If you take just a casual look at a Mark Langley drawing you may think it is a photograph, but on closer examination you will see that every little element has been painstakingly drawn in individual pencil strokes.
Each piece of his work has an attention to detail making it unbelievably realistic – it really is quite hard to imagine how he achieves such perfection.
When you meet the Belper artist it does become a little easier to understand as there is no doubting he is a man who likes precision and doesn’t like mess. He is a quiet, thoughtful person who obviously has limitless patience in his work.
“I have always enjoyed drawing and at school people would joke that they only ever saw the top of my head as I was always busy with a pencil,” said the Derby-born artist.
“It can take me many hours to complete a drawing and I don’t make it easy for myself as I can’t help but keep refining what I have done. I guess it is my personality I am quite fastidious but what I do is quite instinctive.
“I have had a variety of advice over the years but the best was probably to stick to my own style and make it work.”
That style is about to change from the animals and architectural drawings which have pretty much been his trademark to landscapes.
“I like a challenge and I am always looking to take my work to the next level. I think it is time for me to push myself into doing something different,” said Mark, 41, who says he is experimenting with watercolour at the moment and aims to move from there into acrylics and even oils.
After leaving school Mark, who is largely self-taught, studied design and then became a graphic artist. He only became a full time professional artist six years ago, starting out drawing mainly commissioned portraits in 2000.
He says his forthcoming work is influenced by, amongst others, the artist Andrew Wyeth, who was one of the best known American painters of the 20th century.
Mark’s early work was quite often horses and ponies, but he also works on dogs, cats, livestock and wildlife and even the occasional allotment or garden. He says he is primarily inspired by the humour in the animals and he certainly seems to capture the unique idiosyncrasies of each one of his subjects.
His architectural studies came later and he admits that the partially finished style, for which he is now well known, started with a rush to finish the work.
“The look came about because I simply couldn’t finish one particular commission on time and it had to go as it was.
“I saw a way in which architecture could be done gracefully – a built structure in decline,” he explained.
His love of photography has also refined his eye to spot the perfect picture and he uses his camera to gather inspiration.
“I always have it ready in case I see something interesting. I might have an idea for a drawing straight away or I may store it away and then months later use the source material with something I have visualised in my head.”
An exhibition of new work can be seen at Ingleby Gallery near Melbourne from March 8 to 22. Mark’s work can also be seen at The Old Station Gallery in Rowsley until March 28 and at St John Street Gallery in Ashbourne in April. He is exhibiting as part of the Peak District Artisans At Chatsworth show until March 22 and some of his work is at Hall of Frames in Belper.
For more details about him go to http://www.mark-langley.com