Mark Magnaye’s tag is: “keeping it simple”. Known online as Blok, his digital illustrations could indeed be described as colorful blocks, composed of clean shapes and using a restricted color palette. The finished result is a sort of caricatured version of minimal art: simple but with a playful, humoristic edge. Such playfulness is also what makes Magnaye’s work more commercially appealing.
“When I was younger I used to do these really busy compositions, something I’d call a fiesta,” said the Philippines-based illustrator in an interview with Inky Goodness. “But now I’m more refined using basic shapes and bold colors.”
His change of style happened gradually and was also the result of much trial and error. “Initially, I wanted to be a comic artist; a dream that was influenced by the animes and cartoons of the 1990s,” says Magnaye. “Though that changed when I entered art school. I was suddenly exposed to other art forms that I wasn’t all that familiar with before. Suddenly I was torn, because I loved everything!”
“It was during my junior year that I discovered illustration, or rather saw it in a new light,” he adds. “I used to hang out and kill time in the libraries in between classes. Sometimes I’d have three-hour breaks and spend all of it looking at picture books. That’s when my love story with illustration began, and I decided I’d like to pursue it as a career.”
Having graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines in 2012, he’s been hard at work ever since. You can see some of his work on his Instagram page, where he posts regularly.