I think I may have it. After a previous blog about drawing badly I may have figured out how to draw well with markers. Or at least figured out a finished marker technique that I like. It’s the same technique I was using last week but it seems to be working out better now. I know what I’m doing with the markers a bit more. That and I think I’ve finally reached a critical mass of markers. I’ve got enough variety of types to make a variety of marks.

I’ve always been one to try out new pens and pen sets. I don’t always find anything real to do with them but I find it fun to try new things. It’s strange because sometimes I don’t really “Get” a tool until years after I’ve bought it. I can remember when an art store near where I worked at the time was going out of business. The store had a sale on pen nibs. That’s the kind of pen that you dip into ink and draw with. I think the nibs were a nickel a piece and I bough about twenty different types. I tested them out a bit but it wasn’t until years later that I discovered I really liked one on the pen nibs. Of course the store was long gone, the nib some strange brand, and I never found one again. They were only a nickel so maybe I should have bought a couple of each. Oh well.

I’ve been buying marker sets for the last year or so. Some cheap ones like Bics and Sharpies and some more expensive professional ones like a set of Faber-Castell Pitt pens, Blick markers, ShinHan Touch markers, and a couple of Copic and Chartpaks. I also have a set of Koh-I-Noor ball point color sketching pens that I’ve never done much with. All of these pens have combined into a finished drawing technique that I mostly described last week. Except now I’m using the Koh-I-Noor pens to add a hard edge where I want one. Marker in layers, hatching with color, white charcoal to work back to lighter tones, and ink pen for a small bit of hard edging. There you go.

I still only have that technique worked out in blue. I don’t have the necessary amount of markers to go full color just yet but I want to buy some Copic Sketch markers soon. I like the brush tip on the Copic Sketch markers more than any other brush tip I’ve tried. I also like the brush tip on the Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush markers too. I might get a few more of them. I’m now into expensive marker territory but I think I’ll actually use them.

I want to do some cartoons in marker. I was working on a, sort of, gag a day cartoon but it’s been on the back burner. It’s my “Message Tee” strip which is really just drawings of people with strange sayings on their shirts. I might do some of them in marker. The problem I’ve been having with the cartoon is finishing the color. I enjoy drawing, inking, and coming up with slogans but did not enjoy coloring them. I colored them on the computer in a basic sort of way but I wasn’t happy with the strip so I shelved it.

After doing a few marker drawings at five by seven inches I decided to test if I could scale up the size. I grabbed a couple of my Message Tee drawings and printed them out at about eight by ten inches to see what I could do. Even though the size of the paper was bigger I kept the scale similar to the five by seven inch size and so was able to do a nice job with the markers on the larger drawings. It wasn’t, as I feared, scaled up too far.

It’s when I tried to integrate type that things went sour. The type wouldn’t integrate. It stood out as too mechanical. I did a few of the usual tricks to make the type look less mechanical but nothing quite worked. I thought of drawing the type on the person’s t-shirt but the letters are too small for nice hand lettering. At least mine. As a test I ended up drawing short sayings onto the shirts. That worked fine but I want longer sayings. I’m still unsure of that solution.

A funny thing happened when looking back at the color I’d done for the Message Tee drawings. I’d grown to like it. It wasn’t bad. It was basic but I’d done a nice job of making things interesting with some color design. So now where am I? Good question. I found a technique I like for doing finished drawings in marker and thought it would be a good solution to a gag a day strip that left me unsatisfied but it turns out the marker technique doesn’t integrate well with type but the original color solution for the strip works better than I thought. Hmmm. Well I guess it all beats the heck out of feeling frustrated because I made some bad drawings. Either way I think I’m going to start posting “Message Tee”. Sometimes you just have to stop being a perfectionist and start doing things.

One of the things I do want to do is sit in a park and draw with my markers. I think they will make good drawing-in-the-park tools. I have painted in the park with my gouache set before but that requires water and water bottles. Plus a rag for wiping the brushes on. A marker I can just uncap and have instant color. I think that will be cool. Of course I have to wait until the Spring to find out.