My introduction to Mark Crilley came via a comic book I received unexpectedly in a stack of books from author Dan T. Davis, whose Christmas stories I reviewed a few weeks ago. Dan mentioned in passing that he and a friend contributed a story to this comic, the celebratory 50th issue of Akiko, written and illustrated by somebody named Mark Crilley. I crashed on my sofa a couple of nights later to look it over.
I met a likable, smart, honest little girl with a ready smile and tootsie-roll pigtails, rollicking through the universe with a motley crew of companions who pull her into and out of trouble on a daily basis. Fun, engaging stories and deceptively toony artwork with plenty of heart. It captured the essence of everything I ever loved about comics. That shouldn’t surprise anybody already familiar with Akiko, its multiple awards and novelizations, or the artist himself.
That one book would have been enough, but then I started digging.
Great googly-moogly. This wasn’t some random starving artist, and he was capable of more than kid-friendly comic book drawings. Much more.
Where should I start? It’s always better to show than tell. If you want to get a feel for the range of Mr. Crilley’s talent and his accessibility to lovers of art and story from all generations, march through the links below, which begin with his website and end with a video gallery of Mark Crilley demonstrating the techniques that bring his drawings to life, in both real-time and time-lapse.
You will lose an hour or three, and you will not mind.
YouTube Video Gallery (New videos added regularly. Click the subscribe link for updates)