Mark Kistler is an American artist who hosts drawing instruction programs for children, young adults, and their parents to teach the freedom and joy of drawing
He was inspired as a 15-year-old by Napoleon Hill's book "Think and Grow Rich." He wanted to follow his passion for teaching children to draw. He set a goal of teaching 1,000,000 children to draw by the age of 18. Stopping short at 400,000 on his 18th birthday re-set his goal to hit the million mark at 21 and continued teaching hundreds of kids at schools. In 1983 wanting to address the lack of drawing specific how-to-videos in art stores he began to approach video production companies to create a drawing program to make drawing accessible. One of the production companies he approached was already preparing to produce a children's painting program, upon learning about the opportunity Mark convinced the company to change their focus citing the lack of available programming specifically geared to drawing techniques. The show developed into Maryland Public Television's 1985 production "The Secret City."
Mark starred as the host Commander Mark, an enthusiastic spaceman teaching drawing techniques to viewers at home and the on-screen characters Zebtron, Metaman, and Cindy the Dragon. The show was broadcast to 11 million PBS viewers each week, far surpassing his original one million student goal. His art style is a cartoon 3D style that is focused on basic drawing techniques such as foreshortening, shading, surface, size, overlapping, contour, and density. His first book "Draw Squad" was released in 1988. In 1990, Mark was brought back to host a new Public Television program "Mark Kistler's Imagination Station." The show demonstrated to viewers techniques on how to Draw-In-3D and having fun while doing it.
In 2010 Mark was awarded an Emmy for the series for "teaching kids to draw in 3-D while imparting messages of self-esteem, and appreciation for literature, science, classic art and the environment. He continues to teach students in classroom settings, has produced several drawing books and DVDs, and currently hosts live and streaming drawing tutorial videos to members through a subscription model on his website. His use of enthusiastic tag lines for viewers such as "Draw, draw, draw!", "Art Attack!", "Art Animals!!", "Yeeeeahhh", "Sharpen your pencils!", "pencil power!", and "Dream it, draw it, do it!" continue to be referenced as inspiration for other artists such as Jerzy Drozd, Lee Cherolis, and Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade.