HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12Illustration Inspiration: Mark Crilley, Creator of The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw
Illustration Inspiration_ Mark Crilley, Creator of The Drawing Lesson_ A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw-2

Illustration Inspiration: Mark Crilley, Creator of The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw

The Children’s Book Review | July 14

Illustration Inspiration_ Mark Crilley, Creator of The Drawing Lesson_ A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw-2

MARK CRILLEY is the author of Mastering MangaMastering Manga 2, and The Realism Challenge, as well as several manga novels, including the Akiko, Miki Falls, Billy Clikk, and Brody’s Ghost series. Since being selected for Entertainment Weekly‘s “It List,” Crilley has published nearly twenty books and developed a massive Internet following for his drawing demonstration videos, earning him a spot as one of the top 25 Most Subscribed to Gurus on YouTube. His books have been featured in USA Today, the New York Daily News, and Disney Adventures magazine, as well as on CNN Headline News.

I make art because …

I enjoy the process of communicating with others: showing them images I’ve come up with, and hearing their reactions. It’s a fascinating back and forth that I never grow tired of.

Latest published book …

The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel that Teaches You How to Draw,” published by Watson-Guptill.

Inspired by …

I’m inspired by my memories of learning how to draw years ago, especially my experiences with children’s book illustrator David Small, who was a mentor for me when I attended Kalamazoo College back in the 1980’s.

Art medium used …

The art in the book was created using brown colored pencil, pastels and white gouache. There is a bit of help from Photoshop throughout, but for the most part all the illustrations were made with traditional art supplies.

pg. 78-79--Proportions---from The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley

Artistic process …

My artistic process for this book started with a rough sketch version of each page in pencil, with the text handwritten directly on the pages. After completing the entire book in this very loose way, I showed it to my editor for approval. Once I was given the green light to proceed, I made the finished pages using the aforementioned art supplies, this time without any text. Then I took everything into Photoshop and added the speech bubbles and text digitally.

pg. 64-65--Drop Shadow--from The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley

Favorite place to create & illustrate …

My favorite place to create and illustrate is using a simple portable board on my lap, sitting on a couch or in a comfortable chair. I don’t like being hunched over a desk or an artist’s drawing table.

Most used art supply or tool …

My most used art supply is probably still a Dixon Ticonderoga pencil, since it is the thing I always start with. But honestly I change media for every project I do. Sometimes it’s pen and ink enhanced in Photoshop. Other times it’s watercolor with colored pencils.

Illustrator idols …

Among my many illustrator idols would be Winsor McCay, Arthur Rackham, Norman Rockwell, E. H. Shepard, Beatrix Potter, Chris Van Allsburg, Bill Watterson, and of course David Small.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t illustrate…

My all-time favorite children’s book would have to be “Imogene’s Antlers” by David Small. A very close second, though, would be “Father Christmas” by Raymond Briggs.

A literary character to create art with …

A literary character to create art with? Well, I’m going to say Calvin from “Calvin & Hobbes.” Especially if that means Hobbes comes to life for me as well.

Currently working on …

I’m currently working on a new graphic novel that I can’t reveal secrets about quite yet. It will involve a road trip in a country somewhere overseas.

Connect with Mark Crilley …

YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website


The Drawing Lesson by Mark CrilleyThe Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel that Teaches You How to Draw

Written and Illustrated by Mark Crilley

Publisher’s Synopsis: With over 10 million views and growing, artist and beloved graphic novelist Mark Crilley’s YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans and have been featured on sites such as Yahoo News and Reddit. Now for the first time, this master art instructor has created a one-of-a-kind art instruction experience in The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to DrawThrough the story of aspiring, overeager young artist-in-the-making David and his helpful, but often flustered mentor, Becky, readers gain a foundation in the basics of drawing and rendering, along with a helping of laughs and poignant entertainment. 

Each lesson builds off the previous one, with sidebars at the end of each chapter that direct readers to tackle some of the very same drawing exercises that David has just completed. The sequential art format provides the perfect vehicle for these step-by-step lessons, and the Pixar-esque approach to the surrounding characters and story ensures an enjoyable experience that readers will want to revisit again and again.

Ages 7-14 | Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0-385-34633-7

Available Here: 


“The narrative is often funny and unexpectedly poignant, while the tutorials are impressively clear and easy for readers to implement…A great pick for juveniles and young teens looking to learn the craft of drawing.”—Library Journal

Discover more graphic novel illustration inspiration and books like The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel that Teaches You How to Draw, written and illustrated by Mark Crilley, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with , and 

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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