Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Don't forget to water the markers.

Much like the discussion of warm, gooey fudge brownies, spirited talk of art supplies can inspire some pretty intense cravings around here. Maybe it's just me... but after encountering several discussions and blog posts about Tombow's dual brush markers a while back (not to mention the incredible colors in this Youtube video), I just had to get my twitchy fingers on some. The stack of vibrant colors in the photo below all started with simple scribbles of all the colors and a slightly over-enthusiastic flood of water from my waterbrush. The ink tangles came later, after the first layer dried. Most of it is Micron ink; a couple of the colors are Le Pen.

The cool thing about these water-based markers is the watercolor effect that happens when they get wet. A waterbrush is a mighty convenient way to blend colors without a lot of effort or mess. I use both Pentel and Niji.

Two things to remember when using Tombows: 1) don't let the marker dry for too long before adding water, and 2) they're not lightfast. The Tombow USA FAQ page says that some artists have had success preserving their work with Lascaux and Mod Podge. Haven't tried either so I can't recommend, but I'm definitely ok with learning from other people's mistakes instead of making my own. And FYI, they're pressurized, so they can be stored horizontally or vertically.
I don't normally cross-post between here and facebook because I try for original content in both places, but since this photo was supposed to be vertical and I had to flip it to use it as a cover photo, I figure it's not *technically* the same piece of art. Plus I like it, and if it's gonna be hanging out there in the cyber-breeze, I want people to see what it's really supposed to look like.
I have to go play with my markers now.


  1. I adore Tombow markers.
    Have you found a good source for them?
    I like to buy the colors separately...not a whole set.
    Brenda Swenson uses them in her watercolor sketching and recommends black and burnt sienna for that. Do craft stores like Michaels carry them?

    1. I never buy at Michaels if I can help it. Even with a coupon they are expensive. Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama, and Texas Art Supply (all online) all sell them open stock so you can just buy the ones you want. Their prices are all within a few cents of each other. I'll have to Google Brenda... thanks for the tip :o)

  2. waow, the colors are just beautiful, so bright, I love them

  3. OOOOOh those are delicious. I love my Tombow's. Going to TangleU and taking a class using Tombows so maybe I'll get a chance to try something like yours. Lovely.

  4. Wow that is really a great work. I been trying to do color combinations like these using some old sharpie pens in the house. Thumbs up!

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