Mark O’Hare

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Mark O’Hare, story artist, Illumination Entertainment.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Served coffee, cleaned dorms rooms, bused tables, stocked shoes. No crazy here. All average.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Citizen Dog comic strip, Rocko’s Modern Life, Spongebob, Dexter, Powerpuff Girls, Despicable Me, Lorax – I’ve enjoyed all of these.

How did you become interested in animation?
A classmate of mine at Purdue University gave me a recruiting brochure from CalArts. Just as well, could have been a Scientology personality quiz. I tend to get lucky like that in life.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Grew up around San Pedro, lived around the Midwest for a while. Moved back after getting accepted at CalArts.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wake, shower, breakfast bar, decaf tea, think, think, draw, draw, draw, run errand(s), Subway, draw, draw, exercise, home, family, family, family, Xbox or movie, bed. In that order.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The think part, then the draw part.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Sore back and wrist part. Self-explanatory.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Cheapest possible. ie, I don’t walk into The Apple Store.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Keeping steady work has been most difficult .

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Hillenburg, Drymon, Lawrence, Povenmire, and many others all worked together with Joe Murray. Tartakofsky, McCracken, and so many others, can’t list them here. Nobody was great. Then suddenly we were. Life is interesting. And short.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Getting laid off. Several times.


Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I can play Xbox for very long stretches now.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’m unusually average. Genetic, I think.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
When door closes, look around for open one and run quickly through without thinking. Best performed in youth. Which is probably nature’s intent.


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  1. Mark!

    I so miss Citizen Dog! An excellent strip. I was at a signing you did at the Barnes & Noble in Burbank in the late 90s for one of the book collections.

    Jeff Pert

  2. Hi Mark! So great to hear about all of your success since Rocko. I hate being layed off too. Crazy business (why are we in this business?). I hope you and your family are great!!!!!!

  3. Hey Mark….you don’t know me but I was Charge Nurse at the Hospital your mother worked at…. She was a wonderful human being and a blessing to know…She gave me your computer desk that you used before you went away to work for Nicklelodean..I’m still using it (right now as a matter of fact) I think of her quite often and remember how proud of you she was….just wanted to let you know.

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