4 Step Marker Sketch of a Bag

I’m to the point now where I don’t really think much about what I’m doing when I sketch something. With years of experience, I’ve gained the bad habit of sometimes not consciously breaking things down into tangible steps. Documenting each step during the sketch process can be very time consuming to say the least. It goes something like this – scan, sketch a little, scan, sketch a little and so on. Then, once I have a bunch of scanned images, I process and pick the most important steps along the way to show.

For this sketch, I used a pilot fineliner, copic and prismacolor markers, prismacolor pencil, and used adobe photoshop for some light touchup here and there. I even whipped out the ol’ air can for some light airbrushing of the shadow cores by hand. It’s been many years since I used one of those air cans, but it was really really fun to whip out some of those old school tools again for a change. I think it’s important to get in touch with reality sometimes and sketch confidently on a piece of paper. I love it. No control Z, just pure sketch. Maybe next time I’ll use some chalk, guache or even ink washes for my next sketch.

Read on for more details and the step by step images.

When working on a marker sketch, always remember light till you get it right. Start with the lighter tones first, then work on building contrast throughout the sketch. A good way to check on contrast and if things are popping or blending well is to either squint your eyes or just take a few steps back from what you’re working on. you should instantly be able to tell the level of contrast you are achieving in the sketch.

I usually work on the grays first, then the colors. I feel the colors pop more than grays, and it’s easy to “cover” minor mistakes with the application of color for the other parts or areas of the sketch.

Mixed media such as pencils, chalk guache or whatever tickles your fancy helps add richness to the sketch and texture even. I usually end up using a pencil for depth when working with markers in a marker sketch.

I forgot to mention this one small detail. For this sketch, I am using bond paper, which some of you may know as printer paper. It’s cheap, has a nice tooth to it, but it does suck the ink out of your markers pretty quickly. If you’re going to sketch and color with markers, it’s probably a good idea to get some good quality marker paper for any marker sketches you may be planning on working on. An alternative would be tracing paper. It’s cheap, but the colors don’t show up as well. In any case, it’s probably a good idea to experiment on your own and figure out what works the best for you and sketching.

Sketch of a bag by designer Spencer Nugent

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  • Jake

    Sorry to point out typos, but when first talking about mixed media, you wrote “Mixed media suck…” I hope you were trying to write that mixed media “such” as pencils….. Great article though thanks.

    • http://www.idsketching.com snugja

      But mixed media does suck! I kid. Thanks for the catch!

  • Jake

    Sorry to point out typos, but when first talking about mixed media, you wrote “Mixed media suck…” I hope you were trying to write that mixed media “such” as pencils….. Great article though thanks.

  • http://timothymcn.tumblr.com/ word is bond

    Is Step One marker and pen, or just fineliner?