Wednesday, January 18, 2012



Ah! This age old question is asked of me more than any other, especially by beginning artists. I don't mind answering the question,(well, obviously since I'm writing an article) but sometimes I can't help laughing inwardly whenever the question is asked. Usually the question gets asked whenever a person finishes viewing a particular piece of work drawn seen online or drawn in person. The question is funny to me because I feel it's not REALLY what the person is, or should be asking. I feel what they really want to know is what technique I used to make the picture look humorous, exaggerated or interesting? How do you get "life" into the drawing? Why does it have a sense of movement? How do you get that dynamic quality in your work?

Asking What's the best marker to use, is akin to the Harry Potter villain, Voldermort, seeking the Power of The Elder Wand.

The truth is, it AIN'T THE WAND, in this case, it's the skill of the Magician.
At least, in part.

Markers are tools(which vary from one artist to another) that enable us as artists to do a job easier, that's all. They, in themselves don't do the job for us. There are tools that are better suited for what I happen to be drawing. For instance, if I HAD to limit myself to ONE marker to use for live party caricature, I would have to revert back to childhood....


Crayolas are, hands down, my favorite marker for live drawing. Don't get me wrong, I love Markettes, Tombo Brush Pens, and Chart Paks, too, but CRAYOLA holds a special place in my heart.

First off, it's how they make me feel, emotionally.

Whenever I draw with them, It feels like I'm getting ready to play, not work. I've watched caricature artists who draw exceptionally well, technique wise, but sometimes their faces are contorted in this mask of intense concentration, as the do their "job". For me I want party work to seem like fun, not labor, and this is exactly the tool I need to get me into that space.

Economically, the price of the markers can't be beat. Three to five bucks for a pack of ten. If you shop for pens regularly, you know how they eat into your budget.It could be argued that I'm not saving money, if I'm just using the color, Black from the box, but I use the dark colors if purple, blue ad brown as well with equal success and appreciation. People being drawn feel they're getting a color drawing, even though I'm just doing line. Another great way to save money is to wait until Kate August when Staples has their Back To School Sales. You can get the ten box for. As love as .99 at some locations!

Convenience wise, the Crayolas can be obtained from a variety of locations. You can't buy Tombo Brush lens from your local mom and pop candy store, CVS Pharmacy, Target, Duane Reade, or the stationary isle of your Super market, can you? This availability alone has saved me on numerous occasions wen I had forgotten my markers and couldn't get to a name brand Art Store.

Saving money, and Convienience are important factors, but what about functionality? How do these tools really perform in the field? I thought you'd never ask!


Even with ne ranting on about the skill of the artist, blah, blah, blah, earlier, I must say that the CRAYOLA, in the hands of a trained professional, deliver a quality if line so elegantly, that I come close to weeping looking at my completed drawings.

The secret of this superior line quality us found in the markers wonderf
ul conical tip. This conical tip is unbelievably durable, and might be expected, since it was designed to withstand the pounding of children. It works great for adults like me would are notorious for "heavy handedness" when we draw. With just minor adjustments of your ha d, you can get a curved calligraphic line, a fine thin line, or a bold massive one.unlike other pens whose tip usually loses some of it's firmness after a couple of drawings, I've used these tips until they've comp,etey dried out and they still hold their shape, This is definitely the kind of marker you want if you have a long line f people, find yourself in a zone" and don't have time to change markers, lest you break your flow.

I must admit, that not all drawing surfaces are CRAYOLA Marker friendly. All if the aforementioned be benefits of using the marker will fade away like your childhood dreams uf you use the wrong paper, stay away from papers that have a lot if tooth to them. You want your paper to have a smooth finish. Glossy paper works best of course, but can be pricey. I recommend card stock and cover stock paper that can be purchased at Staples ranging from 8X11 in size, to 11X17. The price us very reasonable for either size, the paper is sturdy, and you will have saved the life of a marker.

Oh yeah...good old notebook paper like I'm using in the photo works great too! I use notebook paper when I'm practicing. It saves money on sketchpads... Recession ya know...a mans gotta save money....


I hate to get all corny on ya and conclude that no marker is really the best, it all depends on YOU! So I won't. I will say for certain jobs like the one I described, live party caricature, there are markers that ARE better. Yeah, I'm taking a stand.... Argue me down if you must.....


Emily Anthony said...

You make me want to try them!! I'm currently a Copic Sketch marker user, which fits all my criteria (no smell, refillable therefore economical, great line quality) but I'm gonna get me some Crayolas now just to try!

RAA: Writers Group said... love for actual brushes and ink?

Kidding of course, but I've recently adopted more traditional brush work using the aforementioned tools. Much fun.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

Dudnt know that Copics were refillable... That little feature could justify the high price.... How much is the refillable ink?

Glad you are at least giving the Crayolas. Try. I've been preaching their effectiveness since I joined the NCN many moons past. While I will admit that is probably should be your primary marker, it's good to have a couple in your toolbox.

They also do fit my no smell criteria. Funny, the chartpaks didn't effect me as much when I was younger, however in recent years, I'd take them out to use and would get light headed enough that I'd almost pass out when using them indoors, accompanied by a head ache afterward.

Adam Pate is another advocate of non toxic no smell drawing tools, only he explores dry media, like Conte Crayon, China Markers and Lumber Crayons, which ain't alf bad, and come in a variety of colors, widths, darkness and thicknesses.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

If I ade you curious enough to consider trying, then my persuasive writing must be getting better. It's funny, but lately I've been in the mood to do less drawing, and instead give sage advice about drawing. Must be a function of age...this must be the "tell all" period of my life...

Christine Annette Fine Art said...

Thank you for your marker post on line quality. This is very valuable to me. I am a portrait painter looking to get into caricatures to pay some bills while my portrait painting business takes time to develop. I will try the crayola markers!