Today on Artist Strong we welcome Creative Spirit Mars Dorian. This is an artist with quite the online following! Not only does he offer sound advice on developing your personal brand, his art is commissioned by the likes of Corbett Barr, Chris Brogan and Srini Rao. You can find Mars’ inspiring artwork and branding content on his website: Mars Dorian.


Carrie: Welcome to Artist Strong Mars. For those who don’t know you, how would you describe your work?

I create colorful vibrant cartoons with invented fashion and tag/lines that cover their bodies.

It’s a mix between comic and abstract illustration. It’s  influenced by Japanese Manga, French illustration and single artist like Jamie C. Hewlett who created Tank Girl and the cartoon band Gorillaz.

Carrie: How did you discover your interest in the arts?

I remember the moment. I was a seven year old ice-cream addict and on holiday with my parents. We went into this beach shop and I was aiming for the ice cream freezer like a cruise missile. But while I was moving towards my target, I saw a newsstand of colorful stuff glowing to my left. I turned around, and saw a magazine that I’ve never seen before. Instead of text chunks, it came with rainbow-colored pictures showing humans, ghosts and lots of action in-between.

It was the first comic issue of Ghostbusters.

I picked it up and was so flabbergasted I convinced my mom to ditch the ice cream and buy me the comic instead. She thought I was sick. I was, in a way. A positive sickness for the arts which has not cured ever since.

"Crazy Diamond"

“Crazy Diamond”

Carrie: Can you describe the evolution of your artistic style? (Have you always made art with this unique vision or what was your turning point into recognizing this style was your authentic “you”?)

People say you shouldn’t copy your favorite artist’s work, and I call out their BS. I copy all the time, especially in the beginning. I copied Japanese Manga artists, American indie comic artists, French illustrators and my beloved Brit Jamie C. Hewlett.

I soaked up their styles over the years and naturally, without thinking about it, created my own.

I believe your style grows naturally if you quiet your conscious brain and remix the work you love more than yourself.

Carrie: How do you think vulnerability affects artists/creatives?

I believe your best work springs from your honesty, and vulnerability is a part of it. If you pour your entire essence into your work, your desires as well as your foibles, you can possibly create something that touches another human being, which is the greatest effect you can cause. It takes courage, but you can learn that. Everyone’s born a coward.

Carrie: What were some of your first strategies for generating business for your art online?

I believe the grrreatest tactic is to share your artwork online on as many relevant channels as you can. In the beginning, that meant my blog, Slideshow, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest. The more amazing artwork you share, and the more people see it, the higher the chance of attracting people that want you to pay for it.

Carrie: What are your strategies for getting unstuck?

It’s deceptively simple, but it works for me everytime. I tell myself that I’ll always have something to say and that I’ll always make it look awesome.

The idea of ‘stuck’ is only in your head – nothing is really stuck. It’s really a negative lie that you tell yourself. So tell yourself a positive lie to replace the negative one.

Tell yourself every day you will always create something amazing, and you will.

"Unmistakable Logo"

“Unmistakable Logo”

Carrie: Do you have a routine or any habits that have become part of your creative process?

Yes, I always do exercises before I sit down. According to recent studies, it’s proven that exercise stimulates many brain part areas which are essential for creative (and other) work.

I then drink one of favorite lemonades – Clubmate – and crank up J-pop music.

So these three things – exercise, lemonade, J-pop, help me go into flow and create my art.

Carrie: How do you know when an artwork is finished?

I don’t have a hard rule. As soon as I believe additional strokes would clutter the image, I stop. Also – the more you work, the better your intuition gets. At one point, you just ‘know’ instinctively when enough is enough.

Carrie: Advice to creatives interesting in developing a business online and working for themselves?

A creative must bring value to their lives as well as to their clients’ lives.

So I would ask myself two things –

1.) What do I love to create (like love with capital L because you can’t live without it)

2.) whom is it going to benefit ? (read : who’s going to pay for it.)

You should develop your skill in the convergence point of these two questions.

With me, I love illustrating and writing, so point 1) is clear.

In point 2), I adjusted my style to people that could benefit from my artwork, as in getting more views, attention and prestige.

That’s why I do a lot of book covers, slideshow presentations, commissioned artwork for individuals, cartoonish website rebranding etc.

"Unmistakable try"

“Unmistakable try”

Carrie: If someone wants to develop their skill in the arts, where do you suggest they begin?

That’s such a broad question, because art is anything from poetry writing to editorial illustration. But as a beginning, the internet is the best way because you can get almost anything for cheap, and even cheap.

As a single tool, I would check out dedicated Youtube tutorial channels. When I need to learn anatomy and advanced digital illustration, I found the relevant channels and subscribed to them. For me, it’s the perfect mix between education and entertainment, and since I’m visual, I’m still learning tons from watching.

Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?

I luv, luv the visual social media platform Pinterest. It floods me with ideas for my stories and my artwork. It’s like an endless scroll fest of the earth’s most impressive visual ideas.

Carrie: How do you define Creativity?

For me it means creating new, interesting solutions to existing problems. That doesn’t sound meta or sexy, but for me, creativity is all about bringing value. Remixing ideas in a way that makes the status quo obsolete.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Time to reflect… How do you bring value to people’s lives with your creativity?