Using Markers

Although I like drawing with fine point pens, I am not a fan of marker so I embarked on this exercise after some procrastination. I included a cabbage, which I had not used before for its interesting texture. I used frottage on the leaf to get a better idea of the texture that I was aiming to represent on paper. The other veg were a kohl rabi and the recycled pumpkin. The cabbage had yellow tinges on the edges of its outmost leaves and the pumpkin echoed this colour.

Cabbage frottage

First of all, I drew a small sketch in my sketchbook. I found that working on a small-scale made it easier to work the markers more densely, perhaps because there was so much white space around them. The image here does not really convey this white space because I photographed the image and not the page, which I subsequently filled with notes…

First mini-sketch of veggie still life using markers

I then scaled this up to A4 size but replaced the kohl rabi with two carrots, for more foreground colour.  I was not comfortable using the markers. The colour range was limited – at least with what I had available – and the colours were dense, intense, unsubtle, very different from what I would normally choose to work with. After “completing” the A4 drawing, I stood back and was not happy with the “finished” image, particularly the cabbage leaves, whose texture seemed rather heavy handed.

Stage 1 A4 drawing with markers

I had chosen to work on very thin paper, not in my sketchbook, but leaning on an A3 pad. However, when I removed the paper from the pad, I noticed that quite a bit of ink had gone through the paper and I now had a ghostly image in my A3 sketchbook, which reminded me of a monoprint. In particular, I thought that the cabbage leaf detail was an improvement on what I had drawn – more delicate!

Monoprint detail

I decided to develop the “monoprint”. I cut up the A4 image into shapes that I could work with and control easily so that they would not move about on the image underneath. I used stippling and a little line work to create the print. In making the print, the “main” A4 image, the initial drawing, also developed, of course. By the time I judged the print to be complete, I had greatly improved both images and was much happier with the outcome!

Marker monoprint
Final A4 marker drawing

I particularly liked the carrots in the drawing at the end. The intense colour of the markers seemed to produce quite realistic carrots! On reflection, the floppy outer cabbage leaves were a bit haphazard and don’t do anything for the composition. I could also have cut open the cabbage and focused on the layered structure inside.

I am still not a fan of markers but can see that they have potential and I may come back to them in the future.


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