Minnesota’s Mr. Crayola

July 5th, 2008 | Posted in General

Don “Mr. Crayola” Marco has apparently been getting a lot of internet “press” in the last two years mainly from sharing via e-mail. My friend and fellow cartoonist Ken Alvine of Sioux Falls, SD sent me an e-mail about this artist because he was born here in my homestate. I do not know where the following bio came from:

Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920’s.??ᬨ‚Ć His interest in art was evident even before starting school.??ᬨ‚Ć As a young adult in the Army Air Corp, he began his life’s career in Air Traffic Control, which continued until his retirement from Honolulu International Airport in 1973. Much of his spare time was spent as a professional artist.

Before retirement, Don started developing a technique to create fine art, using Crayola crayons.??ᬨ‚Ć Shortly after retiring, he published his first print. Living in Southern California, his work was in demand, including commissions from Burt Reynolds and a one-man show at his Dinner Theater in Florida .

His interesting choice of medium demonstrates how the physical limits of a given tool is incorporated by an artist and becomes part of their “style”. You see it all the time in cartooning… especially inking. Cartoonists that ink with a brush cannot easily do small circles or quick right angles, so their inking style avoids those things and adapts to the fluid and smooth brush. Mort Drucker uses a Gillott 1950 which has a point that can do tight curly cues and scribbles without catching like a crow quill, so his inking style uses a lot of curly lines and loose scribbled textures as a result. Those that use crow quills rely on cross hatching and more linear methods of putting down ink. Marco’s work adapts the waxy, textural nature of the crayon and uses it to create pieces with an effective ‘atmospheric’ fogging of the values and an interesting mixing of colors.


  1. craig says:

    What a cool and informative post. Thanks!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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