Tag Archives: painting

Review: Sharpie Brush Markers

I purchased a few Sharpie brush tip markers to play around with after trying the prismacolor brush markers a few weeks back at the Sketchbook Project. For $1.50 each they were a great way to get my Jetpens order over the $25 mark for free shipping. YAY!

Out of the envelope they look a lot like any other Sharpie, a little chunkier and with some grooves on the cap. The end is hollowed out and there is a ring around the end of the marker. This lets the cap click onto the marker when you post it. Smart. Without posting the marker I found it a tad short to use. Posted it was just right. The markers are light weight.
The marker tip is short, relatively stiff, yet pretty responsive at the tip. It’s not as springy as a Prismacolor or Copic brush tip but it does the job. I did a few quick sketches with the markers in my Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook. The paper is a slight cold press finish. The Copic and Prismacolor handle this paper without complaint, the Sharpie is already looking fuzzy. I will admit to being less gentle with my brush tip markers, but in my opinion that’s exactly what these cry out for. Instead of drawing with brush tip markers I try to paint with them.
So that brings me to my next round of inspection, layering. Copic and Prismacolor markers are designed to layer over one another to build up color, so it’s much like working with watercolors. Sharpies tend to stand on their own. Each layer of color turns the tone darker and darker, without subtle shading. Sharpie brush markers are best for bold expressive shouts of color. Finding a Sharpie brush marker in yellow proved to be an impossible task, unless one buys the set of 12. *sigh* So I bought a Copic sketch in yellow.
These will write on just about anything, just  like a regular Sharpie. They do seem a tad juicier than regular Sharpies, so might be a good choice for acrylic paint. Just be aware that if you write over gesso with these you’re pretty much going to scrub that brush tip. I found these really fun for fast observations and sketches. The 2 sketches I’ve shown here took all of 10 minutes each. These brush tips really allowed me to lay down a lot of color fast. You’ll notice there isn’t a lot of subtlety though. Sharpies lay down bright bold lines and lots of ink.
These are a great choice for someone who doesn’t want to invest in Copics or Prismacolors but wants that brush tip marker experience, they just need to be away it’s not going to be quite as good. Keep in mind they are probably not lightfast and are certainly not archival. Get them online at Jetpens.

Art Adventure: Boston’s MFA

After a brief hiatus the art adventures are back on! This week Jane and I headed to the MFA in Boston to see the (new to me) Art of the Americas wing. It’s pretty darn sweet. It also renewed my interest in some of the more modern American painters.

ONe of my favorites has always been Edward Hopper for his street scenes. It is directly in line with the sort of photography I’ve been doing lately as well as the paintings I’d like to produce.

From our trip Jane and I discussed a lot of things; that we miss having critiques because they push you to do more; we miss some structure of classes and assignments, to that end we’ve given ourselves an assignment (I’ll discuss this later); additionally we miss making art adventures.

We already decided that we’re going to meet again in 2 weeks.

The assignments are going to have a theme but that’s it. We can work any size and any medium as long as we stick to the theme. This week’s theme is pretty easy, “Create a piece inspired by our visit to the MFA.” It couldn’t get much more open than that, given that we looked at work on paper, sculptures, drawings, photography, and stuff from all time periods.

So far I’ve decided I’m going to go with a painting of a local business Hooper inspired, probably China River or Super Chicken and most likely work in acrylic on stretched paper. I haven’t figured out size yet, but that will come with time.

I leave you with this guy drawing in the MFA, I'll scan some of my drawings from our coffee sessions and from the train station.


The Good Advice

I got a camera to help me take shots of the places I take my pochade box, so that I can better finish the piece when I get home. It’s rare that any one piece is 100% finished outside. I find a lot of the advice given for photography is similar to that I’ve received for painting en plein air.

A brief round up fo advice that applies to both:

#1 Don’t be lazy. (This applies to all art.)

#2 Chase the light.

#3 Look at lots of art/photos, good and bad, you can learn a lot just by looking.

#4 Make lots of art/ Take lots of photos. Throw away the bad. (Paint over)

#5 Be authentic. (don't hit me for using the buzz word)

#6 It’s all been done before except for your vision.

(Also Scott Bourne, a bignamephotodude is into the cult of stuff read this post.)

As an aside I added a tripod mount to my pochade making it even more bad ass than before. Now I don't need to rely on rocks to prop my pochade, now I simply need to lug in a tripod…

Quick Update

It’s been a long week for me. The holidays always represent an increase in DayJob related work. It’s just how it is. I’ve grown accustomed to this shift but it’s hard to explain to those around me. That being said some things have been really cool.

#1.) We released a holiday issue of the eZine which you can find here.

#2.) I had my first in person live class in years and it went well.

#3.) And I’m developing 2 new classes; one based around prompts and one around painting.

#4.) I have an art show coming up. (see the post about it here)

I have more to say but right now I'm dead tired and need to catch some Z's. Also for those of you who are wondering, we have been having hellish issues with our internet service since the DNS went down at comcast. We've rebooted the modem, the computers, chatted with comcast and flushed the DNS on our modem, stopped and dumped it and restarted it. For awhile the internet will run smoothly, then 15 minutes later crap. So we're looking into other service providers and we'll see how that works out for us. While chatting with comcast the agent who was supposed to be helping me with my issue instead told me that my service package sucked and that I should upgrade. BEFORE MY ISSUE WAS RESOLVED. How about you help me fix my issue before you try and upsell? Anyway, I'm unhappy, my internet is not happy and hopefully high speed will be fixed by sometime in the middle of next week.

Art Journaling Technique: Grunge Backgrounds

This video is about how to make a cool grunge textured background. I looks like peeling billboards and paper. Easy to do. You need the following to create this back ground:

  • gesso
  • acrylic paint
  • Glue (PVA)
  • Watercolor crayons, pencils or paints
  • Spray inks (optional)
  • Sanding Sponge or sandpaper
  • Magazine with glossy pages.


New Art: “Life Illustrations”

In my journal I’ve been doing what I call "Life Illustrations" in that I try to take one aspect of something on my mind and illustrate it in one image, distill it down so that the image is evocative for me later. I’ve done quite a few and many are too personal for me to share but I’ve taken a few from my journal and used those as sketches for a few small paintings and here are 2 of them:


I’ve been quite disgusted with this whole steroids in sports controversy. What disgusts me more is that my tax dollars are going towards investigating it. I’d rather have my money spent on kids in schools than knowing is Clemens infact took steroids. Perhaps Clemens should pay for the investigation with a couple mill of the money he’s made pitching. I made a sketch in my sketchbook of this first. I’ll load up some pics of that later.


I was discussing the idea of a carbon footprint with someone the other day and this image came to mind. You might remember this image from my sketchbook.

I’m putting both of these up on etsy, you can find them here.

New Hedgehog Moleskin

Immediately after finishing my last hedgehog/ moleskin I started a new one. This one has distressed brown and black sheep hide covers, is 3.5×5.5 in size and was entirely hand made by me. It got kraft paper pages which is something new for me to work on. I used rough wrapping paper kraft paper for the pages too so it has a great texture for drawing and such.

So far it has been taking every sort of abuse I can hand to it, thus far in this book, I’ve gesso’d pages in clear and white, tinted pages with acrylic, glued in magazine pages with matte medium, sanded gesso off the pages, added layers of magazine, acrylic and ink. I’ve scraped with a pallet knife and credit cards. I’ve wiped on and off with a rag. All in all this paper is tough as nails. Unlike the 140lb printmaking paper it does cockle a bit but after drying it smooths out quite a bit. I’m very pleased with the amount of abuse that this book has taken, and to think that this books was one I deemed unsalable because I screwed up and trimmed the cover short. (Note how far the fore edge pokes out from the cover. Looks good with this but not so good when first made.)

After you get done looking at these pictures head on over to my Flickr account and see more pictures. I didn’t load them all here because it takes longer but at flicker you can see all the spreads thus far that are in the book.