When it comes to artistic talent, Oathall students have it in abundance and they were thrilled when one of the top comic book artists in the world dropped by to say hello.
‘Manga’ artist, illustrator and author Mark Crilley visited Oathall after pupil Quinn Humphreys wrote a personal letter to him inviting him over.
To his delight, Mark accepted and flew all the way from Michigan.
Quinn said: “I’ve always been a fan of Mark Crilley’s work and the Manga style. When I thought of asking if he would come to Oathall, I had no idea if he would even reply, but he did and said, yes!
“Mark was amazing - everything I’d expected. The best part about his visit was being given an original signed sketch from one of the pages of his early editions of the Akiko series and having a photograph taken with him.”
Mark is You Tube’s most subscribed artist and his lessons on Manga and how to draw faces, doleful eyes and other distinctive features have proved a big hit.
Mark started producing his distinctive style in the early nineties while in Japan teaching English.
He wrote and illustrated a comic book story for young readers and watched it grow into a popular comic-book series called “Akiko” that has won him a host of young fans around the world.
With titles such as ‘Akiko on the Planet Smoo’ and ‘Akiko and the journey to Toog’, the main character, Akiko, constantly finds herself being drawn into other-planetary adventures, accompanied by her unearthly sidekicks Spuckler and Mr. Beeba.
Mark said: “My influences came from The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars and Narnia. I’m a storyteller really, and I simply do my best to entertain.
“I try to provide a quiet message in my books about the value of friendship and the great things a child can achieve when people really believe in her.
“I am fortunate to have both my Akiko comics and novels embraced by a small band of dedicated fans, without whom I’d never have made it to where I am today.
“I feel honoured to have been asked to come to Oathall, as it has a strong reputation for encouraging the Arts.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time here and the students, the work and the hospitality have been fantastic.”
Ruth Abrahams, project coordinator at Oathall, said: “Mark’s presentation was energetic, entertaining and inspiring to both students and staff.”
Manga, for the uninitiated is Japanese for comic book.