Darrell Anderson

Every artist knows that values and emotion are where it’s at. Other elements—drawing, color, edges—can be less than perfect, yet if you have strong values and a design that captures personal feelings, your art will be more successful.

Value Sketching With Markers will ease the journey getting there. Using this method you can quickly capture the emotion that drew you to a scene, person, or still life. The ability to simplify values and shapes can turn the ordinary into a work of art. Markers, by using a limited value range, help you to see with that simplicity and their speed helps to capture that initial emotion. This book will show you how.

Click on the book cover to see sample pages.

Oil version of “Winslow Wharf”

selfportraitWhen I was seven, the art teacher for my school district asked to borrow a drawing of a tree I had done to use as an example to take around to other schools. I never saw that drawing again but still have an image of it in my head. After that, I kept drawing, using comic book imagery until the lure of photography took over. I immersed myself in it eventually, doing work semi-professionally and teaching.

As enjoyable as it was, I felt something was missing and it wasn’t until I again picked up a pencil that I felt satisfied and at home. The directness and honesty of pencil or pen on paper presents, for me, a truth about my view of the world.

Painting in a variety of mediums was a natural addition to drawing, and that led eventually to drawing with markers having various shades of gray. They are a fast way to study possibilities for paintings before committing to a canvas. Now I enjoy them for the drawings they can do and the rapidity with which they can do them. I even like that my mistakes hang out there for all to see. Pure honesty.

Woven into that brief art history are professional “day jobs,” raising a family, going to school, and all the other things that fill our lives. Through it all, however, has been the unrelenting silent current of making Art.

I now produce works regularly, teach classes and workshops, and have a great time turning a blank page or canvas into something appealing and attractive for the eye.

Darrel Anderson lives, paints, and conducts workshops on Bainbridge Island WA.  Please visit his website and his blog for more of his work, essays on art, lessons, and his book. He is also a fine oil painter as well. Stay tuned for that!

Make Your Own Sketchbook

Ever find yourself holding back because your art materials cost so much? Do you ever think more about not ruining a piece of paper than exploring your artistic talents? How many times have you found that your drawings on cheap newsprint have more freedom and spontaneity than ones on pricier art paper?

I can show you how to make inexpensive sketchbooks. Sketchbooks so cheap you forget about trying to ‘save’ your paper. This has made a big difference in my work. When drawing with ink on these cheaper sketchbooks, for example, if the first few marks don’t work I just flip the page and forget it. The art is more important. That habit has transferred to drawings on expensive paper, and I draw with more confidence. With more confidence my starts are better and I really don’t waste paper. The same will happen for you.

There are so many kinds of paper available for six-to-twelve dollars per 150 to 300 sheets. Try any paper outlet store and explore all the textures and colors you can experiment with.

Make several different kinds of sketchbooks using standard sizes of paper. Have them cut to make a square format if you want. I use slightly textured papers for general sketching and a smoother paper for marker drawings. At least that’s the intent. In practice, however, all my books are filled with many techniques: watercolor, gouache, oil, pencil, charcoal, pastel, pen, and marker.

doorwaysI make sketchbooks out of many different kinds of paper. Here I used a grey/green-toned paper (8.5x11in) and gouache to paint some Mexican colonial doorways and a young banana tree.I make sketchbooks out of many different kinds of paper. Here I used a grey/green-toned paper (8.5x11in) and gouache to paint some Mexican colonial doorways and a young banana tree.


nudeThis is light grey paper. I have used pencil for the drawing and accented with white for the highlights— yellow and blue conte pencil for some shadow and midtones. This was an experiment but I wasnʼt concerned with losing a piece of good paper. It is still far more archival than newsprint.