Finding the footholds with motion graphics expert Mark Brown | #MemberSpotlight

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Mark Brown has been creating motion graphics and 2D animations for over a decade and, as he tells it, it’s basically all he’s ever wanted to do. A comic artist with an artistic background, Mark is a unique animator with an eye for the colourful and the charismatic. Let’s get to know him and his work a little better, shall we?

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve been drawing since I was 9 years old. So naturally, when I was 24, I did the following Google search: “I’m an artist, how can I live off that?” 12 years and many more Google searches later, I found myself working in motion graphics full-time.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I live in Verona Italy and I’ve been a freelancer since 2010. I draw all the illustrations in my animated videos and I do a lot of work as a Character Designer and Animator

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

Something outdoors and away from computer screens for sure!

Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?


When I work on a project, most of the creative process happens in the storyboard phase. That’s where you turn words into images and/or motion. Corporate scripts can be very dry and boring at times, the words can almost stack up like a big smooth wall with no cracks in it.

The trick is to find that first foothold to build on, and that foothold is often an original concept or theme; something that hasn’t been done before, that you can then build on throughout production. 

How would you describe your style?

My illustrations are probably closest to a Disney style. I’ve always tried to make characters that are likeable and relatable.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

Joey Korenman from School of motion. Hayley Akins from “Motion Hatch.” There’s a lot of great educational material for designers out there, but what they brought to the table was practical advice for everyday freelancers. Not just on how to create quality designs, but also how to sell them effectively as well.  

What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?


Try hiring someone to do the work that you’re trying to sell. Spending a few moments in the shoes of the client will teach you exactly what they are looking for in you. Never forget that you’re dealing with people, not just projects. 

What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?

If you’re a freelancer then you have to understand that you’re equal parts Artist and Business person, and those are the two oars that you need to pull with.

I used to think that if I just got really good at animation then the work would automatically flow in by virtue of my talent. The truth is that you have to become your own producer and learn to sell your product to the right people in the right language.   

What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?

I love After Effects, it’s an amazing tool that I’ve been using for almost 16 years now. I think it’s great that it was never intended to be used for animation (It’s a compositing tool) but over time people just started retrofitting all kinds of plugins that make it the very versatile tool it is today. 

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Always make time for projects that you consider fun. They might not bring in the money, but they grease the wheels of your creativity and keep you from getting stale. It doesn’t even need to be a big passion project.

I recently started participating in #mondayschallenge on Instagram. They give you a colour palette, a theme and a 5 second duration limit to make anything you want that might then be featured on their platform. I haven’t been featured yet but the benefits of having a short burst of unbridled creativity have been amazing!

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

It’s actually the piece that was featured on Creativepool “Andra tutto bene.” More than two years on, its almost hard to remember, but back in February 2020 everyone was quite frightened. Italy was getting the full force of Covid and it was definitely a surreal experience to be closed in our houses, watching the rising numbers of infections and casualties.

Being able to channel the best of Italy, when it was at its worst was very fulfilling. I created the video with my brother who is also an incredibly talented motion designer and we finished the whole thing in a record 4-5 days of work, even managing to put a likeness of our Italian Grandparents in the final frame.  

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

The value of local Networking with your peers in the design community cannot be overstated. Unfortunately there is still a pervasive idea that if you share your secrets, others will take advantage of you, or steal your clients etc… This is especially true in Italy, and it leads to a sort of “lone wolf” approach to freelancing.

The reality is that the more you share resources, the more you increase the possibility of developing symbiotic relationships across the different categories of design. If I can teach someone to be as good as me at finding clients then the chances increase that at some point, they will have enough volume to pass on to me, especially if we work in two different fields like 2D/3D.   

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

The Freelance Manifesto—By Joey Korenman

The Motion Hatch Podcast—By Hayley Akins

The Futur Podcast— By Chris Do

#thejamiebrindle —Instagram page


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