Commander Mark: My Childhood Art Hero

Mark Kistler: Commander Mark

Do any of you remember Mark Kistler?

Every day Mark Kistler, clad in his space jump suit and combat boots busted out the #2 pencils and highlighters to teach me the wonders of “perspective”, “foreshortening” and other such art terms that at the time totally blew my mind.

His enthusiastic “DRAW! DRAW! DRAW!” attitude made him a hero to all the art nerds growing up in the 80’s. His shows The Secret City, The Draw Squad, The New Secret City Adventures and Imagination Station ran on PBS throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, and Kistler’s has since published a whole library of drawing books and instructional DVD’s. He now tours elementary schools, and even runs a summer art camp, for a whole new generation of kids.

Grab a #2 and a sketch pad! Or (do what I did) open up Photoshop and pick up your Wacom tablet, Let’s DRAW! DRAW!! DRAW!!!

How-To-Draw with Mark Kistler: Electric Eel

The Rough Sketch

Sketch - Eel

Tighten it up

Outline Eel

Add some Shading

Shading Eel

Finishing Touches

Imagination Station Eel

Check out all of Mark’s YouTube videos! Do your own drawing (no joke – it’s still fun!) and email it in — maybe I’ll do drawing roundup post down the road.

You can learn more about Mark, his elementary school assemblies, his summer camp and more at his website, Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station.


  1. I grew up drawing with Mark also… so you can imagine my delight when I ran into him in person last year! After that, we made a cartoon together (or at least he “guest starred” in it, lending his voice and likeness, etc. The story’s all mostly true, but it’s definitely not for kids!).

    If you’re interested, you can check it out on my website It’s called, “Return of the Commander.”

    Take care.

  2. Hello All

    I like Your blog. It is very interesting. Do You have RSS so I can add to my favorites.
    Let me know when it will be ready. Kee it UP.

  3. I’m so glad I found this. All I could remember was that his name was Mark and my daughter loved the show. I remember him saying, “Draw, draw, draw.”

  4. thanks for helping me find him. i used to watch that show all the time.

    Draw, draw, draw; practice your drawing 30 minutes a day. I specifically recall him showing me how to draw two frogs hugging.
    and something about a little bear world?

    stay blessed…john

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