Okay, here’s another sketch tutorial for you. We’ve received a couple requests for more marker demos with traditional media, so I broke it down for you in a few steps.
People always ask what’s the key to laying down some good marker or pencil – I think the answer is really simple. Relax, and have fun and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! Never underestimate the value of always sketching. It’s like practicing a foreign language by speaking it often. Okay, enough of my rant about practice.
I tried to pick something fairly simple to work on. I know, it’s just a suitcase, but I chose this to show how a simple object can seem more exciting with some good perspective, some good linework, and some good marker application.
First off, I started out with a rough underlay of my suitcase, setting up the basic design and perspective of the scene. I’ve also outlined the shadow and some details in the object that will help guide my over-sketch.
By the way, I’m using crappy tracing paper to do my underlay and a little nicer paper for my overlay. This way, I can be relaxed when sketching my undersketch and not have to worry about how expensive the paper is. Remember to relax and have fun.
Next, I took some nicer Bienfang 260 Marker paper (Any marker paper or a smoother bond paper will do.) and worked on my overlay. Be sure if you do this with pencil to use sharp ones or have a bunch of sharp ones handy. A good electric sharpener helps as well.
Okay, time to pull out the markers. I’ll talk about marker selection a little bit more in a future post, but for now, what you need is 3 markers in three distinct tones – a highlight or light marker, one for the midtone, and the other for the shadows or dark tones. In this case, I am using three prismacolor markers in the brown family. If you’re not sure if there’s the right amount of contrast between your markers, then try squinting you eyes when looking at all three applied on a piece of paper. if they are too close in tone, then shift to another marker and keep trying.
I like to outline the areas I am shading before I actually commit to completely shading the entire sketch. Remember, it’s important to have a good quality sketch before you apply marker to it. I see too many times where people are hasty to apply marker to a sketch, only to be frustrated with the final result. Sometimes the problem lies in the foundation, not the paint on the building :-).
Always try to identify your light source and use it as a guide when you are applying the marker. In this instance, I am assuming that my light source is at the top left of the sketch, causing my shadow to fall to the right of the sketch.
Because my light source is on the left, the darker surfaces will be to the right and the lighter surfaces to the top and left of my sketch.
I’ve applied my marker in one tone. I cheated – I applied my midtone first. Typically however, you will want to apply your lightest tone first. Why you ask? If you make a mistake with the lightest tone of your marker set, you’ll be able to more easily correct any mistakes you make that much easier. Fortunately, I didn’t make tooooo many mistakes, so I am good to go.
Again, relax, have fun and be confident with your strokes. It’ll all work out in the end. Right?
My next steps include adding some highs and lows to my sketch. I added some darker tone to my right side of my luggage sketch. Remember that the right side or far side is the one that’s pointing away from the light and will be the darkest toned.
As always, be careful, yet quick when applying your marker so that the sketch feels fresh and lively and not dead and deliberated.
Applying pencil to areas of the already markered in spots can also help bring out detail and add some more interest to things you want to being out in your sketch. In this case, I’m bringing out the stitches, piping and zipper details of the luggage bag by adding contrast with the pencil.
One more thing, don’t be afraid to lightly use your pencil to help push those values in your sketch. A few hatch marks in your dark areas can help punch contrast and help things pop even more in your sketch.
Adding detail and contrast to zippers and other elements will go a long way in making that sketch pop. Contrast is king.
Be sure to add a background for even more pop. because my bag is brown, I have chosen a somewhat complementary color – blue – to fill my simple background. Don’t go tooooooo crazy with the background either. Backgrounds should complement rather than conflict with the object in the foreground.
Aaaaaaand we’re done. I didn’t mention too much about the shadow, but I figured you could figure out what I did.
If you have any questions, hit us up at info [at] idsketching.com or become a member of the forums to share your work with the growing community there!