Mark Verhaagen

Ask Dutch illustrator Mark Verhaagen what inspires him and he'll throw a bucket load of influences at you. Retro design, toys, pop culture, sci-fi, childhood memories, nature, comics, and old cartoons by Disney and Fleischer. These influences have defined and shaped a distinctive look that adds a hint of alien to all he creates, from a bug-eyed monkey to flying robots and white extraterrestrials praising Vodafone's Mobile Broadband and email.

Verhaagen describes his style as a "smooth, digital gradient extravaganza with organic elements." He regularly pulls in visual influences from retro science fiction and fantasy. "I have always liked the work of Jim Henson. Unlike the hyper-realistic special effects of today, Henson's puppets were recognisable as puppets, but were so cool and human and beautifully made, that you fully accepted them as characters telling a story," he explains.

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