Freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer Mark Wickham has had tremendous success with the publication of his first picture book, ‘Brian and the Vikings’. Mark, originally of Bantry, worked in collaboration with well known children’s author Chris Judge to produce the book which tells the story of a young Brian Boru who, although the smallest boy in the village is also the smartest and how his clever invention helps thwart the Vikings. The book has been published by O’Briens Press and there was a large turnout at the book-launch which was held at the Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar, Dublin.
Mark says ‘I was always doodling and drawing since I was a kid. But I have always been wary about doing it as a full time job because I don’t want it to take the enjoyment out of it. But I have been gradually doing more and more illustration work and it is still highly enjoyable, so it will work out’. The illustrations have a very modern and unique aspect to them and the popular children’s surreal cartoon, Adventure Time, has been a strong influence. When asked what his advice to any young people hoping to get into illustration is, Mark said ‘Keep drawing every single day. A lot of my work has been done on computers but nothing beats paper and a pencil’.
Hoggis and Figgis, Ireland’s oldest Bookshop which was established in 1768, displayed an enormous dragon from the story made by Mick Minogue, which was a crowd-pleaser. Mark and Chris are delighted with the sales of the book as it is very rare that a children’s picture book makes it onto a Hoggis and Figgis top 20 bestseller list.
Now that Mark knows the demands of the market from sample-spreads to storyboards, he says he has a few good ideas up his sleeve for the future.