I ordered refill inks for some of my Copic markers this week. I’ve been buying Copic markers for a few of years now and have around one hundred and ten markers in my stock. Or is it a collection? I’m not even sure because sometimes the collector’s mentality takes over and I want to get all the colors. But in the last year practicality has won the day and I’ve been buying ink refills for the markers I already own. One of the really good things about Copic markers is that you can add more ink to them. One bottle of ink will fill the marker eight times. With a marker being six or so dollars and a bottle of ink costing about the same it’s a good deal to buy the refill inks. So I do. I have the thirty six piece 25th anniversary Copic marker set plus another seventy two marker case that is almost full. The seventy two marker case I filled by buying markers a few at a time with colors that I liked rather than buying a prearranged set.

As I’ve been slowly matching up my markers with their ink bottle counterparts I’ve noticed a pattern in my behavior develop. I’d use the markers I have refills for more than the ones where I don’t yet have refills. Part of this is because I bought refills of the markers that I use the most first but part of it is also because when choosing a color I’ll sometimes shy away from the ones that I don’t have refills for. I don’t want the marker to run dry in the middle of a drawing. That would be bad. With this next order I should have about seventy five percent of my collection of refills complete. When it finally reaches one hundred percent I might get some new colors. Y’know, if the collector’s mentality takes over again.

I pulled out one of my marker drawing to write about and noticed that it was from the future. Or I had written the wrong date on it. Take your choice. It had 4/19/14 written on it but since it’s the first day of April 2014 as I write this that was obviously the wrong date. I checked my calendar in which I write down what things I worked on that day and it turns out I made this drawing on February nineteenth. I guess I was playing an April Fool’s joke on myself.

This drawing is named “Ranger Motion” and is drawn on a nine by twelve inch piece of bristol board. That’s another reason why the marker refills are so good. Bristol board soaks up ink like a sponge. Paper that is made specifically for markers is often smooth, thin, and has a surface that doesn’t absorb a ton of ink. But marker paper is often too thin for my liking so that’s why I prefer the bristol. It can really dry out a marker quickly though.

Nine by twelve inches is also a pretty big size for my marker drawings in general. I’ve made a lot of marker drawings at five by seven inches and some more at six by nine inches but usually not a whole lot bigger. It’s easier to use paint at the larger sizes but I guess I wanted something different that February day.

This is one of my face motif drawings. Or is it a mask? I don’t always know but being that the face is bright red it could be either one. As usual the first thing I did was start with a small drawing which I blew up and made a larger drawing out of. After I finished that larger drawing I scanned it into the computer and printed it out at this size in blue line for inking. I inked this one, to start, with an india ink filled marked and some French curves. After that I pulled out the markers and put down the color. Then I pulled out my brush, dipped it in India ink, and added line weight to the inks where ever I thought it was needed. The final step was to add some white highlights with a white charcoal pencil.

I’m happy with the way it came out. I went with a red and green color scheme and managed to avoid a Christmas look. The power of the light blue (Tahitian Blue one of my favorite colors of marker) even in small amounts stops the red and green from fighting too much. The purple makes a nice base for it all and settles down almost like a neutral color. The background is a bit odd being that it’s a mustard yellow. That’s not my usual color for a background but the technique I make it with is. I drag the side of the marker brush across the paper while varying the pressure I put on it to make that uneven line. That’s light purple on top of the mustard yellow which greys out and dulls down. Overall I like the airiness of the background.

This piece is all about the interplay of line and shape. There is also a lot of roundness versus flatness going on. The main bit of roundness is the guy’s head. That big round jaw and wide face . But then there is his neck and collar which flatten out as if made of paper. His eyes are circles without the roundness of spheres and his nose is hinted at but doesn’t reach out to you. The triangular marks on his face are the tipping point in the fight between flatness and roundness. They seem to play both sides as sometimes they seem round and other times flat. I’ve always enjoyed this type of interplay of space.

I’m no positive why I decided to make a marker piece this size. Though it was only made weeks ago motivations can fade fast. I think I was going to use it as part of a comic I’m making but I haven’t found a place for it in there just yet. Often I make art just for the heck of it but lately I’ve been trying to put together a couple of books of stuff and tie some things together. So far I haven’t finished any of them but until I do I’ll have to keep making things and then see what becomes of them.