I used these markers for formal presentation drawings in the office when I worked as an architect. But more importantly, back in 2012, I spent a few months sketching with them. This was inspired by the work of Eduardo Bajzek from Brazil at the time and his workshop at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo.
I love their smooth crisp colour, the hard edges of their chisel tip and how you can layer them seemingly endlessly. And I love the fact that I can achieve really quick ‘washes’ of colour without having to wait for anything to dry.
Last week I went through all my Copic marker sketches from 2012 and it was really interesting to follow my journey with them back then… and realise that I’m going on a similar one now, as I re-learn how to use a different tool.
When I first started using them, a little over a week ago, I initially thought of them as a replacement for my colour pencils, but I just didn’t know how to create texture and found the strong block colours a shock to the system.
It’s easy to vary my pressure when using coloured pencils and with watercolour pencils I can add a little water to smooth strokes and create shapes of colour. But not so with these markers! I immediately realised that they are more a shape tool than a line tool!
On the third sketch, I started to become comfortable with them.
I was caught in a sudden storm and sketched this quick sketch of the date palm tree near the station. Ah! got it! I was suddenly using them more like my dagger brush than a pen/pencil.
Note: I think that the simple subject matter – a single tree rather than a whole forest of trees – made a difference too!
And I spent the week experimenting with different marks and ways of layering the colours that I used in 2012 to get the greys of the bush. And then I started layering with my watercolour pencils. It’s been a super fun week!
But before I share my sketches I know most of you are wanting to know…
Do the markers bleed through to the other side of the page?
Yes, but only through to the backside and not to the next page. This is great as Copic markers can bleed through three or four pages of copy paper!
In 2012 when I used them in Moleskine Cahier I always had to have a backing sheet under the current sketchbook page to prevent this. But as the Greenwood Journal contains 100gsm paper (it’s the perfect weight for this type of notebook) there is no need for any extra protection.
So basically, I sketch on every second double-page spread and use a dot sticker to hold the back sides together. This is what I did back in 2012 and it works great. However, it does mean that I’m going through the Greenwood much quicker now! 🙂
As mentioned above…each day I was experimenting and trying new things, adding lots of texture and doing way more layering than I would ever do with watercolour. Two things were a challenge initially – how to get soft colours for the background trees and how to get the dark areas dark enough.
Three other comments related to this photo:
- I’m still working out what colours I need to carry with me so I’m not going to share my selection yet. As this is part of my walking kit (mentioned in yesterday’s article) I want to minimise the number of markers I’m carrying.
- I don’t have a fancy pencil case at the moment.
- I’m loving the friendly magpies who come to talk to me while I sketch. 🙂
Tuesday: My notes say that I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but in the end I was pleased with the result. I was happy with the layering for the background trees. I also discovered the option of layering markers over WCP.
A colour chart exploring how I can adjust the hue of my markers by applying them over a layer of watercolour pencil (all these are Caran d’ache Museum pencils except for the Spring Green which is a Derwent Inktense). The markers are all Copic. Ha! there you go, I’ve just shared some of my colours with you! 🙂
While I was doing this sketch I realised that these are the same techniques as I’m using for my watercolour bush sketches (well, my ink, watercolour and pencil sketches). The only difference is that I’m substituting the watercolour for markers.
I’m really loving using two very different media back to back for the same purpose (ie. each visit to Lane Cove I’m doing a marker sketch during my walk, and then a watercolour sketch at the spot where I parked my car.) I think each type of sketches will help the other.
I’m having way too much fun!
Let me know if you have any questions about using these markers in the comment section below.
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