art crush: yorkshire artist, printmaker and designer mark hearld

Not too long ago, when I featured Emily Sutton’s gorgeous watercolours and bird sculptures here at Alphabet Soup, I promised to also spotlight her partner Mark Hearld.

Prepare yourself for even more fangirl sighing and swooning. Though I admire many, many artists, there are only a handful about whom I can safely say, “I love everything he (or she) does.” (This holds true for both Emily and Mark.)

Mark is a Yorkshire native who studied illustration at the Glasgow School of Art and Natural History illustration at the Royal College of Art. He works across a variety of mediums, producing unique paintings, linocuts, lithographs, cut-paper collages, hand-painted ceramics, wallpaper and fabric designs.

He is inspired primarily by the flora and fauna of the English countryside, a deep love and fascination for nature he’s had since childhood.

What I find especially appealing about his work is the feeling of freedom and spontaneity that comes through. Whether it’s “a sleek red fox prowling the fields,” or “a mute swan standing at the frozen water’s edge,” Mark’s fluid, handcrafted approach imbues each picture with a refreshing aliveness.

He is a genius with composition — all elements arranged and layered to stunning effect. None of it ever feels over-studied or predictable. One can just about hear the screech of circling gulls, feel the wind as it whips at autumn leaves, and smell the dank earth and dead leaves after a heavy rain. One can’t help but have a sensory response to his pictures.

I find his art nourishing in that the aspects of color, shape, texture, line, detail, balance and perspective hit all the sweet spots in my aesthetic sensibility. Kind of like love at first sight, his work fairly sings.

He counts among his influences Picasso, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and John Piper. I usually run out of adjectives trying to describe his work: gorgeous, distinctive, beautiful, heartening, timeless, classic, contemporary, life-affirming.

Back in 2012, he illustrated Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, which is a collection of nonfiction poems for children written by eminent British author and zoologist Nicola Davies.

Each page turn leaves me breathless and awe-struck. If collages can be lyrical and poetic, this is it. About this book, Mark said,

I think illustrating a book for children is more to do with freeing the child within yourself. The illustrations in this book express my own childhood sense of wonder. My love of nature runs deep in my childhood and my illustrations are a way of preserving a childlike view on the world.

Mark also recently published Mark Hearld’s Workbook (Merrell Publishers, 2013), which features 200 collages, linocuts, textiles, prints, and ceramic pieces, with backstories about each and discussion on his influences. We also get a peek into the York home he shares with Emily, full of antiques, artifacts, old toys, and fascinating curiosities. I do love a passionate collector!

Speaking of which, here are some photos of Mark’s attic studio via Alun Callender Photography:

Mark Hearld in his loft studio at home in York.

This is why we have and need artists: Out of chaos, order. From many disparate pieces, an organic, unified vision. Artists can work magic!

Doesn’t this make you feel better about your own office or studio? Geniuses must have their messes, after all. 😀

Check out St. Jude’s online gallery to purchase prints, fabric and wallpaper. For Mark’s art cards, visit Art Angels or The Blank Card Company. 


Enjoy these videos:



Of course there’s a teapot. Of course. 🙂

Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “art crush: yorkshire artist, printmaker and designer mark hearld

    1. Yes — and because of that, there are simply more ways to enjoy his art. Commercial designs make his art more accessible to the general public. There are those who are strictly gallery artists, and while that’s perfectly fine — it caters to a select few.


  1. Oh my, each one unique and beautiful. That sofa is awesome! I have Outside Your Window, used it in my last year of teaching as a mentor text. I didn’t know about the other, “Mark Hearld’s Workbook”, looks wonderful, too. My favorite of your sharings, Jama, is that mostly black with a touch of blue, bird’s nest with a house. I looked and looked at it! Thanks, like always, for what you share!

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  2. I just tumbled into this post and fell in love. Wow! Mark Hearld, add another fangirl to the chorus! I’m a huge fan of Nicola Davies already and you can bet I’ll be adding Outside Your Window to my next book order. Win-win! Thanks so much for your introduction to this amazing artist!

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    1. So glad you share the Mark Hearld fangirl love! Outside Your Window is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see if he’ll illustrate another children’s book. 🙂


  3. Oh, Jama! Thank you for this post. Mark Hearld’s work reminds me of Dahlov Ipcar. Farm animals, wildlife and the patchwork and geometric elements are common themes. Just beautiful. I adore the dove love seat. I just had a wing back chair reupholstered in a blue and white print. I love it, but Hearld’s art would have been my choice if $$ were not a consideration! I was in Yorkshire last spring. I could have looked him up!

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    1. Thanks for the heads up on Ipcar’s work (new to me). Yes, I see the similarities! Coincidentally, she died exactly one year ago tomorrow. 99 years is a good long life. While you dream of Hearld upholstery, I dream of Hearld pottery. Sigh. Everything he does is beautiful.


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