You know, I guess I’ve always loved art stuff. Growing up, there was nothing I wanted more. Don’t tell Joe, but I used to sleep with the Dick Blick catalog under my pillow at night. (Well, of course, that was a long time before Cheap Joe’s came along and now I sleep with a Cheap Joe’s catalog under my pillow!) While other kids dreamed of toys and games, I just wanted new paper or paint, or anything really. If I had good grades or did my chores without asking, my mom would reward me by buying me art stuff. It might be paper, or colored pencils, and sometimes even markers. No matter what it was, I put it to good use!
I just loved markers. Oh, they were the sets you get for a buck ninety nine, but I loved receiving a shiny new package of them. The only thing I hated was that they didn’t last very long without drying out. And of course, it had nothing to do with my leaving the lids off of them after I was finished using them. Well, you know we have all done this a time or two and I guess that’s how we learn! Another thing I didn’t like was the limited selection of colors. Oh, of course you had all of the basics, but there never seemed to be enough to choose from. But, none the less, I would sit for hours and draw and color and create paintings and cards. And of course, my mom and dad were the usual recipients of all of my great art! They always made me feel like I had created a masterpiece! Um, Like the “Mona Lisa”? Well, maybe not! But they certainly made me feel proud of my art.
I was reminded of that happy memory, recently, when we were visited by Diana Garrett from Prismacolor. Diana is a wonderful artist who travels around the U.S. teaching art students and art companies about products from Prismacolor. On this particular visit, Diane was here to demonstrate all of the wonderful things about the Premier Brush Tip Double ended Professional Fine Art Markers. Oh Boy! This would be like being a kid again. And Boy was I right.
The evening started right away with Diana telling us all about the markers. The marker has a brush tip on one end and a fine tip on the other, making it perfect for fashion, design, hobby applications, as well as, for fine art illustrations and manga art. The ink is formulated to give the richest color saturation with silky smooth coverage. One ink source ensures color consistency from either end, and it’s an alcohol, dye-based ink that is non toxic. This was not to be the same undependable and limited markers that I had as a child. This was a professional art product. She explained that they had unlimited possibilities. You can blend, stamp, transfer, and create monoprints. Diana showed us how to get the most use out of the markers. We all had lots of time to play and really get to know the product. Even, Cheap Joe sat in to see what was so great about these markers!
Then, there was something else she showed us. Diana passed around the Strathmore Trading Card products. The trading cards are pre-cut to a 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ size; a great size for sharing, and they are convenient and inexpensive. They come in a variety of materials, including Bristol, Acrylic, Watercolor, real Canvas for oils, and many more choices. There are frame cards, plastic sleeves, and other products that enhance the trading card trend.
Here is more information from the Strathmore website about the Artist Trading Card Movement.
“Artist trading cards (ATCs) are miniature pieces of art that are traded around the world. Artists create, trade and collect art at organized “swap” events, either in person or online. The only official rule for ATCs is the size: 2.5″ x 3.5″. The trading card movement started in 1997. M. Vanci Stirnemann, a Swiss artist, created 1200 cards by hand as part of an exhibit. On the last day, he invited others to create their own cards and trade with him during the closing reception. The movement took off, and today, there are ATC swaps in almost every major city around the world and online.”
After telling us about the trading cards, Diana shared a new technique with us. Using a Masquepen filled with masking fluid (masking fluid is used in watercolors to preserve the white of the paper), she drew a simple carrot on one of the cards. After the masking fluid drawing had dried, she then began to color in and shade the carrot with the brush tip markers. Layer after layer, Diana created dimension by using a darker color each time. After she had allowed the marker to dry, she then rubbed off the masking fluid design with her finger. Wow! It looked wonderful! I thought to myself, this looks like batik, a process where a wax design is applied and inks are used to paint on silk. Then the wax is removed and what is left is a unique white outline around all of the colors, revealing the design. Diana had achieved a similar look with the masking fluid and markers. Hmmm. Marker Batik! Of all of the techniques we had tried that night, the Marker Batik, was my favorite! I loved the look and whimsical and carefree feeling of the design.
After the class, Diana and I exchanged ideas and information and I had made a new friend! Diana returned the next morning and shared the information with all of the employees at Cheap Joe’s. It was a wonderful visit and we all learned a lot. We will use the experience to better inform our customers about the Prismacolor products and especially the Double ended brush tip markers. We really appreciated the class and Diana’s visit and hope to have her return in the future.
After her visit, I continued to research the markers on the Prismacolor website and found loads of information. I especially found Diana’s artist page and was very impressed with her beautiful artwork and all of the informational demos she had on You Tube. Hey Diana!, Thanks for the markers!
So, I decided to further my interest in the Marker Batik technique! (Hey, that rhymes!)With lots of Prismacolor Double ended Brush tip markers in hand, Masquepen, and the Strathmore Trading Card Products, I readied myself for the project.
I applied the masking fluid to several cards in a loose and freehand fashion. Not being careful about how the design would look. I liked drawing flowers the most and tried single blooms as well as bouquets. The one thing I added to the technique was to fill in all of the blank spaces around the design with random marks, lines, and dots. This would create more of the look of real batik.
The masking fluid takes about 10 minutes or so to dry. It will remain a little tacky so don’t stack the design or they will stick together and potentially remove the masking fluid unintentionally. When applying the marker, start with the lightest shades first. Then move on to the mid tones, then the darks. Be careful when filling in around thin lines as you can rub the masking fluid off with the marker tip. If that does happen, do not panic; just continue to work through the process. Chances are you will hardly notice at all. There is really no right or wrong way to do this.
I found a color wheel to be useful when choosing my color families. I stuck to complementary color combinations and triads to keep the color scheme simple. The cards are very small, just bigger than a standard business card. It is best to keep the designs simple and loose.
Note: With the variety of markers that I had to choose from, the color combinations were endless!
I worked on several at a time. When the marker was dried, I rubbed the masking fluid off and revealed the completed batik design. They turned out great! I was really surprised at the variety and freshness of the small paintings.
As I was “playing” with all of the possibilities, I had to smile when I thought of one of the last things Diana had said. “WARNING! Prismacolor Alcohol Markers can be Highly Addictive!” I had to agree! I was warned, and I have to warn you! She was so right! I did not want to stop! The process was so easy and creative! I just wanted to make more and more! And so I did!
When I finally did stop, I decided to put some of the designs in the Strathmore Trading Card Frame Cards. They are a nice way to finish the project and they come complete with envelopes to make it easy to use them for greeting cards. You can even put them in small frames and the card creates a mat around the painting. Very nice presentation! Note: I will tell you, I had a little trouble inserting the small paintings into the frame cards. The area inside is very tight and it was difficult to maneuver the painting into the window without bending the frame. Please take your time when inserting the artwork as you might be overly frustrated by the time you get it right!
I also displayed some of the better artwork in small photo frames with tiny mats around them. A perfect last minute gift for any occasion! This is a great project for family and friends, or Girl’s Night out, and great for traveling. You can even custom frame them and give them as wonderful works of art!
The markers are portable and you can take them anywhere. Prismacolor has two types of double ended markers, the chisel tip and fine, and the brush tip and fine. Both styles come in 156 colors as well as the Colorless Blender. This marker is filled with the alcohol solution and is used to soften edges, blend dual colors, and even remove the ink to create wonderful patterns. They are available in several sets as well as sold individually.
What a wonderful experience this was, to meet Diana, to learn a new technique, and to try out these wonderful markers! I have to say, Prismacolor Brush Markers are my newest favorite art product! They are just one of many materials that Prismacolor makes. They have a family of art materials including colored pencils, markers, and art sticks, just to name a few. All of the products are professional grade and are an extremely wonderful value! That is why they are an industry leader in the art materials business!
Diana Garrett installed a new joy for markers in all of us at Cheap Joe’s. She allowed me to be a kid again and experience a wonderful memory. I hope you will be inspired to try something new, to explore new materials, new techniques, and meet new friends! But take this warning seriously! Art, Art Markers, Art Stuff, and New Artist Friends can be Highly Additive! However, these are all things I would NOT advise you to do in moderation! Because these are all things we could use more in our lives!
Take time to indulge in your art passion, whatever it is. Share it with others, and take joy in creating!
Happy Marker Batik Day!
Keep your brush (markers) wet and your canvas colored!
And PLEASE put the caps back on your Prismacolor markers when you are done!