I’m quite excited to announce that Mark has also allowed us the exclusive privilege to witness the evolution of one of his art creations, "Lucy's Wolf" by rewinding the clock from finished product to initial concept through the four step-by-step images showcased here. If you’ve always been curious to learn how an idea becomes a jaw-dropping reality…now’s your chance.
It’s a great pleasure to introduce you to Mark Anthony Crittenden.
RAGE: In one sentence, describe everything there is to know about your illustrations.
MAC: It's anything full of teeth, and psychosomatic illness, and just a touch of charm.
RAGE: Tell us your latest news.
MAC: The magazine Graveyard Tales will feature a reprint of one of my stories and an illustration. I was very pleased to make the debut issue of this magazine (which is available for purchase now, by the way). That occasion was a first for me.
RAGE: In order to clarify, should we address you as an artist or illustrator? Is there a distinction?
MAC: Oh yes, there is a big distinction. The artist often just talks about it, the illustrator actually does it. I am the latter.
RAGE: What defines you as an illustrator? Was there one significant moment in your life? Who are your biggest inspirations?
MAC: I am defined by the long hours that I have spent in a transformative process, and by all those who said I couldn't do it, bless them all. All the people out there who struggle and get knocked down and just keep getting back up…they are my inspiration, and I will never stop cheering them on.
RAGE: I know you sometimes employ models for specific projects, and as each illustrator has a unique creative process, please explain yours.
MAC: That would require a very long answer. I can tell you that there is a definite formula for selecting the right model for a composition. It's all about finding the personality of the image and then working in reverse, establishing a mood in my own singular style. I enjoy the challenge of also doing photo-manipulation and trying to maintain a level of illustration within the piece. In every case I try to produce something exquisite, even if it takes everything out of me. I will easily spend 40-60 hours on a cover illustration, and I won't stop until it meets my standards.
RAGE: You post many links to music videos on your blog. How much does music influence your work? What other passions drive you to create?
MAC: Music is definitely the tie that binds us to our creativity. Whenever we are composing we are creating music. That is to say, everything is lyrical and literal and symbolic. We are all of us conduits and tiny firestorms.
RAGE: You are also a published writer. Your fiction and poetry has appeared on your blog, Micro 100 and Champagne Shivers. Does your artwork inspire your fiction or vice versa? Where else are you published? New stories in the works?
MAC: I will say this: Everything I do is visual to some degree. I am trying to transport the viewer somewhere and paint a picture-either with a stylus or with words. Unfortunately because I am living between two worlds, that of an illustrator and a writer, I sometimes spread myself thin and it is hard to get my writing out to all the markets I would hope for. There is a flash fiction special in the form of a free pdf download now available from Morpheus Tales:
RAGE: If a publisher or writer wants to commission you for work, what’s the best means to contact you?
MAC: Well, I have always gone to them originally, but I am hoping that changes. Just like the subjects we write about –we don't always choose them. Sometimes they choose us. My email is at the top of my blog:
RAGE: What advice can you give to up-and-coming illustrators wanting to see their work published?
MAC: Be willing to give everything for what you do. Be concise and sure-footed and tenacious, and if that doesn't work pole vault yourself into the opposition. Be a lightning bolt. Don't be afraid to refine your techniques. Always be changing.
RAGE: Final thoughts?
MAC: I just want to thank you, Angel, for this interview and the chance to rant for a while. I also want to thank all of the writers out there who are doing everything in their power to be heard, to make their mark. I raise my glass to you and salute you. You are in many ways the voice of today. Keep rising to new heights. I will be watching out for you!
Thank you, Mark!