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Employee Spotlight: Mark Doublin
Even though Mark Doublin had a beer thrown at him in disgust over some of his early work, he continues to see the glass half full.
Mark was only 16 years old at the time, drawing caricatures at Knott’s Berry Farm, an amusement park in Buena Park, California. That woman made it obvious she was not a Mark Doublin fan.
Others have made it known, too.
“People don’t pull any punches with criticizing art,” Mark said. “But I learned early on, you must take your licks, get back up and start over. Learning to take critique is part of the career.”
Mark credits thick skin for where he is today: working as an Art Director for Raskullz and Krash. For the past nine years, he and his team have taken great pride in finding ways to Krash-up and Raskull-ize websites, print and product and – ultimately – “make rad stuff” for the two helmet brands. He is the gatekeeper of the team, ensuring everything is on brand.
After earning a degree in animation, Mark worked at Disneyland, moved into the toy industry, and was part of a Creative Think Tank, where he made ramps for Hot Wheels, Toys for Taco Bell kid’s meals, designed the Wiener Schnitzel Antenna Wiener, and designed Frito Lay displays for the Super Bowl.
“Helmets were not even on my horizon,” he said. “I figured I’d be in toys forever. But this was a good curve for me. The toy industry is very cut-throat, and the culture is not about elevating each other. Here, it’s different. This is fun. I’m not just creating toys. Helmets are a function that keep kids safe. That’s cool. You don’t get that in the toy industry.”
Despite the curve in the road, Mark says he’s thankful he stayed on the creative path.
“Being an artist is something that happens to you. You don’t get to choose. Your passions are there from the beginning. Whether you find something you’re better at and move to something else, or stay on that path is up to you,” he said. “It’s hard to become a professional artist. Lots of people try it and can’t do it. It’s awesome that I stayed on the creative path and can make a living doing what I love.”
Outside of work, Mark describes himself simply. He enjoys having fun and is sure not to take himself too seriously.
“I’m just a big kid,” he said. “It’s not about ego. It’s about having a good time. I try to be a person people want to be around.”
His fun carries into family life. Mark has been married for 12 years. He has one stepson, Henry (16), a son, Walter (10) and a daughter, Faye (7). The crew has recently started taking family bike rides, but Mark says his favorite event happens daily: sitting down for dinner.
“It’s simple. We all sit down to eat. That time is for fun. We play games, mess around and have a good time teasing one another. It’s time we spend focused on each other, not on screens,” he explained.
Mark also loves going shopping with his wife. The groceries and essentials they buy are just a bonus. Mark uses the errands to spur inspiration.
“Creatives are consistently brewing up out-the-box ideas. The challenge becomes pulling from that creative bank constantly. My wife loves to tease me while we shop because I’m always stopping to take pictures of anything that inspires me. I reference the oddest things later and pull from it,” he said. “I don’t walk the bike accessory aisle, because that stuff has already been done. My favorite is the kitchen section or a home store where I can see what mechanisms or features they have, and build on that.”
Mark also finds inspiration in surrounding himself with things that are fun and inspiring.
“I have a bunch of toys in my office. That’s another way to keep creativity flowing,” he explained.
He also admitted to taking sketches up a notch during long conference calls, time he uses to draw caricatures of participants on the call. And, with the safety virtual meetings provide, Mark hasn’t shown anyone that work, or been on the receiving end of any tossed beverages.
Last book you read?
“Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” -Mark Manson
Most likely to buy in bulk?
A day off with no obligations would include:
Laying around until sushi dinner.
Your most interesting job?
Jungle cruise skipper at Disneyland.
Best advice you’ve gotten?
The best advice I’ve gotten revolved around taking risks and failing.
At 16 years old, I was drawing caricatures at Knott’s Berry Farm. I would get ripped into so much early on. I even had a lady throw beer at me because she didn’t like the way I drew her kid.
The best advice was from my old boss at Knott’s was to take your licks, but get back up and start over. I had to learn how to take critique and build up some thick skin.
Something people at work don’t know?
When I get bored during long, drawn-out conference calls, I draw weird caricatures of people on the call.
(And no, he won’t show you.)
Least Favorite Candy?
Butterfinger. it sticks on your teeth all day long.
Best type of meat?
Open to all of it. Anything with Tabasco.
Dog or cat lover?
I am a dog person.
I’m an artist… I’m sensitive. I don’t do things to get hurt.
A New Year’s resolution that stuck?
I quick smoking nine years ago.
Your greatest adventure?
Taking my family to Hawaii for the first time. We booked the trip, and then work got super busy. There was no forethought. We got there and had nothing planned, zero expectations, and flew by the seat of our pants. It was such a fun adventure!