Mark Wooding is an animator, author, and a popular YouTuber.
He has more than 2.9M subscribers on his YouTube channel, ‘After Skool.’
Mark Wooding was born in 1989; he hails from San Francisco, United States.
He is half-Japanese and half-white.
His father, George, is white; and was a serial entrepreneur.
From a young age, Mark’s father encouraged him to grow up to become an entrepreneur and start his own business and work for nobody except himself.
Mark’s mother, Nancy, is from the Japanese side and she worked in the same job for 40 years.
She influenced his art and got him into Zen.
Having parents from two different cultural backgrounds allowed Mark to get the best of both worlds.
Drawing from the age of crawling-
Both his parents encouraged him to be creative.
At a young age, even before Mark could walk, his parents would throw down a pen on a paper and he would crawl over the paper and pick up the pen and start scribbling.
At that time, he couldn’t even hold the pen right, he used to grab the pen in his left fist and scribble.
Later, Mark started writing by holding the pen in his left fist and used to write everything backwards; this continued only until his second grade as his teachers tried hard to break this habit.
Love for art-
At 4, in his first grade, one of his drawings was entered into a citywide youth art competition sponsored by the de Young Museum, without his knowledge.
Unexpectedly, Mark won a four-foot-high trophy, this was 12 inches taller than him; and his art ended up in de Young Museum, San Francisco, California.
Winning the trophy validated to him that he was good at art, and he fell in love with art.
Mark started making art for friends and in high school, he started painting on people’s shoes with Sharpie pens and spray paint, this got covered in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and the story became popular.
He used to also make art in chalk, do chalk drawing and decorate T-shirts.
Mark wanted to grow up to become a professional artist.
He did his schooling from Lowell High School, San Francisco, California.
Mark was a B+ student and excelled at show-and-tell.
He loved show-and-tell; every week, he used to perform a science experiment in front of the class.
Mark won the titles of best show-and-tell person, and best artist in the yearbook.
Thanks to the show-and-tell, he developed the ability to filter down ideas and make them interesting and present them using art, this ability later helped him to become a successful YouTuber.
Mark studied art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
While studying art at college, there was a notion that after graduating, he wouldn’t use his art degree and be a starving artist and work at stores like Blockbuster.
Fortunately, Ikigai, a Japanese concept, allayed his fears.
Thanks to Ikigai, Mark realised that he wouldn’t be a struggling artist when he bases his career on the convergence of the four circles. The circles are- what he loves, what he’s good at, what the world needs, and what he can be paid for.
In 2009, in college, he was shown RSA animation videos in the class, these were the first whiteboard animations that he ever saw; he was captivated by them.
Later, Mark started recording himself painting and drawing.
After graduation, he learnt whiteboard animation on his own and his first whiteboard animation was on proper condom use.
Mark started publishing his whiteboard animation videos on his YouTube channel, ‘Before Skool.’
He has been producing whiteboard animations since 2009.
From June 2010 to September 2010, Mark interned at Timbuk2, a bag manufacturer; here, he illustrated hip canvas messenger bags.
After graduating from college, in June 2011, he secured a job as a graphic designer at UCSF Health.
Here, Mark was asked to produce a video on proper condom use; this video performed extremely well.
Thanks to this video, he started getting more requests to produce videos, and he became a freelance animator and named his art venture as ‘Kram Gallery’ (at a young age, he used to write everything backwards, he used to write his name as Kram instead of Mark).
Eventually, Mark worked for notable clients like Intel, Johnson & Johnson, National Geographic, etc. and was earning handsomely.
Also, he started doing live murals across the world; he did murals in events in Ireland and Paris.
In 2015, Mark drew a mural for UNESCO’s international Youth for Change conference in France, right next to a Picasso mural.
He also did a mural in the lobby of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
Even though Mark loved freelancing, eventually, he wanted to produce videos on his own and work for himself.
Disappointment made him start ‘After Skool’-
In 2016, he was tasked with producing a video for a presidential candidate, for a presidential election campaign.
Even though Mark didn’t want to get involved in politics, he accepted the job only for the paycheck and as he thought that even if he rejected the project, the video would be produced by some other animator.
He produced the video after a lot of work; but in the end, the presidential candidate didn’t use the video and didn’t pay him for his work.
This incident forced Mark to take a break from his freelance career and he decided to make a career by following his intuition.
So, after six years of working as a freelance animator, he took a break.
For a long time, Mark was loving YouTube and watching the big YouTube channels and was confident that he could also produce videos like them.
So, on 25 July 2016, he started his YouTube channel, ‘After Skool.’
On 20 September 2016, Mark published the first video on this channel, ‘5 Keys to Beating Stress – Tony Robbins.’
He set himself a goal of hitting 100K subscribers by 25 July 2017, one year after starting ‘After Skool’; he wrote down this goal in big letters on the top of his whiteboard.
He started producing videos on a consistent schedule.
The beginning was tough as Mark was doing a lot of work for producing videos and saying no to paying freelance customers, but his videos were not getting seen, he was not earning money and was not getting subscribers.
After six months, he didn’t have even a thousand subscribers on his channel, and he started questioning his decision of becoming a full-time YouTuber, but he persisted.
On 6 January 2017, Mark published a video, ‘Millennials in the Workforce, A Generation of Weakness – Simon Sinek.’
Luckily, this video started getting some traction and Simon Sinek shared this video and for the first time, Mark’s video started getting recommended by the YouTube algorithm.
And Mark started gaining a lot of subscribers and the domino effect kicked in.
His first viral video was ‘Why Don’t Country Flags Use The Color Purple?’ It was published on 17 October 2017.
This video hit the trending page of YouTube and got around 4 million views in a week; thanks to this, he gained 100K subscribers in that week.
As of December 2023, Mark has 2.99M subscribers on ‘After Skool’ YouTube channel.
And ‘After Skool’ has 244K followers on Instagram, and 157K followers on the Facebook page.
‘After Skool’ has a website.
Mark earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on his channel, merchandise, and sponsorships; he also accepts donations on Patreon.
In addition to writing scripts himself, he also collaborates with others for his videos.
Mark records everything on his whiteboard and edits his videos with Final Cut Pro.
Some of the contributors for his work include John F. Kennedy, Stephen Hawking, Naval Ravikant, Joe Rogan, George Orwell, David Goggins, Ben van Kerkwyk of UnchartedX.
Mark hasn’t revealed his net worth.
On 16 April 2019, Mark published his book, ‘Why Don’t Country Flags Use The Color Purple?’
Mark hasn’t revealed much of his personal life except in one of the 2022 YouTube videos that he has a girlfriend; she is a YouTuber.
Some interesting facts about Mark-
- He loves quotes and is a big fan of MMA.
- Mark has imposter syndrome.
- He has been influenced by Alex Grey, a visual artist, and Paul Stamets, Jordan Peterson, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts, and Randall Carlson.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Mark Wooding?
Share with me in the comment section below.
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