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Markers and Pens for Crafts from

Go-Anywhere Art Supplies: Markers and Pens

A lot of people enjoy painting scenes on-site, but the bulky kits can be difficult to tote around. The numerous brushes have handles that are somewhat long, so the containers they travel in must be a larger size. They need frequent cleanings, so small jars for holding fluids need to be packed with them. Tubes and bottles filled with colored mediums must go along with the brushes, because they do not come with paint already dripping from their fibers. It also takes time to unpack all the brushes needed, set up the surface, and mix the paints, which takes away from the time that the artists could be creating.

For these reasons, many have found it easier to utilize smaller artistic utensils when capturing scenes outside of their studios. Instead of lugging around cumbersome painting kits, they carry pens and markers to sketch and color with. These tools are not only compact and simpler to transport, they have finer drawing points which often provide greater detail than brush tips will, and can double as writing utensils when the need arises. Artists can also buy them at any store, not just those that specialize in supplies for arts and crafts for adults.

Ballpoint pens are a perfect example of small sketching implements for outdoor use. They were initially designed for writing, but artists discovered that their fine tips provided very precision line work and began using them as drawing tools. Today, people sketch and draw all kinds of ballpoint pen art, including portraits and landscapes. The pens are incredibly cheap, readily available, and can be used immediately out of the package. Diminutive and thin, they can be conveniently transported to any location in a small bag or container and there is no risk of spillage if they fall over while being moved. There are some drawbacks to using ballpoint pens as an art medium, however. Any errors are permanently set in place, and the ink can fade with prolonged exposure to light. The pens also come in a limited range of colors, including blue, black, green, and red. In order to create the illusion of other colors in their drawings, ballpoint pen artists must layer the colored inks one on top of the other, or touch up the drawings with watercolor paint.

Pen and ink drawings are the predecessors to modern-day ballpoint pen artworks. They came about when people began writing with quills dipped in bottles of ink, and flourished after the invention of the steel pen in the early 19th century. Steel pens are available in different shapes, sizes, and degrees of flexibility, and they have their own internal reservoir of ink which negates the need for an open bottle of ink nearby. They are prized, especially by illustrators and cartoonists, for their low price and portability. Famous pen and ink artists include Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Henry Moore, who favored using the medium because of the distinct definitions it would produce.

A lot of modern-day pen and ink artists also know how to use a calligraphy pen. Calligraphy is an ancient style of writing that emphasizes smooth and fluid lettering executed with few strokes. It is a very popular and prestigious art form in Asia, but is largely used for functional inscriptions, invitations, announcements, and certificates in the western part of the world. Steel-nibbed calligraphy fountain pens are now commonly sold in many stores with an office-supply department. To obtain a truly decorative calligraphy pen set, a calligrapher might need to visit an online store, or one that specializes in stationary products. The more traditional sets, which contain several pens with different nibs and bottles of ink, are not as portable as the slender fountain pens and require setting up. This can prohibit artists from taking them into the outdoors.

Not all artist pens come with metal nibs, of course. Brush pens are the same size as ballpoint pens, but have a nib of long fibers connected by a narrow tube to a reservoir filled ink or some kind painting medium. Their markings tend to be much more expressive than those made by steel pens, and they produce smoother color applications than metal-nibbed pens can. Artists use the small brush pens on-site to add detail to their work, or color in small areas. They work well with ink, thinner paints, and watercolors, and can be cleaned up quickly. The Japanese-made Kuretake brush pen is also excellent for doing Asian calligraphy. It, and other brush pens, are greatly preferred over steel-nibbed calligraphy pens.

Like brush pens, drawing markers are also extremely portable, have soft tips, and make bolder marks on a drawing surface than metal-tipped pens do. Their nibs are strong pieces of felt fed by internal ink reservoirs, and these can apply color smoothly during the creation of thick and thin lines, stippling, deliberate bleeding, calligraphy, and cross-hatching. The most popular brand of markers for sale is Crayola, which has a vast online catalog featuring sketch markers, wide markers, and washable markers that are great to use when making arts and crafts for kids. Other brand of markers, named Sharpies, come filled with permanent ink that can boldly write on multiple surfaces, including glass, plastic, wood, and metal. These are very popular among artists that like to create outsider art in urban areas.

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