Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Playing With a Sharpie Pen--A Tutorial

So, I've been trying to get the "ingredients" together to do one of the image transfer methods that I've read about on Pinterest...you know, the one where you use laser printed copies, then a xylene pen...Well, I finally got the xylene, then I went to my local print shop and asked if they used toner in their copies (as was dictated in the tutorial) or if they used a laser printer.  The girl working the front didn't know, and nobody was there to ask...I was going to go back after lunch, but that was quickly forgotten and I drove home.  I'm getting to the point where I forget everything if I don't have a note or something to remind me.  I'll have to get back to playing with that technique when I get some prints...

Since I didn't have my printed images to play with, I tried to come up with another idea.  I just wanted something simple to add to the top of this little peg coat/hat rack.  I wondered what would happen if I simply did it with a Sharpie pen...I mean, this little piece was inexpensive, so it was a good piece to use for experimenting.  It didn't have to be too perfect, because I knew that I wanted to sand the image anyway--it seemed like it could work.

Warning:  Wearing sunglasses is recommended to view this so that you're not blinded by the old yellow and orange beach towel that I used to protect my table!  Sorry it's so bright.....

When I found this little piece, it was painted white.  I mixed some chalk paint by adding plaster of paris (just a little) into a beige color of acrylic latex paint and painted it with two coats.

It looked like this:

I don't know where I found this design, but I had saved it a long time ago to my computer. This would be perfect!  So I pulled it up on the computer and put it where I could see it while I sketched the design onto the piece.

Now, I feel like I should tell you at this point that the Sharpie marker is a permanent ink.  So there's no erasing or going over something to make it better...unless of course, you're going to make it fatter or bigger.  You will have to paint over it until it's gone if you decide you don't like it...

Because I was nervous about the permanence, even though it was a small cheap piece...I decided to first sketch with white chalk.  I measured to make sure key parts were in the general place where I wanted them.  It's hard to see the chalk drawing in the pic, but it's there!

And then I started marking with the Sharpie!  I used the chisel point big one.

...and played.

Once I was finished with the "painting" part, I hit it with some sandpaper.  I used a big grit to get a really worn look.


I also sanded down the other parts of the piece so that the white would show through.

After a coat of satin poly finish, I called it done!  Here's the finished piece.

I was not compensated in any way by the Sharpie people.  

Just think of the possibilities...Now I'm wanting to try it on something big!

This little rack will be going into the shop, Juju Queen's Junk, inside Antiques at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama.  

Thanks for visiting me today!


  1. How creative, and persistent you are in bringing these ideas to life. You've now added a Sharpie Bone to your talent skeleton!!

    1. That's a funny way to put it Alan! Thanks for dropping by my friend.

  2. this is quite brilliant Judy! Love the way it turned out! Very cool!