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Illustration Student Marcus Sakoda Draws Attention with Caricatures

Caricature of Jay Leno by Marcus Sakoda

To say that Marcus Sakoda has a flair for caricature is no exaggeration.

The Academy of Art University Illustration student recently won Best Studio Piece and the Portfolio Competition at the International Society of Caricature Artists annual convention in Las Vegas, his first time at the convention.

From Monday to Thursday of the convention, artists worked day and night to create caricatures and hang them in the competition hall. Marcus spent much of the convention in a frenzy of caricaturing, producing pieces for the competition. Then attendees voted on their favorites in a variety of categories.

“The convention was a blast,” said Marcus. “It was incredible seeing everyone’s different styles and exaggeration choices.”

Illustration of Flight of the Conchords by Marcus Sakoda

He won best studio piece for a caricature of Jay Leno. The digital painting, which he created in the Spring, has also been published on the front page of the Peoria Journal Star and won a coveted spot in Academy of Art University’s most recent Spring Show.

“I put in about 20 hours, making sure everything looked perfect,” Marcus said. “I could have easily stopped at seven or eight hours and had a solid piece, but I wanted this to be my best piece.”

Though always passionate about drawing, Marcus was not always certain he wanted to work in illustration. He explored a number of fields such as game design and animation. After taking an art class at his community college, he knew he wanted to seriously pursue a career in art.

 “I didn’t know what kind of jobs I would get with art, but I wanted to find out and then learn how to do them,” he said. He decided to enroll at Academy of Art University.

Caricature of Helena Bonham Carter by Marcus Sakoda

Marcus credits instructor Thomas Gronbukt of the School of Illustration with helping to keep him motivated. “He told stories about his previous students that did nothing but eat, sleep and breathe art,” Marcus said. “Because of their intense focus, their skill skyrocketed, and they became incredibly successful even before they graduated from the school.”

With a goal to do caricature illustrations for editorial pieces, Marcus has set his sights on getting work published in San Francisco–area papers during the next semester. And he plans to keep going until he reaches the top.

“I want to be published in all the big magazines: The New Yorker, TIME, Rolling Stone,” he said. “I have a long road ahead of me, but I know I can do it.”

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