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Biography of Mark Farmer, an American Illustrator

Mark FarmerI was born in 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and exhibited artistic interests and abilities from my early years. As a left-hander, I have always been comfortable expressing myself visually. The left side of the human body is controlled by the right side of the brain, the creative side. From my earliest memory, my medium of choice was pencil on paper. Early on, I liked to draw simple cartoon characters from the comics I enjoyed. I also was interested in drawing fast modes of transportation, such as jet airplanes, rockets, speed boats and race cars.

In elementary school at North School in my hometown of Kennett, Missouri, I was immediately identified as an artistic student. My first award came in the second grade, when I won first prize in my class art contest. My winning entry was a pastel drawing of Irises, a spring flower. This recognition fueled my inner fire for drawing and other two-dimensional, creative media.

I attended Kennett High School, where I graduated in 1969. While there, I participated in football, track and the marching band. I received the Drafting Award in my senior year.

I graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1974 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Art with an independent study in lettering. I took every course offered, that would allow me to expand my line drawing skills. It was in Cape, that I discovered the wealth of old, ornate and varied architecture contained within this historic Mississippi River town.

My second major was in Industrial Technology with areas of emphasis in Drafting and Metalworking. After graduation, while employed at my first job in Jonesboro, Arkansas, I completed a night course in Jewelry Making at Arkansas State University.

Back in Cape Girardeau in the mid 1970’s, I completed a Paper Making workshop at my alma mater, conducted by Twinrocker Handmade Paper. In this workshop, I learned the basics of creating print paper for hand lithography, from raw materials.

I am best known for my detailed, realistic building portrait ink drawings. But I also enjoys creating drawings of bicycles, landscapes, motor vehicles, ships, aircraft, wildlife, pets and portraits. I am willing to draw just about anything for a client, but for my portfolio and for my own enjoyment, I draw things that interest me.

At one point, in the mid 1980’s, I created ink drawings without any shading, on watercolor paper, which I then painted. See the appropriate page on this website, titled Ink Drawings with Watercolor Painting.

I work in india ink, with Rapido-graph technical fountain pens typically used by draftsmen, cartographers, etc. for hand drawn working drawings and maps. My medium of choice is 100% rag, artist grade Strathmore bristol board in 2 and 4 ply.

I’m also well known for my open stock prints and in some cases, signed, numbered, limited edition lithographs, both made from my original drawings. I first offered prints, in an effort to make my artwork available and affordable to the widest possible range of clients.

I offer several standard sized original drawings: 23”x29”, 14.5”x23”, 11.5”x29”, 11.5”x14.5”, 11”x17”, 8.5”x14”, 8.5”x11” and custom sizes. My prints can be found in sizes: 18”x24”, 11”x17”, 11”x14.5”, 8.5”x14”, 8.5”x11”, notecards and custom sizes.

I, also, offer custom, drawn to order, originals of subjects dear to the hearts of my clients, with pricing on request. I’ve created original ink drawings of family homes, businesses and churches for satisfied and grateful clients. I’ve often said that I’d create drawings of subjects of interest to me, even if no one else ever saw them. But, for others to see my artwork, enjoy it and buy it to keep or share with their family, friends and clients, is still, after all these years, incredibly flattering and encouraging.

I became a full time, freelance graphic artist in January 1980. I became known locally and regionally by exhibiting in arts & crafts shows and juried fine arts & crafts shows in Caruthersville, Charleston, Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, Fulton and St. Louis, Missouri.

Throughout these pages you will see meticulous attention to detail, which defines my style and has gained my artwork feature recognition in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the internet. My artwork can be found in private collections in most states in the U.S.A. as well as many foreign countries, such as England, Wales, Japan, Russia and New Zealand.

I hope you enjoy my artwork, which is my life’s work, and appreciate the passion that goes into every stroke of the pen.

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