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Mentor of the Day: Mark McDonnell

We’re super excited to be welcoming back another mentor, Mark McDonnell!

Mark McDonnell’s work as a designer has touched a wide variety of skill sets while working for many of the Studios. He originally worked as a layout (the background drawings provided for painting) artist on feature and television shows before becoming a full time character designer for any and all productions. His clients including Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney Toon Studios, Walt Disney Television Animation, Pixar, Miramax, Fox, H.I.T. Entertainment, New Line, Mattel, Sony, Legendary Pictures, The Jim Henson Company, Big Idea Inc. and many more.  Mark has become a highly respected designer in many facets of the industry but currently holds the title of Character Designer.

Last round, David Gutierrez was mentored by Mark and he had an excellent time. He decided to apply to Mark after he took one of his classes and realized he not only had an understanding of craft, but a way to communicate it. “Mark is really an exceptional teacher. He’s very honest about what works and what doesn’t and where something can improve.”

Mark and David spent the 10 weeks working on specific assignments tailored to Mark’s needs.  Mark is  happy to customize the experiences to his mentee’s needs.  As David kept working with Mark, “I kept finding out I had more questions to ask. Where I wanted to go was really only the beginning.”

David recommends people apply to Mark if they “are ready for a professional career; those that show real potential and just need a guiding hand…Have questions ready. It won’t do the applicant any good if they don’t know where they want to go with their work.”

As for Mark, he loved having a one-on-one relationship where you can see the growth and experience their understanding of a task(s).  He hopes to supply his next mentee with “an industry look at what it takes to become a proficient designer and artist working in the Animation and Entertainment Industry. Insight and experience can help to solve problems on a job, I hope to bring that to a willing artist(s) who’s asking the right questions.”

Mark is looking for an individual who is willing to put in the hours needed for growth and capable of fulfilling a task set before them. “I’m primarily a character designer but also specialize in gesture drawing and storytelling in regards to visual development and storyboard artists. Passion is the key. It’s what’s needed to get to the next level.”  So if you have that passion, apply to Mark soon!

Be sure to check out his book, The Art and Feel of Making it Real: Gesture Drawing for the Animation and Entertainment Industry which is an industry leading instructional book and is championed at many national and international schools specializing in entertainment design with and emphasis in storytelling.  If you’re down at Comic-Con next week, stop by his booth and make sure to check out his new limited edition book, Oodles of Doodles 01!

Fun Fact: He’s an out-of-doors kind of guy who enjoys a challenge – be it camping, scuba diving, surfing, skiing or hiking…on a weekend he’s best found amongst nature.

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