Markers are the chosen medium of many illustrators, designers, and lettering artists. Artist markers are an excellent portable and low maintenance medium. For some, the lack of mess is what makes markers worth learning. For others it’s the fact that they dry extremely quickly, which allows new artists to work through sketches at a quick pace.
The results of marker drawings resemble ink drawings. However, markers save their artists a lot of the trouble that comes with carrying around inks. They are blendable and layerable like watercolors but tend to have a very distinctive look characterized by even pigmentation.
Marker drawing are as popular in anime drawing as they are in marketing and design. When used for realism they can give a reflective photographic finish to an image. When used for impressionism, they can develop as much tone and detail as a painting.
Take a look at these 5 marker compositions, to get some inspiration about what you can do!
1. Tom DesLongchamp
Many artists aim for full color saturation when drawing with markers. However, DesLongchamp favors run down markers that are unable to fully spread ink anymore. Using mostly dry markers allows DesLongchamp’s compositions to have a unique roughness and textural play. Because of the unfinished look of the marker strokes, DesLongchamp’s portraits almost look as if they cannot sit still.
2. Stephen Wards
Wards is a designer and illustrator who uses mixed media, including pens, markers, and colored pencils. His marker designs tend to be heavily saturated with even coloring. Wards develops picture-perfect detail by layering, so that he is able to draw noticeable differences between shade and light. Marker images such as those take compositional planning.
3. Stephen Gardner
Stephen Gardner uses markers for their portability and ease of use in the open. Street sketching is one of the most appropriate uses of markers, since they are easy to switch out colors, and setup time is negligible. Markers are low maintenance and easy to retrieve. Gardner develops texture through geometric lines. Some parts of the urban sketch are purposefully rushed in street sketching style, and other parts carefully detailed.
4. Vince Okerman
Vince Okerman, a young artist, whose following keeps track of his artwork and doodles on Instagram, uses a mixed-media approach to transition from the realism of colored pencils to the illustrative pop art and cartoons of marker drawings. Markers lend themselves to mixed media pieces because of their quick drying time, and unlikelihood that their ink will warp the paper.
5. Lisa Krasnova
Lisa Krasnova, another artist who engages with her following to Instagram, uses markers for one of their more ubiquitous strengths: hand lettering. The flexibility and manipulability of markers make them an easy lettering tool to control. Krasnova combines lettering with photo-quality illustrations and designs, using strategic lighting and simple shapes.
Drawing with markers gives you a medium with an incredible amount of flexibility, while also giving the option to customize and layer your drawing. Take some inspiration from these five different marker styles and give it a try!