Tag Archives: markers

Grey Play

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.


New Copic Markers

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:

Grey Die

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!