Mark Verhaagen Highlark

Widely commissioned illustrator Mark Verhaagen has a style that borders on pop-art, bending candy-colored shapes into fonts, characters, and narrative scenery. His work, being extremely malleable, falls into a wide range of categories from advertisement to video games, all linked by an affinity for monsters and the worlds they bring with them. It’s sci-fi, cartooning, and lettering all at once. Mark’s overarching affinity for animating the imagination fuels the stories within his portfolio. His hefty list of clients includes AOL, the Amsterdam Historical Museum, and Air France.

Translating the majority of his illustrations digitally, Verhaagen introduces an additional dimension to his work. He allows the tool, in this case the computer, to play a role in his creative experimentation. As a result, his designs are polished, instantly ready for a screen or cover, yet undoubtedly his. Through multi-faceted characterization, Mark’s style resounds in every scene he brings to life, transcending the notion that digital art cannot be as genuine as its counterparts.

The aforementioned love of monsters and unusual realities is what gives Verhaagen’s work its distinct signature. His devotion to the supernatural tends to be child-oriented, but boasts the element of adorable folly that beckons to kids and adults alike. One of his projects, acutely labeled “The Monsters Project”, builds a bridge between age groups, and consequently erases the exclusivity often associated with the creative world. The initiative collects ideas of monsters as imagined by children and displays different versions rendered by practicing artists. The result is an immensely entertaining and friendly collaboration of sorts, with a whimsy that defines many of Mark’s other projects.

Additionally, though he’s often a commissioned artist, Mark’s pieces, while representing the vision of the clientele, never part with their souls, fulfilling the tricky double function of product and vessel for personal expression. Based in Berlin, Mark Verhaagen is an illustrator whose digitally rendered images interact with all manner of audiences. His basis is cartooning, but his specialty is injecting life into what lies within his lines.


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