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In this blog-post I will tell you what materials you will need to start sketching, which brands of markers would be the best choice, what I personally use in my sketching routine, what are my favourites and how lucky we are to have them!
First and foremost, buy basic colours, as you will need them most. For interior sketching, it is better not to use pure, bright colours, but a bit ‘dusty’, ’noble‘ tones. What does it mean? With interiors it is better to choose colours that people would feel comfortable to live in. A typical palette would include beige and grey, blue, olive, and woody tones.
You can buy markers individually or in sets. There are even sets of ready-to-go colour combinations for architects and designers which consist of marker colours that work well with one another.
You first marker selection might be as follows:
- Light gray (NG 2, Neutral Grey #2)
- Mid-gray (NG 4)
- Dark gray (NG 7)
- Light beige (or vanilla)
- Dark brown (chocolate)
As you can see, there are seven colours all in all, of which three are grey shades. Greys holds a special place in interior sketching. They are used in the first place given a background colour to the entire sketch. Grey markers differ not only in tone, but also in warmth and coldness: there are Neutral Greys, Cool Greys and Warm Greys. To start with, you will need Neutral Greys. Usually they are marked by ‘N’ with a number: the higher the number, the darker the tone.
What brand of markers to buy?
One of the first questions people ask in my online sketching classes is about materials. What brand of markers is the best? How various brand of markers differ from one another?
Up until now, I have tested 4 brands: Promarker, Copic, Stylefile marker and Chartpak. All of them are good. These firms make professional quality markers that are perfect for drawing and are non toxic.
If I was to pick my favourite, it would be Copic. They have an extremely wide array not only of colours but also of marker tips. These include ‘Classic’ markers, ‘Extra Wide’ ones, the thin ‘Ciao’ markers and remarkable ‘Sketch’ (the last two have brush points). Maybe it is Copic Сiao that has influenced my technique most of all. Firstly, they have a thin body that is very convenient to hold in hand. However, the main difference is that at one side there is a wide tip (incidentally, a bit narrower than a Copic Sketch, Promarker or Stylefile), and at the other end there is a brush tip, also known as the ‘super brush’. Which truly leaves up to its name! It is the brush that lets you make absolutely photo-realistic effects and fantastic not only for sketching but also for landscape drawings, abstract painting, portraits, architectural sketches and even for calligraphy. Copic markers can be refilled and that is their tremendous advantage over other brands. Although they are the most expensive markers available, in the long term Copics are the more cost-efficient.
Promarker is also very good. They are very similar to Stylefile and Copic Classic. But these are single-use markers, which cannot be refilled.
Chartpak is markedly different from the markers mentioned above. These markers have one very wide tip, that is highly convenient for interior sketching. The only disadvantage is that these markers have a rather strong smell of solvent.
A couple more tips
- Before buying a marker, test it in the art supplies shop and find a marker that suits you best. If you don’t have such an opportunity, watch videos on marker brands on YouTube – this will help you make a decision about which materials are most suitable for you.
- When you realize that sketching is ‘your thing’, be ready to invest into quality materials, training courses and books. This way you can develop your skill to become very good at sketching. This will happen quite fast. Sketching will be of great use in your work and will raise your professional skills level.
- Probably it is better to buy markers in sets, because when you buy them individually at an art supplies shop, they are often already half empty as too many people test them.
- It is recommended that you keep markers horizontally – this will extend their service life.
- Storage and transportation: keep your markers away from the sun. If you are going on a trip, pack them into a hand-carried baggage, because the low temperatures in the baggage compartment will have adverse effect on the pigments inside the markers.
P.S. Please share this blog-post with your friends! They would be glad you did. Thanks in advance, you're awesome!
© Olga Sorokina, 2017