Thursday, April 5, 2012

Markers, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

11/17/11, F-C PITT Artist Pens
The first felt-tip marker pen I ever used was the Paper Mate Flair. I was about eight years old, and these sensuous, richly pigmented pens – available in black, blue and red – seemed far superior to ordinary ballpoint pens. It was the beginning of my lifelong lust for colored pens.

Marker pens, you’ve come a long way in the past half century (ouch) since those first Flairs. Available in a dazzlingly seductive range of colors, marker pens with various types of pigment and tips have been elevated to an art medium by artists who take advantage of their versatility, portability and convenience.

A couple months after I began my adventure in drawing, I went to a demo at Seattle’s Daniel Smith store given by fine artist Don Colley (the multi-pocketed vest he wore that day inspired a quest for my own similar vest). His marker of choice is the PITT Big Brush Artist Pen, so much so that his work is used in maker Faber-Castell’s advertising. These markers, says Faber-Castell, “are famous for combining a modern brush nib design with a tradition of India ink. India ink offers artists odorless, permenent (sic), waterproof, lightfast inks with 48 vibrant colors. The durable nib gives the freedom to create verstaile (sic) ink brush strokes of broad, medium to narrow with an even application of color.”  

Colorful, friendly marker pens? Something I’ve loved since I was a child? Surely, they would become my ideal art medium!

The only problem was that Colley made it look so dang easy! I have a bit more practicing to do.

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