Sharpies Tips and Techniques

Last Updated 10/14/09

by Leigh Anne Snaith-Brunton

First of all, the important info is that a Sharpie is an American made alcohol based permanent felt tip marker that is waterproof. The company that makes them is Sanford. They are available in various tip sizes in the standard black, blue, green and red. Recently Sanford released some wonderful new colors. Depending on your local stores they are available in Fine Point, Ultra Fine Point and dual tips (i.e.: fine on one end and ultra on the other end). They are available as: singles, 2 packs, 4 packs, 6 packs, 8 packs and 12 packs. Most commonly sold in stores such as: Rite Aid, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco and office supply stores like Office Depot, Staples and OfficeMax. UK artists - I remember that you have Staples, so ask them.

My Method:

I've been using the black Ancient Page dye ink and heat set it. But the sharpies are still able to lift the ink and can make your coloring look dirty. You can't just color over the stamped image even though you've heat set. The pens will smudge the ink. You literally have to color between the lines!!!

First of all, always have a piece of scrap paper next to your domino while working. Every time you apply one stroke of color to the domino, immediately draw a line on the scrap paper to remove any of the black dye ink the point picked up. Just get into the habit of coloring and then "clean" the marker point.

Most of the dominos I colored with the sharpies are just done with the fine point sharpies - you don't have to have the ultra fine to be able to do the smallest details. For little areas just touch the tip of the marker to the domino surface and fill in the area with little dabs of color. The key to getting a light color is just a light touch/one stroke of the tip of the marker. You will have noticed that the more you go over an area the darker it will become.

Blending is very easy. You can shade wonderfully by applying the darkest shade and then working outwards from dark to light. For example my blue backgrounds: I apply a line of black, then color over it with dark blue always working outwards. The marker 'cleans itself' as you move further away from the darkest color. Once the marker is coloring with it's true color, switch to a lighter shade/color and do the same again, always working outwards etc.

You asked how I did the hair. I don't just color over the hair; I actually did one stand at a time. To achieve the 'golden' look some have mentioned I randomly put the odd line of orange in the hair and then moved over and spread the color with the yellow sharpie. You can also do this by scribbling an area of orange onto a glossy piece of cardstock "as a palette" and even though the orange dries, as you rub the yellow marker over the orange it picks up the color and you color one strand of hair...if you know the point didn't touch any black ink then do another strand so the hair shading varies. Then 'clean' the tip and scribble it again in the orange and continue.

To fix mistakes and clean up 'dirty/muddy' areas: Sharpies are wonderfully forgiving. You can easily clean any areas that appear dirty or muddy to you by just rubbing with the sharpie point and cleaning it on the scrap paper. So you rub, pick up some dirty color and clean. Do this until you've removed all the dirty color. Then fixing a mistake can be done in the same manner. Just rub over the area and cleaning the point until you've removed the color you didn't want. I made a domino pin as an 'award' for my group Find That Stamp. I was doing my own design and writing and I didn't like the way one of the letters looked (orange letter outlined in black marker). So I simply rubbed the orange marker over the black outline until I'd effectively 'removed' it. Totally cleaned the orange marker and recolored the letter and outlined it in black again.... viola - Fixed!!!

© 1996 - 2009 Bit of Memories. All rights reserved