Marks and Splashes

lesson modules for "Marks and Splashes" course

Make Your Splashes — Make Your Marks!
is a self-paced series of fun, informative online lessons on drawing and painting for children’s books and other media for children.  Go here to discover a “secret” for better drawing — or here for a course overview.



18 thoughts on “Marks and Splashes

  1. The course changed my life!

    This course helps you understand the creating of children books and the industry for children books. Mark takes you step by step in creating a children book of your own. You will start your own book from beginning to end and not only the story telling thereof but also the illustrations.

    I found the course very interesting and enlightening. Mark was encouraging, helpful and gives the greatest advices, when you reach that “writer’s block”. Mark not only has a talent in creating children books but also a hidden talent of being very humoristic, which you will find out already in your first lesson. With every course you learn and smile through it all. I can’t wait to have my new lessons. It’s great fun to do the course and I will recommend it to anybody. If you join up I will guarantee that you will not regret it.

  2. Question for Mark

    I’m sold on taking the online course. The classroom of the future that was once a dream is here.

    Does the course begin on a given date? The month of March was mentioned. I would like to sign up now but wish to first complete the course I’m taking now with the Institute for Children’s Literature. I hope the fee stated in the initial offer will not be changing soon. Would it be possible to reserve a spot and begin the course this Fall or Winter?

    I have wanted to illustrate children’s books since high school. (1974 graduate) Back then the only path I had was an Art degree at our local college. The choice then was a concentration in general fine arts, or graphic design – without computers. I chose to major in graphic design hoping it would lead to a job. I lugged an oversized and unprofessional presentation of my work to all the studios in Cincinnati (more than an hour from home.) I landed an entry level job as a paste up artist. After getting married I quit and raised 4 kids. While my children grew I worked at an art supply store for a time but still wanted a steady job in art (not available locally). I couldn’t figure out how to break into the freelance art business. I ended up as a graduate assistant instructor and earned a MA in art education. I taught art at the local high school for 2 years but lacked diciplinary skills that are sadly needed at that level in public schools. So I started working full time for the first place that offered me a job in retail and I am still there today. Thanks to the free access of public communication to anyone with the right hardware. You are the first one to come along to offer the guidance and opportunity I wanted long ago.

  3. hi i was pretty much woundering the same as Diane Gronas. Will there be a set start date, because ive also been reading something about march this year.

    I would love to the course if it was to be repeated. Will the fee go up or will it be staying the same?

  4. Hi,
    I’m a new grad, and I’m interested in illustrating children’s picture books. I was wondering who/where should I send sample work to., and to get started.
    Any advise would be appreciated,


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  7. Is it possible to get all the lessons for your course at once if someone were to pay upfront? My timeframe for learning is a little more squished than 5 months…


    • Hi Sherri, I’m sorry that you ran into difficulties signing up! To answer your question, the course is still in session — it’s ongoing.
      It is self-paced, home-study — so it starts whenever you do. 🙂 Everybody in the online group/resource sharing site has started at different times.
      I just checked the links and sign-up form on this page and all seems to be in working order, now.

      Please let me know if you try again and have more difficulties! With the signup process
      Thank you for your message!


  8. Hello Mark !
    I am from INDIA and i read about ur long story and your interesting lipsmacking online course of make your splashes make your marks and am really really interested in it ….. the problem is in paying u the amount to get enrolled……there r sum problems wid my credit card but ill sign up as soon as possible ……and the LETS START ….. am really excited to learn from u !
    ive already got a story to ilustrate….. will u help me in that too ??

    • Hi Zainab,
      Thank you for your message. I’m glad you’re excited about the course! Yes, the idea
      with the course is to fit the instruction around the story or project you’re working on.
      It’s not a children’s writing course, per se, but we can look a bit at your story as the vehicle
      to carry your pictures. Look forward to seeing you in the class!

  9. While browsing for illustration information I came along this site. Is the course for real. Is it still offered. I realize it isn’t a college acrredited course, but is it what it claims. I am an art teacher, but am wanting to persue an illustration degree. Will this course be benificial to me?

    • Mary, the course is real. It’s a home-study, self-paced course with interaction. It’s a drawing and painting course, primarily as it applies to painting for publication — children’s book publishing.
      The focus is on what art directors say they most for look from an illustrator when looking at a portfolio — competency with drawing, composition and color.
      It does not go into digital mediums. Just basic drawing with pencil and painting with watercolor.
      The course can’t confer a degree on you. But it’s a great introduction and would compliment and enhance most institutional illustration programs if you’re in or about to enter one.
      Here’s the information page on the course.
      You’re also welcome to e-mail me if you have additional questions about the course.

  10. Hello, Mark.
    I have some drawing and watercolor exerience but need help from a professional, and I would love to understand children’s illustration.
    Is there an online peer group for student interaction?;
    your first sample vid addresses tracing the reference. Do we get beyond that?;
    Are the course vids better quality than the sample which stops and starts maddingly.
    Are all lessons via video and pdf file which we print?
    Do your files interface with with MAC?

    You may answer these questions elsewhere and if so, I apologize in advance because I could not find them. Thank you.

    • Hi Fookie,
      Are you asking if there’s an online peer group for student interaction in the “Make Your Splashes” course?
      Yes, there is and it’s the Children’s Book Illustration Group on the group share website Wiggio.
      Your second question: the first few videos do talk about “tracing” and using contour as a way to draw and invent from
      references — but not before incorporating gesture.
      Yes, the course goes beyond that. It’s the first lesson in a 20 plus lesson course that covers a lot of ground, from drawing and design to painting aND marketing. It’s also a way to learn about the vast array of other resources out there available to students of illustration — including the blogs, tutorials, orgs. of other illustrators, artists, animators and author-illustrators.

      I’m sorry that the video on the home page stopped and started maddeningly. Did all of the videos do that? Do they continue to?
      I’ve not noticed them doing it from my end. They’re all Jing Videos (TechSmith.) I’ll have to ask and see if others are experiencing this. No student has complained of this so far. You might see if the gesture videos continue to be slow to load. Might it have have been a bad Internet connection day? Here are some more pages from the site that may help

      Yes the PDFs and Jing videos should interface with MAC.

      You might see if these pages also help you in evaluating if the course can help you in your journey from
      artist and watercolorist to children’s book illustrator.

      Thanks for writing in and please holler if you think of more questions.


  11. Hi Mark i am from Egypt and i am very intrested in the course but i have the same concern as Nichole that 5months is a long period for me is there is any possibility to compress the course?

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