This week’s guest tutorial is by Jackson Root, a talented illustrator and Copic fine art instructor in Southern California. Enjoy!
Wide markers are great for a number of things: Filling large areas with rich, consistent color, calligraphy and lettering, applying background foundation tone for shading and sketching, and making plaid patterns. For those with an adventurous spirit there is a final frontier to the exploration of Wide markers, and that is the customization of your own nib.
Through the selective removal of areas of the Wide nib via physically cutting into the nib itself, you can add raking lines to your encyclopedia of mark making, as well as a really nice way of making rainbows!
Safety first! R29 is a great color for blood, there’s no reason to make your own! For this tutorial, I will show you how to cut a number of notches into the flat Calligraphy nib resulting in raking lines that are great for making crosshatch lines, and exciting zigzag lines.
When cutting notches into the nib, you want to cut at an angle into the nib, resulting in a notch that has a V-shape. This will give you a clean, un-frayed notch. Once you have your first notch cut, evenly space the notches along the nib, but leave enough space between notches so that the nib still has some structural integrity.
The next step is swapping out the existing nib from your favorite Wide marker and inserting the new custom nib.
Notice that with the tweezers, I am pulling the nib straight out of the marker. When removing the nib, be careful not to damage the nib, as you can save the original nib in an airtight ziplock bag, and swap it out later!
Now what? Now we have a customized Wide marker. At this step, the new nib is dry, without any ink and it will take some time for the ink from the marker to fully ink the nib, but if you are looking for faster results, you can use ink to “refill” the nib for instant coloring!
Be sure not to add too much ink, but just enough to soak the nib itself. Once you see the nib fully colored, it’s ready to go. Ink from the marker itself will fully saturate the nib over time.
Now the fun part! As you can see from the pictures above, I have inserted my customized the nib into a colorless blender marker. Now I’m going to use a number of colors to make a rainbow with the notches that I have created.
Touching the chisel end of a sketch marker for a few seconds (any other marker will do, but I find that the chisel end works best) to the end of my customized colorless blender Wide marker, I have created an instant rainbow marker!
Voila! Depending on how much ink you add to the blender marker, the longer you will be able to color with your new Rainbow Copic.
Tip: Make sure to use up all of the added color to the colorless blender marker before capping the marker for the day. Any color left in the nib will seep into the marker itself and tint your colorless blender over time. Coloring on some scratch paper or smooth Bristol board is a great way to clean your colorless blender of added colors.
Other Techniques: Use this technique to create interesting raking lines or for separating a marker into two broad strokes, which is great for calligraphy and borders.
Using the colorless blender with a number of notches cut into the nib, you can create some very interesting textures and colored swatches!
I encourage you to experiment with different ways of customizing the nibs and using your marker not only for lines, but also for stamping and patterning! Try overlapping your lines for quick gridwork, or for drawing flowing hair. Most of all, have fun!