The prior post, “An Apple a Day,” was part of this line of labels.
I enjoyed this project tremendously. I felt like an old-fashioned, botanical illustrator. It was enjoyable to create fruit that was “less than perfect!”
Discovering how to make grapes and blueberries look “powdery” was particularly fun. Dissolving white colored pencil over my marker renderings did that trick.
A project like this truly illustrated my “whatever works” motto. There was only one day for me to do each painting.
Therefore, this particular project was done entirely in markers. My marker technique saved me a tremendous amount of time. Because marker paper is translucent, there is no transferring of a sketch onto watercolor paper. The thin, translucent paper is adhered to a stronger sheet of paper later on. I have a two-sided adhesive paper that I use which has amazing tackiness.
There are several steps involved in my marker technique. The first step is done entirely with markers. For years I used Ad Markers, but later on I switched to the two-sided, Prismacolor Markers. These two types of markers are “incompatible with each other. That means that they do not blend with each other. That can be helpful when you don’t want smearing. A foreground can be done with many colors, and a sky can be done with the other, incompatible medium. It can be useful to employ both markers!
Ad Markers have the “vehicle” of the solvent Xylene, and the fumes are quite toxic. I get rather giddy after working with them too much. However, Ad Markers are very compatible with Prismacolor pencils. They can actually melt and dissolve them. That can create some very interesting textures and effects.
I’ve mentioned before that I love to solve the mystery of creating interesting textures.
When I used the word “vehicle,” that is the liquid part of applying the pigment. For watercolors it would be water. With Admarkers, I’ve actually used Bestine (Rubber cement thinner), and painted with a brush using marker tone laid onto the acetate palette. This technique is helpful for creating soft tones, such as on a sky.
The Prismacolor Markers have the advantage of having two nib sizes. Their vehicle is alcohol, and the application of color is not as wet and as smooth as with the Admarkers. However, with the sharper nibs and drier effect – there can be a lot more control achieved.
- There are many types of marker papers. I use only one type. It is Beinfang Graphics No. 360. It is very thin and translucent. Water-based markers so not work on it, unless the paper is firmly mounted onto another board or firmer paper. A special adhesive must be used.
Here is an example of one of my early illustrations done with markers. I was asked to replicate a “Dali style” landscape.
Marker colors may alter as they dry. I use a piece of clear acetate as a “palette” to help mix marker colors. Markers can be rubbed onto the acetate, and then another marker can “pick up” some of the color on the acetate. This can be very helpful to achieve more variance between the colors. It is fun to experiment.
Marker values are altered considerably just in the amount of layering of a marker tone. One marker can create many values depending upon how many times it is layered across the surface. To achieve a darker and more saturated tone, I will sometimes work on the back of the paper! To achieve lighter tones, I often use a “blender marker.” This same technique applies to watercolors. When the paper is lightly wet with clear solvent, the marker tone applied after that is subtle and significantly lighter.
Here is a sampling of these marker paintings that were done for the Mountain Sun/Walnut Acres project. I completed all of these illustrations within a time frame of approximately two weeks.
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