“I’m glad you’re here!”

Professional illustrator Mark Marderosian has drawn beloved characters from Disney princesses to Clifford the Big Red Dog. Now he turns his attention to his own show, Drawing with Mark, which aims to teach young children aged 5 and older how to draw.

During the episodes, Mark takes a trip somewhere to teach kids about the subject matter they will be drawing. These trips occur between the two drawing lessons contained within each episode. Mark draws in a place he calls The Magical Attic, which is a green screen animation where he teaches kids the day’s lessons. He’s helped out by The Angels from the Attic, which are Mark’s animated creations. And while they remain mute during the episodes they serve not only as cute characters to focus on they also present the basic shapes kids need to remember when drawing. Within the episodes is also simple animation which can be anything from a comic strip panel to a short silent cartoon. Finally there are book recommendations at the end of each episode. This Drawing with Mark disc includes two episodes: “Happy Tails” and “We All Scream for Ice Cream.”

In the episode “Happy Tails,” Mark travels to the Buddy Dog Humane Society in between drawing lessons. The first lesson teaches kids how to draw a dog, while the second teaches them about drawing a kitty cat. While Mark is at the Humane Society he learns about how to take care of animals, specifically dogs and cats, and gives tips to young kids who may be trying to convince their parents to get them a pet.

In “We All Scream for Ice Cream,” kids get to practice drawing ice cream cones and ice cream trucks, and Mark travels to a place called Wally’s Wicked Good Ice Cream and Treats.

Mark’s Bostonian accent is charming, and his genuine love of drawing and enthusiasm for the subject matter at hand will win over any kid who watches. He encourages the kids to practice, and to consider the lessons as having fun not something they should feel pressured to excel at. His gentle encouragement and ability to connect with the themes makes this an easy recommendation.

The video is a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and has some issues, even freezing a few times. The green screen is occasionally off as well. However the specific technical problems such as a lack of color timing will likely not faze the target audience. The audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 and is pretty soft though the theme song and accompanying music sound clear if not richly layered.

There are a few special features. Firstly the liner notes of the disc are actually a drawing booklet. Secondly there is a bonus drawing lesson included as a featurette. And finally there is a link to the official website where you can print out coloring pages.

Even with the short runtime Drawing with Mark is an educational show which actually teaches a skill. It’s a quick watch with an engaging host.

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

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