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Felt tip pen drawing techniques

By Chameleon Art Products
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Felt tip pens or (as we prefer) "marker pens" aren't just for coloring anymore. They're more versatile than ever because you can do so much with them. You can create incredible freehand work, brilliant shading, flawless outlining, good old block coloring and realistic shadows. Here are some easy to follow creative marker pen drawing techniques. We'll look at one in depth and give you some other video tutorials to follow too.

You can do a lot with a marker pen. So much so, we could be sat here all night talking about each and every technique. But we won't do that. Instead, we'll focus on how a marker pen can be used brilliantly for freehand work.

In particular, we're looking at how Chameleon's very own Julia Benben has grown a crop of grass and a flower using a very simple technique.


Pick a color

Green Chameleon Pen

Blending your Chameleon Pen reduces the amount of markers you need to make something look realistic. So, you won't need four or five different greens to make grass look real because our innovative Mixing Chamber unlocks a whole meadow of gradation. Julia has used the YG3 Chameleon Pen and fused it for around five seconds so that there's a much lighter tone of green being used at first. This is so that you get some great color variation in there. This ensures you're not only getting one color of grass and adds to the realism.


Fuse the pen and flick

Flicking grass on paper using a green Chameleon Pen

To create the most realistic effect, fuse the pen for around five seconds and begin to freehand flick downwards, roughly meeting in the center. As the tone begins to get darker, quickly change direction and flick upwards instead.

This way, you're getting a cool color variation in the grass. It's impressive - with one fuse, you're getting at least three different tones in the grass and some pretty neat effects. So, build up layers and get some great texture and depth in there. Once you've done that you'll look back at it and be impressed at how realistic it can all look by doing it freehand and with only one pen.


Fuse and build again

Fuse pen flicking grass with a green Chameleon Pen

Then do the same thing again. Fuse the pen in the Mixing Chamber for around five seconds and build on the grass. This gives a more realistic effect as you create a little bundle of grass.

Think we need a flower? Let's make one.

Start by making the stems darker than the surrounding grass. Make the strokes slightly longer than the grass when flicking upwards so they're standing out. That way, you'll know where to start drawing the flowers. Again, as it's freehand, it doesn't need to be straight. As long as the stems are darker, longer and slightly more vibrant than the rest of the grass, you've nailed it.


Color your flower

Drawing of one lilac flower added to the grass

Julia has decided to go with one simple lilac. Even so, it looks like there are at least three variations of purple on that small flower - and she's using both the Bullet and Brush Nib of the Chameleon Pen to add some extra depth.

Using the VO4 pen in this instance, dilute the pen to the extent that it's almost translucent and you can barely see it on your paper. To achieve this, you're looking to fuse this with the Mixing Chamber for around 10 seconds. Once you've done this, create a rough outline which will act as a guide for when you begin to add more detail inside the flower.

Once the outline is complete, create a stipple effect with the lightest shade and move towards the right side so it gets darker. To create that stipple effect, just gently press down on the paper repeatedly while moving towards the darker side. This is good for building texture, so go back and overlay it. Blend it even more if you want more definition.


Repeat the process

Adding lilac flowers to the grass using a Chameleon Pen

If you want more flowers, just repeat the whole process again. Draw the taller stem using your green pen. Fuse the purple pen for around 10 seconds so that the outline of the flower is barely visible. Then, as you work your way across, create a stipple effect to make the flowers darker.  As the dilution wears off, the darker colors will add more depth and volume to the flowers themselves.


Remember, keeping a light source in mind like Julia has - with the light coming from the left - will help make it look even more realistic.


The best part about all of this? Julia achieved this using only two pens, one green and one purple and it was all done freehand. This shows just how much you can actually achieve with one pen but luckily for you - the incredible techniques don't end there...


How to draw fur using markers

If you're looking to create a teddy bear-like fuzz on your drawing, that too is achievable with a marker pen. Watch Dave Antram's video below to see how soft squiggles and shadows help to create a cuddly bear.



But if you want something a little less Paddington and a little more grizzly, check out Nick Kakanis' video below to see how he used long strokes to create individual layers of fur strands.




How to create wood grain using coloring pens

Julia is back at it again and this time, she's whittling wood. Well, not literally. But you get the idea. Check out her tutorial below to see how she blends her Chameleon Pens to unlock a forrest worth of textures.




How to color hair and skin in a cartoon style

Hair and skin used to be difficult and require plenty of different colors. Not anymore. Check out Cathy Andronicou's simple guide on how to create skin and hair in a stylized cartoon representation. From rosy red cheeks right through to long strokes to make hair look real.



And you don't want your cartoon characters to be strolling around naked. This blog isn't Rated R, thank you.

To complement your brilliant skin tones, you can create folds and wrinkles in clothes and fabrics. This can be a real pain because of all the shading and how light source works, but this video shows you how to do it easily.

Kristy Dalman's easy technique creates the illusion of depth using a gradient - and only one pen.



Carry on being inspired

As you can see, there are so many possibilities and different techniques to use with a single marker pen or two at the most, when you work with Chameleon Pens. There are more unique ways to blend, create unique textures and even draw the most realistic skin tones possible too. We've got an incredible guide, outlining different techniques you can use to develop your skills using Chameleon Pens.

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