I was feeling artsy the other day, and decided to play with my markers again. I wasn’t sure what to use as my model, but then my eyes rested on the TWSBI ink bottle that my partner got me for my 30th birthday (the metallic one, which is filled with black Noodler’s Bernanke Black ink). The way the light was playing off of the angles, which were filled with the deep black ink, looked really cool.
I still struggle with the elliptical nature of circles at angles, so the top is a little off. However, I am very happy with how the metallic band and the clear glass at the bottom came out! I gave this as a present to my partner, who said he appreciated the irony of my giving him a gift of the gift he gave me. Ha!
So last week I decided to try creating a portrait in marker from a photo of Sylvia Plath. I first went to draw it out in pencil… but then I kept going because I was enjoying it! It was done in about 1.5 hour, mostly during my lunch break at work with some detailing that evening. So here is the pencil only version:
After I finished it, I decided to give it a go with the markers, but I still really didn’t understand the way to shade with them yet. So here is my second attempt at using the markers, using only Black, and Cool Grey’s # 3, 5 and 7 (and colorless blender), completed in roughly 30-45 minutes:
My proportions were off because I was trying to set it up with the markers and not the pencil first. I had read that going over pencil with the markers would lock the graphite down and it would show through, but I have since figured out how to lift enough pencil to still see an outline but not be able to see it once the marker is added.
Next, I decided to try another still life from a photo, which was also a Christmas present for my partner’s mom and her boyfriend. I used the Cool Grey’s #3, #5, and #7 again, plus Neutral #2 for the background and the colorless blender:
I like how this one came out much better, since I am starting to get how the shading works! So it is becoming more and more fun, as I get used to the process. I have also ordered some more markers from oozak.com, so I am anxiously awaiting their arrival so I can start playing with more levels of shades.
A few days ago, I discovered Copic markers, which essentially provide a hybrid between the permanency of ink and the pliability of paint or graphite/charcoal. Since I really love to be able to blend and play with shading, I’ve never really enjoyed pens or markers – until now. These give you a lot of freedom to blend, especially if you use their colorless blender or some rubbing alcohol. Here is my first try at using them:
It’s messy, I know, but it was just for me to get used to how they work and how to blend. I actually only had a black one and two neutral grey ones to work with initially, so the shading here was primarily created using the blender – and since I didn’t plan ahead too well, there are some areas that should actually be lighter. But I think that considering the constraints of what I was working with, it was definitely impressive to be able to get that much shading with markers.
I picked up three more markers yesterday, all in the cool grey series, so I am looking forward to playing more! There are 358 shades available altogether, so if you are more of a color person than me there is a bounty of shading and blending options to play with. Here is a helpful page for understanding their system for designating their colors. I like the fact that the numbers indicate both the saturation and the brightness.
I also love the fact that they are refillable – the markers are expensive to buy initially although you can find the best prices at Oozak – if you sign up for a free account, the Sketch markers are $4.99 (instead of $7.99) and the Ciao ones, which hold less ink, are $3.41 (instead of $5.49). However, since you can get 12-15 refills from an $5.59 bottle of ink (usually $8.99), the cost ends up being more practical than buying a whole new marker every time it runs out, not to mention more environmentally friendly.
I will be sure to post any more sketches I work on with these – I really like them!