Fresh off the completion of his latest creation LUCILLE, our new friend , artist Mark Tumber stopped by to let us get to know him a little better. Take a look.
About the Artist
Mark is an Ontario based artist well-renowned for his photo-realistic pencil drawing. By layering different hardnesses of lead, he painstakingly creates absolutely any subject matter.
Since graduating from York University in 1993 (B.F.A. Honours & B.Ed.), he has drawn and sold over 1,100 original commissions for private and corporate clients worldwide. Private orders have included family portraits, memorials, anniversaries, wedding portraits, pets, horses, residences, boats, boudoir portraits, tattoo designs and conceptual pieces. Corporate work has included freelance work for magazines, book layouts/covers and logo designs. He has even designed the small Mactier downtown for the Township of Georgian Bay. His work has been commissioned for such notable names as the Honourable Jean Chretien, George Chuvalo (heavyweight boxer), Ric Flair (wrestler), Stella Stevens (actress), Morgan Fairchild (actress), Adrienne Barbeau (actress/author), Phil Collen (lead guitarist from Def Leppard) and Travis Fimmel (lead actor from VIKINGS).
Mark has also taught his elaborate approach to drawing for all skill levels that wish to learn. Over the last 17 years, he has offered his introduction to drawing with his ‘Portraiture Workshop’ in Barrie and an extension of these skill developments in his ‘Wildlife Rendering Workshop’ in Midland. More than 650 teens and adults have been amazed with what they can render after 8 weeks of instruction.
Q & A
WGG: How long have you been creating?
MT: Every elementary school has a child that constantly spends every moment drawing/doodling ….. I am that guy. Luckily my parents encouraged this expression, as did all my peers in high school. I sold my first drawing in grade 11 to another student …. ironically for this site, it was a large portrait of Wolverine. Over 5 years at York University in Toronto earned me B.F.A. and B.Ed degrees. The Fine Arts program here opened my eyes to abstraction and conceptual artwork. Upon graduating in 1993, I started my career as a photo-realistic graphite illustrator. Since that time, I’ve drawn over 1,100 original drawings for clients worldwide. These include traditional subjects for private clients like family portraits, pet portraits, homes, memorials and vehicles and logo designs, greeting cards and editorial illustrations for corporate clients. I’ve recently started to draw larger compositions that delve into pop culture that I’ve been marketing as limited edition prints (numbered & signed).
WGG: Creating artwork seem like a lot of trial and error. What is the first thing you remember being proud of?
MT: Ha, the very first drawing I did that I can remember being proud of was way back in grade 10. I drew in full colour what I envisioned hell to look like. It was supposed to be a project dealing with 2 point perspective. I gave form to the word ‘HELL’ using linear perspective than added Mephisto and various devils surrounding the word in a dark, cavernous landscape. As for ‘trial and error’, I find that my art is created in the exact opposite manner. When doing commissioned work, my clients supply the photographic frames of reference and elaborate descriptions of what they want. I guarantee their pleasure with what I create by sharing the original’s evolution with them via social media. When creating my larger compositions (like those seen here), I create digital mock-ups in Photoshop to find the best balance & visual movement amongst all my photographic frames of reference. Many of my visuals used within TWD artwork came right from this website! Once I’ve established the layout, I start drawing in the upper left corner of the portrait and slowly bleed out from that area … completing every square inch as I go. These large compositions take between 120-180 hours to render. As you can see, ‘trial and error’ is replaced with ‘meticulous planning’.
WGG: Why graphite?
MT: I love graphite. I always have. I find that when using a hard pointy instrument to create images …. I have more control over the end result. Its the polar opposite of watercolour painting where the artist shares his/her domain with the water. For this reason, watercolour is my least favourite medium to work with. I find visual interest in shifting values and varying textures within my subject matter. I use 2B, B, HB & H leads in all my foregrounds, 4B in my mid grounds and 6B in my backgrounds. By using softer leads further from the viewer, I can heighten the depth of field via ‘atmospheric perspective’.
WGG: How long have you been an instructor?
MT: I’ve done adult classes every summer in portraiture and wildlife rendering for 16 years within Ontario. I’ve also supply taught visual art at the high school level for the last 11 years. Lastly, I offer on-line classes which are described on my website.
WGG: What is your favorite thing about teaching others?
MT: My favourite thing about teaching teens, adults & seniors is opening their eyes to properly recognize the full range of values (lights & darks) and textures that surround them, as well as how to outline their surroundings with accurate proportions. By guiding them through these 3 skill sets, they then have essentially been taught how to ‘see’. At the end of every workshop, I have students telling me that they see MORE than they did prior to my classes. I love that.
All of Mark’s work is available on a LIMITED EDITION basis and prices for each piece included in this post can be found here : http://marktumber.com/limited-edition-prints/
As mentioned in his bio, a good portion of Mark’s work is commission/custom based, such as the one just above. They are drawn from photographs which are mail/emailed (high resolution jpeg under 2mb) to Mark. Faces within the photograph should be about 1in height.
| 8″ x 10″
| 11″ x 14″
| 14″ x 17″
Mark Tumber, B.F.A., B.Ed.
209 Cherry St., Box 117,
Waubaushene, Ontario, CANADA
For those in the Ontario area, Mark offers two 8 week courses. To take a look at what some of his other students have done and to register for classes, visit
*** PLEASE NOTE: Mark also offers an ONLINE course, that’s right, an ONLINE course for those of us that can’t get to Ontario 8 weeks in a row 🙂
Mark Tumber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much Mark for letting us share your work AND taking the time to answer a few questions!
If I get brave enough, I have a set of graphite pencils I need to learn how to operate properly 🙂