I’m a fan of magic markers. As a habit I like to draw my concept sketches in ink. If I draw them in pencil I’ll spend too much time trying to get the drawing right and spend too little time getting the concept right. With ink I know there is no erasing and the drawing will never be perfect so I don’t worry about it being perfect. I work out visual ideas rather than drawing ideas. That comes later.

As a consequence of liking to draw in ink I’m always trying out new magic markers. Especially black ones. I do have a few color marker sets and used to draw with them all the time but for years now I’ve done my preliminary color work, once the realm of the markers, on the computer. So it’s mainly black markers I’m always trying out.

I’ve worked with Sharpie markers before but they had never been a favorite of mine. A Sharpie marker lays down a lot of ink and there is usually a lot of bleed to the line. These are qualities I never was interested in. But when they came out with a refillable stainless steel barreled black Sharpie marker I had to get one. It’s just a cool object.

I’ve had it for a little while but didn’t get to use it too much before now. I’m really liking it. It’s the balance of the marker that I appreciate most. A steel barreled marker is, obviously, heavier than a plastic barreled one. And when I uncap the marker and put the cap onto the other end it becomes weighted so that I don’t have to press down as hard to make a line. I can use a lighter touch and make a wider variety of marks than I can make with a regular Sharpie.

After working on a few pages of concept sketches I was really liking the new steel Sharpie. So much so that I decided to make a few art cards with it. Those are baseball card sized drawings that I usually do on bristol board. I often do those in color so the next time I was at the art supply store I saw a set of 24 color Sharpies and decided to buy them. A 50% off coupon and $15 later I was the proud owner of the markers.

I’ve been having fun using then. The amount of ink they lay down and the small bleed it makes creates a soft quality to the drawings that isn’t present in drawings made with my other marker sets. I lay down areas of ink in parallel lines that follow the shape of the form I am drawing. With other markers these lines have hard edges as stroke meets stroke. With the Sharpies these edges are softer and less apparent. That’s not necessarily better but different. I like different.

I even went to the local office store and got a few more color Sharpies that I didn’t have. I didn’t know it but Sharpie makes “Limited Edition” colors. The ones I bought were all named after coffees. I have no idea why there are special edition colors but I bet they are testing the market to see which ones are popular.

Oddly enough, amongst all of the various color of Sharpies there is only one yellow. Bright yellow. No dull yellows or yellow browns. Sharpies were never made to be art markers and have only recently started to make a lot of colors but it’s still weird that there is only one yellow.

But one yellow is enough for me right now as long as I’m enjoying the soft line of the Sharpie. I’ve even done some little stained color field drawings with them. Fun stuff.