Don’t mistake simplicity for lack of ingenuity. In the case of visual art, achieving simplicity isn’t simple at all. Illustrator Mark Magnaye knows best. Describing himself as a “young illustrator on a mission”, his motto is: “keeping it simple”. His approach both informs his visual style and creative process, with the basis of his work: solid shapes and restricted color palettes.
Known also as BLOK or Blok Magnaye, Magnaye’s visual style is, indeed very much geometric, using blocks of color and shapes to construct his illustrated characters. “I try to use basic shapes in my compositions, and try to simplify complex shapes,” he remarked once in an interview with Sense of Creativity. “One AD I used to work with commented that the placing of elements in my work almost seem calculated. That is true indeed!”
Indeed, when it comes to his work, composition is key. Every slant, every curve, and every straight line is calculated in order to ensure the end piece is well balanced created to perfection.
Based in Bulacan, Philippines, Magnaye’s visual style is inspired by vintage children’s books, Charley Harper’s art, and vintage Eastern European poster art (especially Polish). “I think creativity is both nature and nurture,” says Magnaye. “Humanity is where it is right now because we create. Everyone has a spark of creativity within, some more than others. And like in anything, what we nurture thrives.”
His work includes both editorial work and personal projects that are in dialogue with his more personal experiences, day-to-day events, and pop culture. Selected clients include brands like Facebook and Apple and publications such as The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Telegraph. Proving, once again, that aiming for simplicity is to be appreciated.
“Being an artist, illustrator goes beyond work,” says Blok. “It’s a lifestyle. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid and I can’t imagine a life where I’m not drawing or creating—what a depressing thought! Art of any form makes the world a whole lot better.” We stand by his words!