mark speaking

Inspiration Imagination Education


Public Appearances
I enjoy getting out of the studio and talking about illustration and writing with both children and adults. I have visited schools, bookstores and libraries around the country. Sometimes it’s in support of a particular book but often it’s about the creative process or develops from working with a library or school to build an exciting visit which coincides with a special event.

I have three presentations that I update and revise regularly. These presentations can be tailored to fit most age groups.

How To Make a Graphic Novel follows step-by-step the work that went into creating my graphic novel Earthling! From the original inspiration 30 years ago to the outline, first draft script, rough character designs to final 4-color art, this illuminates the process of making a modern, complicated graphic novel. 

Drawing Stories looks broadly at narrative, visual art by examining how powerful images are and how stories can be told in pictures and words. We look at narrative art samples from throughout history examining the earliest traces of human creativity - the cave paintings from Lascaux - through the medieval era Bayeux Tapestry. We also examine visual storytelling across media including: picture books, comics, animated films, graphic novels, television animation and video games. I also stress that pencil sketches and writing are a first step in all the visual creative arts. A salient point for these technology obsessed times.

Picture This focuses on picture books and investigates other illustrated book formats. It examines how pictures can tell stories beyond what the words on a page say.

I strive to create a fun and engaging experience that leaves attendees excited to challenge themselves creatively and hopefully expands their interest in creating original work. If time permits I am happy to do some sketching and quick drawing lessons on an easel and paper if provided.

I have also developed workshops and longer events tailored around illustration, animation and picture books. I am happy to adapt a presentation to meld with issues that are relevant to current class studies or interests. I can schedule time for signing books but I do not provide copies of my books to sell at this time.

Please contact me for availability, references and fees. I look forward to hearing what topics are most interesting to you.

Recent school visits include: Princeton Day School, New Jersey - Lakeview Elementary, California - Jersey Avenue Elementary, California - Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary, California - St. Pius Parish School, California - Eddyville Charter School, Oregon - Warrenton Grade School, Oregon - Oceanlake Primary school, Oregon - Jacksonville Writer's Festival, Oregon - Kennewick School District, Washington - Sunset Primary School, Oregon - Cedaroak Park Primary School, Oregon- La Center School District, WA.