There are few names that carry more weight in the illustration world than that of Mark English. His work has been a staple of the industry for decades, and has had tremendous influence on multiple generations of artists. The Society of Illustrators inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1983, and he continued to work in, and influence the market for years after that.
Sadly, this giant of illustration passed away last month. Many of you are probably aware of this, as there was no shortage of outpouring of emotions and memories about Mark that week on social media. But for our slightly younger audience who may not know about Mark’s work, and his legacy, we would like to share his art with you today… in the hopes that it may perhaps influence yet another generation of would-be illustrators.
Mark English has been one of the leading illustrators in the US and abroad for three decades. His unique style is easily recognizable in such publications as McCalls, Time, Sports Illustrated, Redbook, Atlantic Monthly, and others. He has won literally hundreds of awards for his work and has been the most awarded illustrator in the history of the Society of Illustrators in New York. His client list includes such notables as IBM, U.S. Park Service, RCA, GE, Ford, GM, and Honeywell.
Mark English was born on September 19, 1933 in Hubbard, Texas. He attended the Hubbard High School and graduated in 1951, after which he enrolled into the University of Texas. He was then drafted into the military during the Korean War. In 1954, English married his first wife, Peggy Ann Littlejohn. In 1960, Mark graduated with honours from The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, with a BFA in Advertising Design. After gaining work experience in advertising agencies for the automobile industry, English and his family moved to Connecticut in 1964. He began an illustrious career, working with publications such as TIME Magazine and Sports Illustrated among others in the corporate, pharmaceutical, music and postage industry. In 1977, Hallmark Cards offered Mark an Artist-in-Residency to teach classes to its creative staff in Kansas City. It was there that he met his second wife, Wendy Buskey, and they married in 1983. In 1995, English retired from illustrations and began to paint for galleries in earnest. The same year, English and his son John co-founded the Illustration Academy, an art and design workshop catering to students and professionals. From 1999 onwards, English’s work and paintings were exhibited in galleries across the United States and in London. His last exhibition was in 2019, in the Sager Braudis Gallery, in Columbia. Before his passing, English was living in Kansas Cit, Missouri with his wife.
On August 8, 2019, Mark English passed away peacefully, “after a brief illness” in Kansas City. He left behind four daughters; Donna, Stephanie, Emily, and Sarah, and a son, John.
If you’d like to learn more about Mark, and his work, check out the links below:
Mark’s website, showcasing his most current work:
An interview with Mark, conducted by artist, Brent Watkinson:
A video of Mark drawing a model from life:
A fantastic lecture conducted by Mark English, and the equally brilliant illustrator, Sterling Hundley:
Only the slightest of corrections to this wonderful remembrance: Mark and Wendy were living in Kansas City at the time of his death. Mark had taught throughout June at the Illustration Academy’s Summer Workshop and was still at the top of his game. He was a wonderful (and surprisingly humble, considering his stature) man and will be greatly missed.
And I agree. From what little time I spent with Mark, he was incredibly humble and accommodating. He took time to speak to me about his art, and the industry, not knowing me from any other person on the street.
I started at Hallmark the same year that Mark was brought in as Artist in Residence; he really was an inspiration and I think was responsible for their visiting lecturer that helped open up a lot of young artists’ eyes (including Thomas Blackshear, who apprenticed with Mark).
Mark and Wendy had a farm house in Kearney, MO (about 45 minutes or so outside of Kansas City). They had gutted it and completely rehabbed it and added a large attached studio; after a tornado skirted the property they moved to Liberty (another nearby town) and Hallmark bought the farm (so to speak) and used it as a retreat/workshop for the creative staff. Mark and Wendy eventually moved into a gorgeous rambling ranch house with a large studio in southern KC; Mark would often allow Illustration Academy students and instructors visit and go through his archive of illustration work.
Next time we’re together remind me to tell you the story of when Hallmark assigned me to teach Mark Photoshop (why is anyone’s guess). The fact that Mark never became a Photoshop user pretty much sums up how it went. 🙂
“visiting lecturer SERIES” is what I meant to type.
Mark is a hero of mine. A legend of legends.
Here is a link to download over 300 of his images from throughout his career:
Hey Thank you, these are truly great
Thanks for these, Francis!!!
Hello, would it be possible to reupload this fine collection? Dropbox displays that “This item was deleted”. Thank you!