"I was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where I began drawing almost as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand. Graduating from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1984, I proceeded to Kalamazoo College, where I was befriended by children's book writer/illustrator (and 2001 Caldecott award winner) David Small. David's example was instrumental in suggesting the course that my writing and illustrating would eventually follow." ~ Mark Crilley
Mark Crilley is the author and illustrator of several graphic novel and prose fiction book series, including thirteen-time Eisner nominee Akiko, Billy Clikk, Miki Falls, Brody's Ghost, and Mastering Manga.
Upon graduating from college in 1988, Crilley embarked on a series of jobs teaching English in the Far East, first in Taiwan, then Japan, and once more in Taiwan in 1993. It was while living in Japan in the fall of 1992 that I invented Akiko and fashioned her first adventure, a 33-page comic book story entitled Akiko on the Planet Smoo. Returning to Michigan in 1995, Crilley found an eager publisher for the tale in Sirius Entertainment of Dover, New Jersey. Sirius published the story as a one shot in December of 1995, with a new series entitled Akiko to be launched the following spring. In 1998, Crilley was chosen by Entertainment Weekly magazine for a spot on the "It List", their annual issue dedicated to the "100 most creative people in entertainment." This led to Random House Children's Books inviting Crilley to write and illustrate a series of novelized adaptations of Akiko for young readers. The first in the series, Akiko on the Planet Smoo, was published in March of 2000; the tenth, Akiko and the Missing Misp, hit stores in November of 2008.
Crilley's works have been featured in USA Today, the New York Daily News, and Disney Adventures Magazine, as well as on CNN Headline News. Today, Crilley is one of YouTube's "Top 25 Most Subscribed Gurus," creating drawing demonstration videos that have been viewed more than 60 million times.
Crilley lives with his wife, Mikki and two children in Michigan.