Over the past twenty-five years, John Martin has shown the world what it means to be a successful illustrator. His work has appeared in trade magazines, restaurants, annual reports and children’s educational books. He has also created mascots, logos, toy designs, murals and billboards as well as custom artwork for churches, museums, retail store chains and libraries. Some of his clients have included McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Marvel Comics, General Motors, Toyota, Wendy’s, Orange County Choppers, Greektown Casino, Michigan Lottery, Warner Brothers, Shop Rat, Taco Bell, Big Boy, Bosco Sticks and countless more.
“I’m a creative problem solver,” said Martin. “I will use anything in combination form to create art—to express the subject mater or stories I want to tell. Versatility is one of my strengths…You might say I’m a jack of all trades and a master of some. I don’t put all of my clients in one basket…The fun decorative cartoons and pop surreal paintings are most fun, but I enjoy aspects of every project. I’m always looking forward to the next one.”
Recently, John became the illustrator of Vordak, the Incomprehensible book series. Vordak is a super villain who tries to achieve total planetary domination. A review in Publisher’s Weekly reads, “you will soak up (Vordak’s) warped wisdom like a sponge and circulate it at recess.” While promoting Vordak (often in costume), Martin has appeared at many comic shows, school visits, parades and other events. The first book, How to Grow up and Rule the Word earned Martin and author partner, Scott Seegert, several outstanding reviews, an American Library Association poster, a featured visit to Austin, Texas, and a Best Selling children’s category listing. The duo were also nominated for the prestigious Cybil Award.
Martin also worked on a mini comic project for the Eisner-nominated, SCRATCH 9, with an illustrated story line. Earlier in his career, the artist illustrated Goldilocks and the Three SUVs, which was published by Chrysler to promote the Dodge Durango. This press kit was given to all the auto shows throughout the country and was considered one of the most memorable press kits ever produced by Chrysler.
In addition to his freelance projects, Martin is currently the director of his own Cartoon Camp for Kids and often participates in fine art shows by creating personal artwork that appeals to pop-surreal audiences. He also occasionally teaches cartooning at his alma mater, Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS).
“Through classes like iconography and mythology, CCS helped me identify some of my more notable niches—mascot and toy design,” he said. “It also gave me and my colleagues great exposure to some true professionals who prepared us for the creative challenges ahead. Now I hope to do the same for my students.”
- Graduation Year: 1985
- Major: Illustration
- Employer: Pop Art Mart, Powerhaus Creative
- Title: Owner
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