Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How I Work with Markers

     Crayola has been in the hands of just about everybody, whether it was a colored pencil, the famous box of crayons (the only company to famously call vermillion macaroni and cheese), and a wide assortment of water based markers.  I've played with markers off and on and continue to find new ways to use them.  The particular markers I use today are really just a grown-up versions of what my brother infamously scribbled with on the back of his closet door.

Tombo is a lesser known brand of water based markers but a good fit for those interested in trying water-based markers. 

      Tombos have both a brush side and a felt tip side that both have their uses.  They are water-based and will mix with any other water-based marker.  I'm using a white prismacolor blender with my Tombo's which is basically a felt pen loaded with a special water based liquid that does a great job, better than a brush with water, of mixing colors together.  

       What about Copics? I've used them, and they are certainly the best I know of but I'm not about to make my readers feel like they need to lay down 120 dollars to just get started on using markers.  Tombos are totally fine and walk a good line between the basic Crayola marker and the Copic marker costing about 25 dollars for a basic set.

My basic setup for working with markers and the first few stages I go through to start an illustration.

       I start by using a pencil on mixed media paper to outline what my work will be.  This allows me to make changes without too much of an artifact of where I was planning.  Fine pens from Micron for outlines work well, but ballpoints are also great tools that can look just as good as artists pens.  

Adding more color to my sketch

       One of the greatest assets of the water based marker is how blendable they are.  When I was in college I heard this and wondered just how people blend markers.  If you try to blend markers on paper you're gonna have a bad time.  Use a small piece of plastic to lay down pigment with your marker, or any surface that won't fully absorb the pigment and use a white blending marker to pick up mixed pigment - there's no actual white pigment inside them, just a special liquid that carries pigment better than pure water.  The white pigment marker will then work as a hybrid between the two or more colors you mixed.  A wetted basic brush will work too to pick up pigment but doesn't provide the same effect as seen in the pictures.  If you're worried your marker will get dirtied, no worries, just take the dirty marker and draw on a scrap piece of paper until the color coming out is the original color.  The tip may stay dirty but it will work correctly.

Adding more color, starting to blend some colors.

Starting to use my Micron fine pen to bring in some texture.

Beginning to add a different colored flower into the composition.

Detail of the finished work.

All done!  
Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions just send me a note!

greentuxudio [at]

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