to keep my website up to date with new projects, this includes my various portfolios online. Also using the benefits of organisations like The Association of Illustrators and the Directory of Illustration to share news stories about new projects. I do send out weekly emails to industry contacts (mostly art directors) sharing new work from the past week. It is also important to regularly contact new people / organisations you want to work with, via email contact or sending postcards.”
- What’s the best thing about your job?
“The unknown of everyday is a real bonus. You never know what brief may come in!”
- What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
“I’m not sure I would label this a ‘challenge’, but it is so important to be developing your work all the time. The longer I work as a illustrator, the more important I know it is to have your own unique look and feel, a style you are known for. Don’t let this become stagnant.”
- What’s your ultimate aspiration?
“If I am able to work as an illustrator to the end of my days (I don’t mean to be morbid!) then I will die a very happy man. Though illustrating the front cover of The New Yorker is a bucket list job!”
- What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?
“Figure out the type of work you want to do, and focus on that. Learn from others, but never ever copy. Looking back at my early work, I was leaning too heavily on the work of others. Make yourself unique so art directors come to you for what you can do. “
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