Drawing with Mark: Good to Grow/Life on the Farm (DVD)

“Welcome to Drawing with Mark! My name is Mark!”

Young children aged 5 and older who want to learn how to create their own coloring book pages are in luck. There’s now someone they can turn to who will help them learn how to draw. His name is Mark Marderosian, and he’s a trained illustrator whose show, Drawing with Mark, provides quick, simple, and most important, fun drawing lessons.

Each episode follows roughly the same pattern: during a visit to a kid-friendly location, Mark interviews a new friend, an adult who’s an expert in whatever field is the disc’s subject matter. After we hear a few facts we take a quick trip to The Magical Attic, the green screen animated destination where Mark teaches every drawing lesson. Each episode has two drawing lessons whose subject is directly related to the location we’re visiting, helping the kids remain connected. We are also treated to some type of animation, usually a short silent cartoon, which features members of The Angels from the Attic, Mark’s animated animal creations. The Angels also help out with the location visits and drawing lessons; usually one is chosen to serve as the episode’s main focal point. The episodes conclude with book recommendations as well as a sign-off from the location and our new friend.

Drawing with Mark: Good to Grow showcases two episodes from the series, “Good to Grow” and “Life on the Farm.” Both episodes share not only a common location, Smolack Farms, but a liaison as well, Farmer Michael. This is my favorite Drawing with Mark disc to date as it combines Mark’s natural enthusiasm with Farmer Michael’s incredible depth of knowledge. Farmer Michael shares so many facts and is at ease in front of the camera in a way that only comes from being truly passionate about your subject matter. He’s the most engaging subject Mark has interviewed yet, switching between plant and animal facts effortlessly. You and your little ones will learn a lot about farming here, and don’t be surprised if there’s a request to visit a family farm after viewing.

Mark is always keen to share his interest in a subject with the viewer and this time is no exception. While Mark’s obvious talent at drawing shines through, he is always sure to encourage the young viewers to consider his lessons as practice, pointing out places where they can add their own touches and assuring the audience whatever they create is good.

Drawing with Mark: Good to Grow is an easy recommendation. As a great example of family entertainment, this is one disc the whole family can watch and learn from.

The video is a 1.78:1 aspect ratio transfer and features some issues typical among lower budgeted releases. There is the need for some color timing and the occasional shaky camera work is noted — not surprising, considering this is a cable access show. The audio fares slightly worse but that is due almost entirely to the fact about 90 percent of the track was recorded outside. I am happy to note it seems as though there was some type of windsock put over the microphone as the audio is better than I know it would’ve been completely unfiltered. Fortunately the Dolby Digital 2.0 doesn’t need to worry about many layers. The dialogue is audible and it’s clear care was taken to ensure it’s showcased at its best.

Now let’s talk about the special features. When you open the case you’ll see the liner notes are also a drawing booklet. On the disc itself are two features: an art and craft idea as well as a bonus drawing lesson. Also listed is the program’s website which contains coloring pages among other things.

It’s rare for me to recommend a disc with a short runtime. However Drawing with Mark: Good to Grow is highly educational while managing to be entertaining as well. It’s a combination which gets me to recommend the disc without hesitation.

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

89
Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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