Male. Education: Art Center College of Design, B.F.A. (illustration), 1983.
Home and office—Portland, OR. E-mail—[email protected]
Graphic designer and illustrator. Microsoft, design director; Martin French Studio, Portland, OR, founder; freelance illustrator, 1996—; Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR, instructor and department chair, 2004—.
Society of Illustrators.
Jaime Adoff, The Song Shoots out of My Mouth: A Celebration of Music, Dutton (New York, NY), 2002.
Heather Kopp and David Kopp, Roar!: A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2005.
Alan Govenar, editor, Stompin' at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Leslie Gourse, Sophisticated Ladies: The Great Women of Jazz, Dutton (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including the Atlantic Monthly.
As a freelance illustrator, Martin French has contributed his works to a variety of clients, including Nike, Pepsi, and Warner Brothers, as well as bringing to life the texts of a number of authors for children. In an interview with Exposure, the online newsletter of the Pacific Northwest College of Art, French commented on how influential the medium of illustration can be. "Illustration is an extremely dynamic art form," he explained, adding that "the impact of the illustrator is evident in
every aspect of modern media." As a freelancer within a competitive market, French makes it a point to tackle his work in an original way. As he told the Exposure contributor, "I set out to create a very personal approach to illustration—do my thing—not base it on trends."
In his career providing illustrations for books geared at young adults, French has collaborated with a variety of authors. His artwork for teen books is characterized by a bold use of color and his use of mixed media in a graphic-novel format. "The illustrations … are a sort of neo-Jazz Age/comic-book pastiche," he explained in Exposure. As a Kirkus Reviews writer noted in an assessment of French's work for Jaime Adoff's poetry collection The Song Shoots out of My Mouth: A Celebration of Music, the artist's "palette is dominated by purple and orange, with vigorous splatters of color as a background for boldly outlined figures." French's illustrative graphics have also gained attention due to their unique stylization and their ability to appeal to the aesthetic of contemporary young adults. Ginny Gustin, writing in School Library Journal, commented that French's illustrations for Adoff's book "will be enthusiastically received by the i-Pod generation."
French's graphics have also been recognized for their energetic feel. In an appraisal of his images for Alan Govenar's picture-book biography Stompin' at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller, Joyce Adams Burner noted in School Library Journal that French's strong graphics "nearly swing right off the pages."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2002, review of The Song Shoots out of My Mouth: A Celebration of Music, p. 1526.
School Library Journal, December, 2004, Ginny Gustin, review of The Song Shoots out of My Mouth, p. 60; March, 2006, Joyce Adams Burner, review of Stompin& at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller, p. 210.
Martin French Home Page,http://www.martinfrench.com (January 1, 2007).
Pacific Northwest College of Art Web site,http://www.pnca.edu/exposure/ (January 1, 2007), "Martin French."