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Getting Started with Pen, Ink & Markers

Lesson 8 of 8

Demo: Build Color With Pens & Markers

Mary Jane Begin

Getting Started with Pen, Ink & Markers

Mary Jane Begin

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Lesson Info

8. Demo: Build Color With Pens & Markers


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1 Class Introduction Duration:06:19
2 Demo: Pen Tools Duration:06:15
7 Demo: Marker Tonality Duration:06:28

Lesson Info

Demo: Build Color With Pens & Markers

So now I want to show you kind of a different approach to using the markers, which is, I call it string based or it's kind of threading of the color, and I'm gonna start with I think the Pitt pen because I feel like it's a really nice line-based tool. Again, I'm gonna turn upside down because as I draw, I'm drawing around a thing, so I'm trying to use my elbow and my wrist to activate that motion. And again, you're trying to maximize the way your body works, the way the tool works. This is a tool that, if you turn it on its side, it gets really fat. If you keep it a little more vertical, and it gets thinner. So I'm going to try to make a sort of green blue ball, and I'm gonna try to do it with sort of strings of color so it has just a different flavor and feel than that. Utilizing the strength of line with a marker, and I'm gonna go over the blue that's already there and sort of creating a shadow color. Turn this. There we go. So again, you can layer markers. Just make sure that the ma...

rker has dried below and on Bristol paper, that is almost instantaneous. (humming) Now the other thing I wanna say about markers is I think sometimes people feel like I can only use a purple, and then I'll turn to the red and turn to the green and they don't blend, they don't layer colors to make interesting color. And I think that that's kind of a loss because these colors look beautiful when you layer them, and you can get a lot of interesting colors. And this is a case where, you know, I would be tempted, again, to make a color chart for this because I think that it would be really helpful to see all the potential colors you could make. For palettes, when you're getting any of these, they come in a set, typically. So buying just a set of micron pens or set of copic markers or a set of gel pens, you can have a variation of yellows and some reds, purples, greens. You have your primary colors. Your blues, your reds, your yellows, and a couple of secondaries, but it's not quite like buying paints. When you're buying paints, you're going to have more variation when you buy a set or when you pull it all together, you're going to tend to get more variation of your primaries and your secondaries and your tertiaries. I think just starting with a set of microns or a set of the copic pens is a good place to start because it comes with at least one primary each and some secondaries and tertiaries. You can always add to your collection of colors. When you go to the store, you can pull in more pigments by buying individual pens. So that's always an option. I do recommend and I recommended this with my oil painting, acrylic, and water color classes. Having a variety of types of your primaries, one of the primaries, of your blues, of your reds. In this case, you can see the set doesn't come with a huge variation, but if you substitute with a pinkish red, an orange-y red, a green-blue, and a purple-y blue, just at least two variations of each of your primaries, your red, your yellow, your blue, you get a little more variation of color, and so I kind of feel like that's a nice thing to do. But if you feel like I don't want to make that investment, I don't want to get too many colors off to start, just get a full, like one of these sets of at least 10 to 12 colors, and I think that that's perfectly legitimate. But the more colors you have, the more variation you have. So I'm gonna now pull the yellow into this, as well, and this is where I'm gonna layer a little bit of this color. And I'm using the bevel edge to create this tonality. Now I'm gonna switch to this, sort of strings of color. This is the one that makes the squeak sound. (audience member giggles) What I'm trying to do is I'm going to make a green ball, and I'm gonna use a flat tone here and then I'm gonna add a line on top of it here to make the strings of color, okay. So now I've got to go, I'm gonna go to a lighter green to see if I can modulate this color little bit more, and again, I've pulled from several different types of greens, you know, different types of markers, different brands, to build this up. And you really, when you start to do this, the differences between these tools become less and less significant. So I think that, you know, you can, people might ask like, well, can you move between different? Yes, absolutely. You can combine any of these markers. That's perfectly legitimate. So this particular one is the copic and it has, again, a high level of transparency. Quite the opposite of the poscas, which are really densely opaque. So they do act differently, but they work together well. So I'm using line to describe this form. I'm actually gonna go in a different direction with my line. And it's sort of a fat line, it's thin. You can hardly even see it. And I'm just trying to treat this a little bit differently than this one, utilizing the strength of strings of color as opposed to flat tonality. (humming) And it's, you know, again, this is, markers are an immensely satisfying tool because they're super portable, I mean, you don't need to worry about this if you're traveling. You can go anywhere in the world with a set of markers and a piece of paper. So it's immensely portable. Probably this is one of the most portable mediums that you can get. So I'm a huge fan of the markers. I think that, you know, and you don't have to have the level of expertise, sometimes, that you might with, say, with the pen nibs or some of the other tools where, you know, you really have to practice to get little bit better at it. You can enter it very simply, but markers, we all hold these tools. We all hold pens and pencils in our hands. So any kind of pen-based pencils, pens, colored pencils, pastel pencils, we're all a little more familiar and a little more comfortable with them, so I think the entry level is just a little less scary, perhaps, than some of the other media. I personally feel like we shouldn't be terrified of any of it. It should all just be about play and fun. But in this case, I think people aren't really intimidated by markers. This is a very, very popular medium to use and so it's also, I think extremely accessible. Okay, so I'm building this up with strings. I'm gonna kind of turn and go in the opposite direction to build up my tonality. This would be called crosshatching. I'm just trying to build this form and make it feel as cohesive as I can. I'm also trying to make my marks curve a little bit here. And you know, the markers are often also used, as I said, for comics, for character development, and traditionally, markers were used for what's called compositing, and that's basically in advertising, where you would make a, called a comp, and that's a preliminary study for a finished advertising illustration. And that's, you know, that was its primary use in the 1950s, but as time's worn on, it's become more of a finished medium. It's still often considered not, like, a finished, a medium that you would use for a beautiful finish, but people are using it more and more and you have such a variety of choices, and you can see on different surfaces, they are quite beautiful. That it's moving away from just being a preliminary material into a material that's really more finished. And here, I'm just trying to build up my line work to make this ball as cohesive as possible. I've used several different types of markers. I'll show you in a second, and I've built from this sort of shadow tone. I started with this sort of blue color and I'm trying to bury it just a little bit so it blends into the next layer of color a little more easily, but I needed a dark tone there, and that was with a Pitt pen, as well. Almost finished here. The only thing about markers that can be a little frustrating (chuckles) is you cannot erase them. Can't. It's like, you can't. Once it's there, it's there, so you have to be okay with that. And almost done, I think, with this tonality. Yeah, that looks pretty good. A little bit up here. So once again, big fan of the markers. I would highly recommend getting, maybe test a couple different types literally in the store. Other big mess of pens in front of me now, but wait, let me just show you. I used this pen, I used this one, I used this one, and (imitates clicking) this blue. Here's my palette for this little ball here. And the reason why I'm showing you this, this was the darkest area here, is that I used two different, the copic pens and the Faber-Castell pens, and they also have slightly different tips, obviously. I used the bevel to get more of a smooth tone and I went on top of it with the Pitt pen that has, you know, a really fine tip to it, and I used this tip, which is really, it's a super transparent color, this particular copic pen. So I used a combination of brands to achieve, you know, the textural, linear structure for the ball, as opposed to the sort of flat tonality of the box. But, you know, as I said, this is such an accessible medium. It's really fun to test it, and you don't have to just go in and buy a set. There's always pens that are loose in the Blick store. I've been in there before, and you can just test any of those pens on this piece of paper. You can't really do that with the paints because you have to open tubes, squeeze them out, but with markers, you can test anything and see if you like the feel of it. And if you like, you could even get some test papers to see if it feels better on one paper versus another paper. So these are very accessible as a medium because of that. Because you can do a lot of testing right there in the store before you make any kind of investment in your tools and materials.

Class Description

Are you interested in drawing with pen, ink, and markers but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to pen, ink, and markers. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a drawing practice. By the end of this course you will be equipped with the know-how to start experimenting and drawing with pen, ink, and markers!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of pen, ink, and markers and how they work
  • Which supplies and papers to use when working with pen, ink, and markers
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium

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Donna K. Fitch

A great overview class for those who know nothing of the variety of pens, markers and papers available. Mary Jane is an accomplished teacher, and I look forward to putting her teaching in action.