Category Archives: Markers


Lately I haven’t sketched outside much and I had been feeling getting tighter; I can’t afford to lose the spontaneity in my sketches. A few days ago I decided to do a quick Virtual Paintout, as they were during the month of November in Iceland. I grabbed a few random markers from my box and loosely did this, always with the broad tip. I need to get back on markers more often, as I enjoy them too much.

Sketching at Abracadabra

I have sketched a few times while having a beer at one of my favorite spots in San Juan, “Abracadabra”. This time I was in a bit of a rush, but liked the looseness and sense of informality of the sketch. I did it with felt tip pen, markers and watercolors, 8.5″x5.5″.


Some of my sketches during my trip to L.A.










Surprise visit to Los Angeles, CA

Bri and I arrived yesterday to Los Angeles, a surprise visit to our dear friends Pamela and Danny. We are now at the Getty Center, where I stopped for a quick sketch with markers.


Sketching on both sides

Today one student told me another professor had taught him that he should never use the left side of his sketchbook. It is the second time, in two different universities that a student tells me the same thing. I would’ve thought this would be true with markers or Sharpies, because of the bleed-through, but actually both students were using pencil..

I am really enjoying finally being able to use both sides of the sketchbook, even with a heavy application of Copic markers. The Crescent RendR sketchbook is the best I’ve tried so far.

Here are some sketches I did this past weekend at an event called Pecharrette, held at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico.




Campechada 2012

This past weekend I went out sketching to La Campechada 2012, an artistic event in Old San Juan. It was an excellent atmosphere, with dozens of participants doing their art on the streets and hundreds of visitors stopping by.

I did some watercolor and coffee sketches, but I really enjoyed experimenting with markers, a Sharpie and a pen brush. I was fast and loose, even on the small format I was working in, 6″x 4″. I also did some in my letter sized sketchbook while having a beer at a local bar.






Pushing and pulling values

Value sketch with a Chartpak marker while waiting at Fine Arts Cinema. Practicing an exercise in which you take mid values and decide to either push it to black or pull it to white. I still have to work on my decisions, but it was interesting. 20121007-162558.jpg

Crescent RendR Sketchbook: Review

Today I received an 8.5″x11″ Crescent RendR sketchbook I had ordered, and took it for a quick test ride while having breakfast this morning. I had seen a couple videos and read a few reviews, but still had my doubts.

Until now, the best sketchbook I had tried was a custom made one with Arches 140lb hot pressed watercolor paper, although I wasn’t that much into markers by then. I hated having the markers and Sharpies bleed to the other side and sometimes the next couple of sheets. The last few weeks I’ve been sketching everyday with markers on regular bond or heavyweight bond paper sketchbooks, so I had to deal with a piece of scrap paper underneath the sheet I was sketching and struggle with the wind and even run behind a rogue scrap paper. I had to try if the Crescent RendR would deliver what they promised.

Well, this is the closest thing to the perfect sketchbook I’ve always been looking for. As you may now, I like to sketch on location with different media, markers (Copic, Prismacolor, Letraset, Chartpak), Sharpies, pencil, charcoal, watercolors, depending on whatever the subject calls for. I only have used the RendR with markers so far, but for now I think it is absolutely wonderful.

My first impression wasn’t that thrilling. On the outside, it looks and feels pretty good, well constructed with a nice matte, weighty hard-bound cover. But when you open it, the first thing you notice is that it has a funky, “un-natural” smell, similar to a pesticide. To the touch, the pages felt smoother than I’d expected. I thought for sure that I would promptly give away the sketchbook to my 9yo son. However, as soon as I put a marker to the page I fell in love.

The paper behaves like you would expect when using markers on regular bond paper rather than marker paper. It takes the marker very nicely, with a little tooth and a little blotting, just as I like paper.

Still had to see what about the other side of the page… Pristine. Unbelievable.

I’m not sure what will happen if I try watercolors on it, but I’m extremely happy I found this sketchbook, will use it almost exclusively from now on.

If you’re into sketching with Sharpies or art markers you’ll presumably fall in love with it as well. Please let me know what you think when you try one.


Getting more comfortable with markers

I’ve been getting more and more comfortable using markers on my sketchbook. True, I hate the bleed thru, but I just ordered a sketchbook that apparently solves that; will write a review after I try it.

I have ventured a bit into using colors, both on a small 6″x4″ sketchbook as well as on a larger 8.5″ x 11″ one. I still mess up one of every three sketches (at least), but getting more comfortable every day.

Here are some of my latest efforts:







For the past few days I’ve been practicing the technique I learned at Eduardo Bajzek’s workshop in the USK Symposium, sketching directly with markers. This has been an interesting challenge in various ways.

Sketching without any pencil or pen linework is probably the hardest; however, it’s been really fun and spontaneous. A change in the way you observe the subject is necessary… seeing shapes of color feels a bit like flattening the three-dimensional objects. Also, with a limited range of markers you can’t focus on trying to reproduce the actual colors you’re seeing, but building up tones by layering, from light to dark.

For the first couple of days I concentrated mainly on grayscale sketches, assigning values has been the focus. Yesterday I used the colors they supplied to us in the workshop. These colors are too saturated for my liking, but decided to try my best, keeping them as practice exercises. I have a larger range of Copic markers, but they are so expensive that I don’t like to take them out every day. It’s nice that they’re refillable, but having them in my bag where I can lose them is a headache. On the field I’m using Letraset Promarkers and a few Chartpak AD. I’ll see if I can pick up a few more today at the store.

Here are some of my latest, done on a tiny 6″x 4″ sketchbook:









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