We took a moment to ask the Singaporean some questions about his influences, work, and what he plans to do after leaving his compulsory military services ends.
Meet Mark Evan Lim
NeonMob: Your work spans a broad variety of styles and themes — from two dimensional illustration to elaborate, animated 3D scenes. What leads you to choose one medium or style over another?
I would say it really comes down to what is the best way to present the idea. While factoring in the medium I’m most confident in, meeting deadlines would be another criterion. I wouldn’t use a medium I just learned to work on a client’s project.
NeonMob: How does the style affect the outcome?
I think the style needs to be decided way before you commit serious time into the project, particularly with the preliminary work (sketches). If you can’t even draw what you want the final piece to look like on paper, how do you expect to finish it on the computer. I’ve made this mistake so many times, being overwhelmed with all the tools of the computer. “Nail the style before you do anything” I always say, think of it as setting the foundation of the whole piece.
NeonMob: You produced a series of really interesting loops — I couldn’t stop staring! How did you produce these, and what is different about the process of creating art over time, rather than statically?
I’m glad you had fun staring at them. These loops were part of a learning experience with the different tools and effects I could achieve in the 3D program.
There was no common theme but just to see if I could make a project of looping images. The main difference between static vs moving art is the time factor, duh. Because the art is moving over a period of time, I try and make sure the object that’s being animated looks good 360 degrees or whenever its facing the camera. Compared to a static piece where you only really need to make sure what is seen through the camera looks good.
Additionally, this may sound stupid but you need to make sure the thing actually loops!, make sure the timing is set up correctly so that it doesn’t ease in or out but maintains a constant speed.
NeonMob: Let’s talk about Polygonal. What does this set represent for you?
This set is the first project I was proud off. All the practice pieces I had done before culminates in this project. It is also the first time I would have my art featured on a website dedicated to art. Exciting stuff.
NeonMob: How did you develop this style?
I don’t claim to have developed it independently but collectively people have started to move away from the smooth curved look. It’s all the craze now to create low polygon pieces, so I’ve tried to explore other avenues but I still come back once in awhile to try and push how angular and sharp I can make things look, which to me is really the fun of it all.
NeonMob: What is your process for creating these scenes? What does animating them do to change their aesthetic feel?
I started by trying to remember what lego sets I had played with when I was young, blocking them out through hand drawn sketches. Making these 3D sets is like building a digital lego set for me, creating virtual worlds and being able to immerse yourself in that world.
It starts off as an empty canvas, which is probably the most daunting task as its literally a huge gray box, but slowly as you build each prop, background, and lights, you start to see the piece slowly come together. I work in a layered approach starting with the props then modeling the world (background, sky, ground, lights). Ending it off with setting up the camera and tweaking it till I’m happy.
NeonMob: Which artists inspire you today?
Off the top of my head here are some: Milt Kahl, Glen Keane, Ollie Johnson,Frank Thomas, Eric Goldberg, Sandro Cluezo, Andreas Deja, Colin Hesterly,Louie Mantia, Brittany Lee, Matt Jones, John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Lou Romano, Victoria Ying, J.R Schmidt, Michael Mattesi.
NeonMob: Whose work do you most admire?
I admire different people for different mediums but if I had to choose one, I’d pick Glen Keane for his amazing draftsmanship skills. Inspires me to push myself to practice more.
NeonMob: How has your military experience impacted your art?
It started off slow when I was initially enlisted, we were completely disconnected from the world, focusing on the basic training of being a soldier (guns and grenades). But after finishing that first phase and being posted to my unit, I now can come home on a daily basis to work on whatever art I choose to work on such as Polygonal.
NeonMob: Have you been able to draw any inspiration from your service?
Somewhat, I’d love to maybe work on a set of ammunitions or arms in the future.
NeonMob: What do you plan on doing after your service is up?
Animation is where my true passion lies. I plan on pursuing a career in character animation, hopefully, at Ringling College of Art and Design. Fingers crossed.
NeonMob: If you could spend a year working on one thing, what would it be and why?
I would choose to work on a short film of my own. I have a ton of ideas for films I just don’t have the time for right now. Hopefully they will see the light soon.
NeonMob: How would you describe NeonMob to a friend?
I would describe it as an online trading card collection. You trade and collect cards with unique artwork. I sometimes wish these cards were actually printed as physical decks.