Children can savor that feeling via two new DVD releases aimed at inspiring their inner Picasso. Professional illustrator Mark Marderosian is back with a pair of videos – “Drawing with Mark: Life on the Farm/Good to Grow” and “Drawing with Mark: Something Fishy/Day at the Aquarium.”
For those unfamiliar with Marderosian, he’s a professional cartoonist and former Disney illustrator with more than 25 years of experience. His DVDs target children of all ages. This recovering art major was pleasantly surprised at both the sophisticated principles included in the lessons as well as how Mark made each step accessible to young artists.
The DVDs feature two 30 minute episodes that combine fun field trips with drawing instruction and trivia.
Drawing Lessons Emphasize Line Quality
Each DVD comes with whimsical music, spare but sweet animation and a host who will never be accused of being too pre-packaged for the small screen. His crumpled style and Bah-ston accent make him both unassuming and serious about the work at hand.
In between the chipper animation and science nuggets, Mark gives solid drawing tips that all budding artists can appreciate. He talks about the power of varying a pencil line’s weight for dramatic effect, a notion that might sail over your child’s head. Or, it could land with a silent “yes” and become part of his or her repertoire. He emphasizes keeping your arm movements loose while sketching those early, critical strokes. Foundation lines need not be perfect in order to prepare us for the more critical pencil strokes to come.
The videos also pay close attention to dimension and basic structure. These elements help create the cartoonish illustrations in play, but they also give children a sense of depth and weight.
“Let’s take our time,” Mark says as he embarks on his sketches. The step-by-step instructions still may move too fast for some youngsters. Hit that pause button if you want extra time, or if you need to assist your child with a troublesome step.
Mark also preaches the power of observation from the cozy confines of The Magical Attic where the art sessions take place. He wants children to consider the world around them as they sketch away. Artists, even those who dabble in the abstract, are well served by absorbing their environment.
“Drawing with Mark: Something Fishy/Day at Aquarium” lets viewers create a variety of imaginative fish creatures in simple, effective stages. We get to know a little bit about fish from experts at the Wood Hole Science Aquarium before creating a school of fish, a sea star and a seal on our art pads.
“Drawing with Mark: Life on the Farm/Good to Grow” drops in on a Massachusetts farm. Children learn intriguing facts like how a cow boasts four stomachs before creating an old-school barn. We later draw a pig and a handsome flower and a tractor. The latter includes tires captured in proper perspective, something which may be too complicated for younger viewers.
The Drawing Lessons Have Just Begun
Each DVD also contains bonus features, a draw-along booklet and instructions on how to download free coloring pages.
Not every child will be intrigued by the DVD series. Some will prefer to follow their own artistic muse, while others may get flustered if their sketches don’t match what’s on the screen. Why not start with the video below to see how your child responds to Mark’s simple, but potent lessons.