Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Urban Sketching with Markers (Part I)


Urban sketching is a crazy collection of whatever skills you can bring to the table. There are those who sketch with paints/watercolors, colored pencils, pen and ink, graphite, markers and even dry erase markers. It's all good. As they say in the south, "dance with the date you brought." I am one of a number of urban sketchers who has found comfort in the use of markers. Our styles range from a tighter, realistic style to a loose energetic style and everything in between. For example, check out the range of styles between Lisa Flahive http://flahive.fineartstudioonline.com/collections/48778, and Donald Owen Colley http://buttnekkiddoodles.com. Both have styles I greatly admire.

By the way, much like picking out paint brushes, there is a large variety of marker tip sizes and shapes available, from very fine pens, brush tips to chisel and calligraphy tips (also known as nibs in some places). The advantages of using markers is that they are fast-drying, blendable with other colors, and come in an assortment of colors and kits. For example, you can pick up a set of cool greys, warm greys, basic colors, earthy colors and pastel colors. These are great if you can identify in which color palette your sketches normally reside. Of course, you can always mix and match to create your own customized marker set. I will cover the many popular brands of markers available in my “Part II of Urban Sketching with Markers.”

Many people have asked me about my secrets to using markers. Here are a few tips that I like to use which may be of interest to you. (Click on the image below to enlarge it for better viewing and detail).

Step 1: I like to sketch out my scene in pencil or fine point pen.

Step 2: Using the Push Fade and Pull Fade techniques, I will add color. You can notice that, by lifting the marker during the stroke, you can achieve some nice graduation in color.

Step 3: Now I can go back over the original color strokes and overlap them with secondary strokes to add more color or more dimension. Often I will add pastel colors and pick up the sky tones, skin tones and reflections to add energy to the sketch.

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