Marker-made Mary Marvel

I need to wake up this sleepy blog, so here's another one of the 9"x12" marker commissions I take on occasionally. This one is from a while back, but I don't think I posted it here. At least, I hope not. Pretty sad to have a blog in reruns.
I just finished a fairly large painting which I will be posting next, along with some process stuff, so please stay tuned.

I'm also finalizing my plans for San Diego Comic Con, July 17-21, which is creeping up fast. I'll post the info soon.

I hope everyone is doing well out there.


Zac Dozier said...

What was your reasoning behind the blue outline on M.M.? I hope this isn't a weird question, just curious. Is it to make her pop a bit more on the page?

Joshua Middleton said...

Hi Zac,

That's not a weird question at all. Yes, the blue halo did help her pop a bit, but it also seemed to subtly imply that she is flying through a bright blue sky without drawing an actual background (I generally like to keep commissions like this simple and consistent with just a figure on a clean white BG).

At least, that's what I was thinking. She looked okay without the blue halo, but it just seemed a little too plain.

Kitsune said...

Hi Joshua,

I wonder if you'd share what surface you're working on for your marker commissions? You've got some really beautiful color gradients and blends that haven't turned muddy or streaky on this surface.

I also love the subtle pop provided by the thin, vivid blue outline. It's quite effective without being distracting.

Joshua Middleton said...

Hello Kitsune,

Thanks for the comment. Most of my marker commissions are drawn on Stonehenge paper. It is 100% cotton, which means it is truly archival, and it is very good with pencil, colored pencil, inks, etc. Even watercolor works fairly well on the paper if it isn't too wet. It has a nice vellum finish, but it is a little soft if you really dig into it, so a light touch is usually best (which is probably true for most papers).

The most important thing is to find the right paper/marker combination. A good cotton paper like Stonehenge or watercolor paper is excellent for pigment-based markers, like the Faber-Castell Pitt markers I use for these commissions. The very same markers on a thin paper, like the regular bond paper you would run through an inkjet printer, are terrible, with all sorts of streaks and lap marks. On the other hand, Copic and other dye-based markers are fantastic on thin bond paper. In fact, I have found Copics are best on cheap printer paper. You can lay down absolutely perfect areas of color, and layer to your heart's content (the ink will bleed through the back of the paper, but it doesn't matter). You can even work a light color over a dark color and push the dark color aside with a little patience.

As much as I love working with Copics, I can't use them for any pieces I plan to sell because dye-based colors are not lightfast, meaning they will fade away, sometimes quite rapidly, if exposed to light. Needless to say, most folks don't buy original art that has to be kept in a dark drawer.

Stonehenge is easy to find, very inexpensive for its quality, and made in the USA, which is very rare nowadays. It may in fact be the last good cotton paper made in the States. Strathmore used to be my first choice, but I ran into all sorts of problems with recent batches of the paper, and after a lot of back and forth with the company, I gave up on it.

I have done a ton of experimenting with all sorts of papers and art tools, and have learned a lot along the way. So much depends on finding the right match for your personal style and medium. Markers are especially fussy about the surface they are applied to, so it is really important to try a wide variety of surfaces to see what works best.

Maybe I'll do a post on working with markers specifically since they are so popular and so much fun to use.

Thanks for asking, and I hope that helps.

Kitsune said...


Thanks so much for your reply!

It had never occurred to me to consider different papers based on what *kind* of marker was being used, but it makes so much sense! Personally, my biggest problems have always been patchy colors when working in larger areas, or the strange glassy-streaky result ink in blends (particularly darker color blends,) so the reccs for different kinds of papers is very helpful, thank you!

Markers are definitely fun, and can be an "instant gratification" type of medium, and I've always been one to love learning from other artists' processes. I think a future marker post would be wonderful!

Thank you!

Unknown said...

That is a gorgeous picture of Mary Marvel.

Post a Comment