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Mark Raats - Carrying the torch of illustration

One of the great joys I've had with this project is the opportunity to meet and befriend extraordinary people, many whose work I've long admired.

When RAIDERS was rereleased in IMAX back in September 2012, it featured a new poster by the great Mark Raats, an Australian artist who, God bless him, still does illustration the old fashioned way. I remember drooling over that poster in the theater lobby. Raats' deft use of lines -- accentuating not just colors and shading, but textures and form, particularly with faces -- astonishes me to no end, and his unique style sets him apart from virtually every other illustrator out there.

In the years since, I chatted with Mark a number of times, and his continued support of both the Amsel website and the documentary have meant the world to me. (God knows I've vented to him enough.)

In 2013 Mark not only took the time to sign the RAIDERS IMAX mini-posters I sent him, but also included, much to my surprise, a special custom-made full sized 27x40 poster, featuring the unmodified version of his original artwork, using his original color scheme (top left). Compare that to the orange hue adjustments featured on the final printed version (top right). I particularly favor Raats' use of more subtle, dusty earth tones, which better reflect the look and feel of the film itself.

It's a remarkable coincidence, then, that I should finally interview Mark for the Amsel documentary, almost four years to the day since I attended that RAIDERS IMAX screening in September 2012.

I was a bit nervous about meeting him in person for the first time. I can sometimes suffer from a crippling shyness, and felt even more self-conscious about doing a recorded interview in my own home. Mark is also a formidable physical presence, towering over everyone else in the room; no doubt he'd look right at home within an Indiana Jones film.

But Mark was kind, patient, and gracious, and by the time it was over, I was sad to see him go.

Another thing about Mark: his eloquence. His commentary on Richard Amsel's work, his personal experiences as an animator and illustrator, his descriptions of painting and the process of collaboration...all told with wonderful, remarkable candor and passion.

"I hope I've given you some good stuff to use," he said.

Rest assured, sir, you sure did.

Mark was also kind enough to donate two signed RAIDERS posters for our future crowdfunding campaign.

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