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Sharpie Drawing Techniques

Hold the Sharpie at different angles to change the drawn line's thickness.
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Sharpie markers make excellent drawing tools because they leave behind bold lines that dry quickly, thanks to their alcohol-based composition. Since the markers come with tips of different thicknesses, it is possible to create entire works of art using nothing but markers for fine details, bold shading and colorful filled-in areas.

Line Drawing: Details

Line drawings, at the most basic, are simple illustrations using only lines of one color for all the details. You can create one using a single Sharpie. Use a fine-point Sharpie to create a scene featuring a boat tied to a dock, for instance, or a black-and-white cartoon panel. For a standard Sharpie, hold the pen straight up as you draw, or angle it to create bold, emphasized lines in some areas. You can accomplish shading in a line drawing with hatches, which are somewhat parallel lines, or cross-hatched lines, which -- as the name indicates -- cross one another. Draw parallel lines in one direction to shade an area, such as from the top left to bottom right, then go back over the same area from another direction, such as from the bottom left to the top right. Political cartoons often feature hatching and cross-hatching.

Coloring In Your Creations

Coloring in areas between the lines of your design is another technique for Sharpies. Use wide-tipped standard Sharpies for filling in large areas. Begin by filling in close to the outline, following the contour of the line, then working your way toward the middle, overlapping strokes slightly, as though you were painting with a brush. For a different look, scribble the colorful lines back and forth within the area you are filling in without reaching the actual outline of the image. Stippling -- drawing tiny dots over and over again -- is another way to color in your illustration. Use all one color in each area, or gradually swap one color for another for a different look.

Layering Colors

Layering colors within filled-in areas is another way to add the look of dimension or shading to your artwork. For instance, fill in the center area of a drawing of an oversized pencil with yellow marker, then switch to orange along one side to create the illusion of shade or a change in angle. Experiment with color layers, using dark colors atop lighter shades, and then do the opposite, noting any differences.

Abstract Dye Drawings

Turn Sharpie lines into watercolor, or tie-dye-style abstract art, by combining your doodles with rubbing alcohol. This technique works best on nonporous surfaces, such as glazed ceramic tile for an abstract design. On fabric, it causes your drawing to bleed and blur a bit, which softens the look for another visually pleasing effect. On tile, draw lines, scribbling in areas of color as if using crayons, not trying to fill in all the blank space. Use an eyedropper to drop rubbing alcohol in random areas on the design, which causes the colored ink to run and pool. Once it dries, seal it with a fixative. On fabric, draw designs such as leaves, flowers or cat faces with a Sharpie. Place cardboard under the fabric, then use an eyedropper to drop rubbing alcohol on the middle of each drawn area. Once the fabric air dries, place it in the dryer or iron it -- if it is an ironable material -- to heat-set the design.

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