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Started on May 17, 2012 by rlaurenzi
Last post on Mar 06, 2013

I think I am subconsciously afraid of giving markers to my students and watching them go bonkers with excitement, turning their beautiful artwork into darkly-colored blobs of ink. I would love some new and interesting ideas for marker projects that, well, look good :) Does anyone have a marker project that they love?

8 Keeps, 1 Likes, 12 Comments

  • dreamstudio 05/19/2012 at 06:12am
    I have used marker for successful lessons where students are asked to do a drawing (based on whatever theme you choose) with colored markers but using only line. There are to be no solidly colored-in areas of marker. Then, when the drawing is finished, you wet a watercolor paintbrush with water only and touch the marker lines with water, which will be soluble, spreading the color into the solid white areas of the drawing. Don't overdo the water, just enough to pull color into the drawing and not lose the drawn line. For some students, it may require some careful concentration while working with the water, not unlike watercolors paints. But they usually enjoy the focused working. The result is a watercolor illustration that looks great! I have used this with children grades K-4.

    A stained glass effect can be created if first the drawing is done in black sharpie, then the sharpie lines are outlined on the inside edge with a colored marker. The same technique of pulling the color into the white spaces by touching the colored marker line with a wet paintbrush can be done and it begins to look like stained glass - the black line ("leading") created by sharpie and the watercolor marker shapes looking like colored glass.

  • RuthByrne 05/19/2012 at 11:58am
    great idea dreamstudio! I'm trying that immediately!

    I usually use markers for two projects. Second grade Calendars (after the Tres Riches Heures) in which messes are prevented by long periods of looking at the jewel like colors of the Limbourg bros. and students drawing their pictures first. There are the occasional blob, but its mostly pretty amazing.

    I also do Mandalas with Fourth graders, they draw designs and circles and divisions with pencil and sharpie first, giving them bounded areas so the colors don't devolve into those darkly colored blobs you mentioned.

    I generally avoid markers too, and I feel badly since the kids enjoy using them so much. I can't wait to see what other solutions people have.

  • rlaurenzi 05/19/2012 at 02:37pm
    Great suggestions. Thanks!

  • 3DpaintDigital 06/01/2012 at 10:08am
    I have used markers for a drawing project based on the art of Keith Haring. I teach high school, so I gave it a political awareness theme. Figures as shapes were key to the design and it was good to teach how to fill in an area with marks made consistently in the same direction. Markers are so expensive and drain so quickly, so I hardly use them.

    Another idea is to lay out a flat solid shape with marker and layer up with color pencil to imply form from the shape by adding highlights and shadow.

    Make the career connection to industrial design, where marker is used to illustrate designs for vehicles and other products.

  • lbfreer 06/05/2012 at 02:30am
    For younger students, Keith Haring type art on foil is good-check the website for lessons!

  • JenGifford 06/12/2012 at 06:35pm
    When I let students color a picture with markers then can only color the foreground. They have to use crayon or color pencil for the background. We learn about wet media and dry media and how wet is brighter. They understand they are using wet media on the foreground because they want it to stand out.

  • RebeccaAnn 06/16/2012 at 08:56am
    I have students make a picture inspired by Andy Warhol's bugs & shoes. The choose a theme (hats, sporting equipment, flowers etc.) and then they fill a paper with black sharpie drawings related to that theme. The goal is to create a balanced composition inspired by Warhol's interlocking images. The students color areas of their drawings with watercolor markers than paint over them with a wet brush. The markers bleed beyond the drawings and makes a really cool effect.

  • saramacdavis 07/07/2012 at 09:06am
    Have you tried the idea I saw on Pinterest of putting the markers tips down in water and then using the water like water colors? I wish I had done this when I was teaching little ones because they used up the markers so quickly or lost the caps.

  • MsFoushee 07/11/2012 at 07:03pm
    I have put markers in water to make watercolor paint, and it works pretty well! It takes several markers and the color is a bit light (red comes out pink), but I was able to soak the same markers a couple of times before they lost all the ink. I used the paint with a K-1 lesson, so I didn't feel as bad when they mixed up the cheap watercolor, as opposed to the watercolor trays the older kids use. I started several cups of markers at a time, and have 2 liter bottles of red, blue, and green ready for next year.
    Also, don't forget using your old markers for pointillism projects. They don't make good lines, but they usually still work for dots.
    Another teacher I know uses dried markers to draw in paint when her students make monoprints. I haven't tried it yet, but she said her kids have an easier time drawing in the paint with a marker than the end of a paintbrush.
    Just make sure you have a bucket to keep all your dried out/almost dead markers. You never know when they might come in handy!

  • sdartteacher 07/22/2012 at 05:10pm
    My high school art project for markers is with a study on Roy Lichtenstein art. We only try to use Red, Blue, Yellow, and black markers. The colors come out so bright and the kids enjoy the project. They have to use the markers to create a movement cartoon picture.

  • artsyjourney 08/19/2012 at 10:14am
    Right now (August) with back to school sales, you can buy those Crayola washable markers (not permanent) at places like Walmart for less than a dollar a box for 10 large markers. I use them for both the children's classes as well as the adult art journaling as they can be easily transported in the field. As already mentioned, create a design with the markers, not filling in the middles tightly, then dip a brush (cheap acrylic) into a water source and start spreading the paint. With a little ingenuity they can be used in this format along with crayons and permanent markers or just regular Bic pens. I use a heavier weight white paper.

  • lhARTz 03/06/2013 at 07:01am
    I never throw away any dead markers. I have a marker "grave" where students put them when they die. We then use the collected bunch at the end of the year to create coffee filter kaleidescopes as a quick one-day lesson. Students love dipping the markers into water!

    While markers are fresh, I never do an actual lesson about markers - they are only there for use when they are doing a free draw lesson or a secondary lesson to a project and they get to choose their media.