Mark Alvarado is a graphic designer with a long history of popular projects. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007, he purchased some property in Texas. There, he often engages in one of his favorite hobbies in the world, archery. Although he is no stranger to the Lone Star state, Mark Alvarado still resides in California. His home is located in the San Francisco Bay Area in the city called Palo Alto. His talents as a graphic designer include everything from simple logo campaigns to more complex branding projects that help firms establish their identity in the market.
What is your hobby?
Although I enjoy following sports that involve some type of a ball, there is nothing that I love more than archery. It has been my number-one hobby for as long as I can remember.
How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
I am proud to be one of the few bowmen that began practicing this ancient skill long before popular TV shows and movies turned it into a mainstream activity. The way I got started, however, is slightly ironic as it was mainly accidental. After finding a bow and half a dozen arrows while hiking with some of my friends about a decade ago, we decided to have a friendly competition and hit the “stop” sign down the road.
In retrospect, this was not the wisest decision we have ever made. As they took their shots, it became apparent that archery was not really in their DNA. In my case, on the other hand, I was able to hit the pole of the sign which topped everyone else’s attempt. This inspired me to keep practicing and archery soon became one of my favorite ways to unwind. Not to mention that my shooting from that day won me the bow and arrow that we discovered laying in the dirt!
Tell us what you love about it.
I enjoy every single second of firing an arrow. Starting with a calm and steady arm that must support the bow forces me to slow down my breathing and completely focus on the target. Then, upon putting hitting the mark, I must become one with the weapon and wait for the perfect moment to release my shot. That split second is probably the most relaxed state of mind that I could ever be in.
Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
Generally speaking, I do archery as a way to decompress after a long day. I have not reached the level of competitiveness that would require me to take part in some championships. Occasionally, however, I use my property in Texas to set up a mini course with a few targets where my friends and I practice.
Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
Yes. Thus far I purchased a PSE Anthem recurve, Cabela’s Dash RTH compound package, and was given a Samick Sage 62″ takedown-recurve bows. I originally started with the PSE Anthem as it is the very basic, beginner-like bow that had no fancy additions or gear. After a while, I upgraded to Samick Sage that had a custom-made, bear hair rest and plate.
But both of these are nothing compared to the Cabela’s Dash that I was gifted recently. That one looks like something that the famous superhero Green Arrow would use. It has so many different tools that it is practically impossible to use them all in one session.
Where do you buy most of your supplies?
Usually online. I shop for arrows or targets on Amazon as there is a seemingly unlimited number of options. I am not a fan of commercial sellers that overcharge just because they have a popular brand name.
Are there any good books for beginners?
“The Witchery of Archery” by Maurice Thompson is great. It is actually the first book ever written on the topic of hunting with a bow and arrow. Having been around for 140 years, it is amazing to see that most of the principles discussed by Thompson still apply to modern-day archery.
How has this changed your life?
It has helped me diversify my short list of hobbies. Besides graphic design, there has not usually been too much that I am interested in. As I began my amateur career in archery, I learned that my job is not the most important thing in the world.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Practice far away from anybody, especially if you are just starting out. Although an arrow may not look lethal, it can pick up speeds north of 150 miles per hour when it is fired correctly. This is enough to go through wood, glass, and even some metals. Adding the fact that most arrows have sharp tips made of metal, making it very dangerous for bystanders. In other words, be very careful!