Sunday, January 31, 2010

Expanding the creative range of the Manga set of Prismacolor Markers and playing a bit

Well since the Manga set of Prismacolor art markers are packaged in a fairly flimsy cardboard box, I decided to transfer them to a sturdier travel case and partner them with the sets of gray markers and a few hand-picked colors from open stock. This custom set of 48 markers should come in handy for working in color while on the-go with its expanded creative potential.
Color chart of this custom palette of 48 colors. Always a good idea to draw your own reference chart to acquaint yourself with the actual look of each color on your chosen paper, for they do not always match the color of the labels precisely. It is also a good exercise for checking the condition of the nibs and the remaining ink load. For example, making this chart revealed that the French Grey 60% marker PM-160 was running dry.View from the back of the Lama Li paper.
While I never cared for the old studio stackers (markers tended to get stuck in them, and they had the annoying tendency of falling apart), I rather enjoy the travel cases shown above. These hard plastic shell carrying cases are quite convenient for tossing a set of 24 markers into a sketching bag right before going out the door. They set up quickly easel-style in seconds keeping your markers neatly organized and ready to work anywhere you go. One contains the Manga set of 12 markers, the range of French grays (PM-155 through PM-163), Black PM-98, Celadon Green PM-140, and Dark Olive Green PM-28. The second travel case holds the range of Warm (PM-99 through PM-107) and Cool (PM-108 through PM-116) grays along with Apple Green PM-167, Eggshell PM-72, Brick Beige PM-78, Light Peach PM-12, Bronze PM-149, Cloud Blue PM-144. Just wanted to make sure both cases held a few light hues suitable for coloring skin tones in case I felt like carrying only one of them.One minor gripe I have with these new markers is the faulty application of the colored paper labels around the barrels of some of the markers. The small wrinkles often seen near the fine nib of the markers are weak points where the labels could snag against the edge of their storage case and start tearing apart. Impermanence is one of the drawbacks of using paper label markings I suppose, but this cosmetic issue should not be much of a problem since most users are likely to use up the marker before its label is too badly damaged.
Sample illustration drawn with the 08 illustration pen and the sepia and black brush nibs on a Lama Li sketchbook , and colored with the double ended art markers.
Quick peek at the back of the page shows how much the Prismacolor double ended art markers' alcohol-based dye inks bled through the paper. By contrast the pigmented ink of the illustration markers stays on top of the front of the page and does not bleed through. It is usually advisable to select marker papers that limit bleed through when working with the double ended art markers to prevent them from drying out too quickly. Though since the colors might look quite nice and intense on some absorbent papers, you might not mind letting some extra ink soak into a non-marker paper from time to time. The illustration markers are not quite as finicky and work well on most paper supports. Yet it is best to stick to smooth surface papers to maximize the useful life of the felt tip nibs, for coarser rough paper surfaces might wear down and fray the nibs prematurely.

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