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Let's talk Mascots and More with Mark Lester Jarmin

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Today we talk to Mascot Illustrator Mark Lester Jarmin from the Philippines. He shares with us how to gain passive income by selling on GraphicRiver, why he prefers CorelDraw over Adobe Illustrator and what exactly he'd do for a lifetime supply of Mountain Dew!


Q Hey Mark, could you please introduce yourself and what you do to the Vectortuts+ readers?

I'm Mark Lester Jarmin, a freelance illustrator from the City of Smiles - Bacolod, Philippines. I specialize in creating custom character mascot design, fun illustrations and cartoon logo design.

I am a Business Management graduate/survivor but later on pursued my passion for digital arts and illustration. I'm a self taught artventurer and started my humble beginnings through traditional mediums as a SignMaker and worked my way to become an in-house graphic artist in our local mall. With various opportunities via the web plus a higher, much-much higher source of income, I started doing freelance work.

Q How have you found the transition from full time employment to freelancing? What difficulties did you encounter and how did you overcome them? As a freelance illustrator, what would be your average day to day activities?

I actually started joining crowdsourced graphic design contests to test out my skills. It worked out well and just about a month after, I resigned and decided to go freelance full time. I have no idea about speculative work at that time and it was the only OPPORTUNITY I see. It was great at first but then I quit. There are many lessons I have learned from that experience and one thing is to always VALUE YOUR WORK.

The DIFFICULTIES I have encountered when I started was establishing a good business. I have to come up with a good website, exposure, produce project estimates and invoice, contracts and documentations, etc... All of this is through great books and research online. The CHALLENGE is to further develop my skills, create more client relationships, and time management. I think all of this is part of development process and each day I still learn and discover more.

My average day to day activity begins at 10pm after watching crappy telenovelas . lol! I'm a Mountain Dew addict so I need it to kickstart my head. I start by answering emails, sketch or rendering the whole night. Because I always fail at keeping up with my schedule, I work through weekends to meet deadlines.

Q How did you get into vector art?

I only knew Photoshop when I started as an in-house graphic artist. There I met CorelDrawX3 which is primarily used in the office for large print requirements such as tarps, posters, backdrops for events and billboards, etc... It was a bit challenging at first but it took me about a week to learn the basic and day-by-day 'til now, I still learn and discover more.

I love to draw cartoon characters and vector is perfect for my style. I like the way you can achieve perfect curves and straight lines plus it is scalable without any image quality loss. I researched, studied and started experimenting further with my illustration approach and techniques. Since then, vector has always been my favorite tool.

Q What are your tools of the trade?

  • OS:       PC windows 7
  • Softwares:         CorelDraw X5 for vector rendering, Photoshop for sketch
  • Hardware:         Wacom Cintiq12wx, Bamboo Pen & Touch

Q Firstly, I’m jealous of your Cintiq but I promise to be nice still in this interview! CorelDraw X5 though? What appeals to you most about CorelDraw rather than the more popular Adobe Illustrator? Have you tried AI in comparison?

I think it all ends up being a personal choice as to what you can do and make the best out of CDR or AI. I tried both softwares and of course each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The reasons why I personally prefer using CorelDraw are The SHORTCUT KEYS which you can assign almost any command. BERZIER TOOL is the best and always been the reason why I have control over the nodes and curves (less nodes, more curves), BOLEAN OPERATIONS - Trim, Weld, Intersect, and the power of CDR to open some if not most AI or EPS and produce different formats as well.

Overall, it's more of taking control over the software. I work fast, efficient and produce high quality vector artwork using my CorelDraw and other can do as well as with AI or other program. Whatever vector program or software you prefer to produce great artwork, there is no such thing as shortrtcut Ctrl+Alt+Art only Ctrl+Alt+Hardwork.

Q You've got a great portfolio and plenty of items available for sale on GraphicRiver, what was it about creating mascots which appeals to you most?

I love creating mascots. It is FUN and the appeal is you create a personality for each character you make. It has its purpose and rather than just a logo for branding, mascots are great for improving website or product's identity.

Mascot illustration projects for clients and GraphicRiver marketplace both requires lively imagination and good understanding to the right approach. The appeal between client projects and the marketplace is the CHALLENGE. Client projects of-course will be based on the required project brief and the outcome should be unique and identifiable to the brand. Creating mascot for the marketplace will depend on the taste of the buyers based on your style and the more "generic" or application that they can use, the better.

Q Do you have any advice/tips for those wishing to sell on GraphicRiver?

GraphicRiver is one of the best way to earn PASSIVE INCOME. As a freelance illustrator, there are also dry times when you have less project or in a vacation.

This is also a great way for EXPOSURE. If you come to think of it, your stock artwork illustration serves as your portfolio in the marketplace showcasing your style and capabilities as a designer/illustrator and it earns at the same time.

Most of my project actually comes through GraphicRiver who are interested in having their own personal mascot. The more inquiries, the better PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES.

Q A little birdy tells me you’re creating a tutorial on mascot design, do you have a couple of quick tips you can share with us on mascot design as a preview?

Watch cartoons! Study them and try to break them apart. Determine each body parts using simple shapes SPHERE, ELIPSE and CUBE. Try moving them using the line of action to work on the pose. Just play around with it. Practice, practice, practice...

Q If you could design a mascot for any client, who would it be and why?

MOUNTAIN DEW! :D It has always been my fuel for ideas, inspiration and of course staying up late at night. My teeth is yellow and I bleed green. That's how I love the DEW that much. I'll create them a HyperActive Zombie mascot in exchange for a year or lifetime supply. Oooh!

Q Thank you for some great insight Mark, it’s been a pleasure to interview you. Do you have any parting words?

You are always welcome Sharon. Thank you Vectortuts+ for giving me the opportunity to share my few insights, ideas and experiences as a vectorista.

For fellow designers and aspiring illustrators, always be prepared when opportunity knocks. There are no shortcuts and all the difficulties you encounter are part of the challenge. Grow, learn and inspire others at what you do and the most important of all is to value your work.

Mark Lester Jarmin on the Web

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