About 3 years ago I found alcohol-based ink markers in a stationary. I liked that they are available in so many color grades, which aroused my curiosity and I wondered what they are used for! I bought 3 markers to try out, as I’m always curious to try new things! Of course, later on, I realized that 3 markers are not enough to show depth in a painting. When I started looking for the uses of these markers I was amazed at the beauty of the drawings painted by them! Sketches painted with Ink Markers are always bright and have attractive colors. This made me much more curious to know how artists paint such realistic paintings using these markers. How to show shaded and light areas of an object in order to show it in a 3D shape! This is of course because my idea about markers is that they are the Flowmaster colors that we used to paint with at school and that they only fill spaces without the gradation in colors. So I tried out these alcohol-based ink markers and to be honest, my first trials were not so good, but with practice, I’ve improved and now I really enjoy painting using them. They are easier to use than watercolors and oil paints of course. They are also easier to take anywhere if you want to make some urban sketches outdoors without having to carry liquids with you (water or oil).
Now I’m interested to share with you a drawing of a strawberry tart. My reference is a photo from Better Homes & Gardens Australia Magazine! The video (above) shows the painting steps in addition to the explanation below. In this painting, I’ve used two different brands, Touch and Sign me. There are also other brands that are available in the market such as Copic, Prismacolor, .. etc.
Drawing and Coloring Steps
1 – Choosing colors grades
On the last page of my sketchbook, I put a guide for the color grades I have with their codes. Each marker has a color code such as Y315 that is written on it.
2- A Quick Sketch
First I began drawing the outer contour lines of the tart using a light orange pencil color as the lines disappeared with painting. This is better than using a graphite pencil.
As shown in the video, I dealt with the cake using the “dotting” technique so it appears to be spongy. I used two grades of yellow and a light brown color. Notice that the left side of it (that is facing light) is the softest part in color. And the opposite is on the right side and center of the cake.
In order to show any object in a 3D shape, you have to show the change in color grades gradually from bright to dark on that object. Here, for example in the reference picture; part of the strawberry appears in dark red (due to the shadow) and another part is in light red part (facing light). So I have to show this using the markers. One crucial rule while using ink markers: To make a gradient color on a particular object, first start with a light color (light-facing part) and then use a mid-tone color, and finally a dark color (shaded part).
Back to strawberries! I’ve painted them using two grades of red and I left some white spaces to show the light reflection. I began with a light red color, then I used dark red in the dark parts as they appeared to me in the reference picture. Finally, I used brown in the parts that have shades on them. Then I painted the green leaves of the strawberries the same way; using two grades of green. After finishing the strawberries I put some white dots on them using a brown pen to show the seeds on the surface. Then I used a pen with white ink to make some white dots on the surface of the strawberries. That’s to show the reflection of light on them and to show also the crispy coconut over them. 😋
5- Whipped Cream
How can I show the cream on a yellow paper ?! This was a bit of a challenge to me as the sketch I drew on was yellowish in color. What I did was that I tried it out several times on an external paper until I felt comfortable with a certain way of painting it. I used a very light yellow color to show the deep parts in the cream and then I used the Snowman white pen to show the white parts that are facing light.
6- The Background
Finally, I found that the color of the yellow paper was very close to the colors of the cake. So I painted a bit of the background in light blue using watercolors to make a contrast in color.
Usually, ink markers leave stains on the back of the paper I paint on, so I put thick paper underneath it so that the colors do not reach the underneath paper.
Now finished! You can watch a speed painting video above. I hope you liked this post and maybe you’d become curious about trying out these markers 😉 Have any inquiries?! leave a comment below 😊
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If you’d like to learn more about using ink markers in food drawing and illustration, you can join me (Ink Markers: Food Drawing and Illustration Online Course).