Meet Dave Mottram: Illustrator

Today we are debuting a new feature called “Duck Behind the Scenes” where we will share a behind-the-scenes look into the people, culture and happenings of Duck Duck Moose. For our first feature we sat down with one of our many talented illustrators, Dave Mottram, who joined the Duck Duck Moose team in October 2012.

From a very young age all Dave wanted to do was draw. It didn’t matter what, although, if you inspected the countless piles of drawings accumulated by his parents you’d quickly notice a Spiderman theme. It didn’t matter where. But, it did matter how much – as a little boy, and even now as an adult, Dave just couldn’t draw enough. By the age of five, drawing became his passion so much that when his Kindergarten teacher sent an assessment letter home to his parents, informing them that his obsession was interfering with learning, Dave turned the letter over and drew his favorite scene, Spiderman roping a monster.

Numerous Spiderman’s and assessment letters later Dave went on to study Graphic Design and Illustration at Youngstown State University. His first job out of college was working for Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio where he drew trail maps and designed event posters. Later he went on to work for a variety of design agencies where he illustrated several projects including one of his favorites, a website for then-Cleveland Cavaliers star basketball player, LeBron James, based on his tattoos.

Seeking inspiration from a variety of sources, Dave is often drawn to classic Disney artists like Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle and Maurice Noble, artist and designer for early Warner Brothers cartoons. He feels an immense appreciation for their ability to create highly complex designs using only the simplest of tools. A lover of all forms of art, Dave also looks to classic authors such as Mark Twain and old-school comedians, Bill Murray and Steve Martin, who share traits of subtle wit and smart humor all of which he strives to weave into the characters he creates.

Dave’s inspiration doesn’t stop there. As a father to three-year-old, Sara, he has started seeing the world of art from a  child’s perspective. Full of energy and life, Sara has taught him a simple lesson: take a step back and examine the larger picture. This is something he appreciates and feels has helped him grow as an illustrator of children’s art. One of his biggest fans, Sara offers him solicited and unsolicited feedback on his drawings telling him what she likes and doesn’t and why – all of which he finds invaluable. Dave, his wife, Sonya, and Sara enjoy movie nights, with Lilo & Stitch a current favorite, drawing together (of course) and reading books, especially Where the Wild Things Are which was the design inspiration for Sara’s bedroom.

Now that you have had a chance to learn about Dave we thought it would be appropriate to share even more about him through his various pieces of work. You can also visit his blog

Draft character sketches for consideration in a new app.

Sample character sketches.

More drafts of characters for consideration.

More sample character sketches.


Before and after example of sparkle tree illustration.

Before and after example of sparkle tree illustration.

Animal illustrations designed by Dave.

Animal illustrations designed by Dave.

Example of a character illustration.

Sample character illustration.

Where the Wild Things Are room mural and artwork created by Dave.

Where the Wild Things Are room mural and artwork created by Dave.


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