Shading Cartoons With Markers – Video

A while back I did a video on shading cartoons in Photoshop, so I thought I’d also give you a look at shading my cartoons with markers as well.


Video Transcription

Hi there, this is Mark Anderson from, and I’m going to show you how I shade my cartoons using markers. We’re going to jump right in here. I have got a batch of cartoons that I’ve already inked, they are all about school by the way. And I am using Prismacolor cool grey markers, I think this one it’s hard to tell but I think this is a 30%.

I usually let the ink dry for a little while, although if I am in a hurry, the markers or the brush pen that I use dries pretty quickly, so I can usually jump right in and shade right away. But if I have the time I like to give the ink just a little bit time to set, so I can make sure that it doesn’t smear. I’ve got four cartoons on a single page of, I don’t know, this is 8X10 or, oh it’s 9X12, I believe it’s 9X12 Borden & Riley Marker Bleed Proof Paper, and I tend to work really small and I try to be efficient. So I’ve got four cartoons on the one sheet of paper here that I am shading, and again about being efficient, I am using the same marker to do washers on all four cartoons at once.

So I’ll shade one cartoon with the 30%, and then I will flip the paper around like so and then I will continue shading with 30% until I figure out I’ve got over 30% is done, and then I will move onto 40, 50, 60, what have you. I don’t do well a lot of shading, you can see here like there is a desk that I am not shading, you couldn’t find, there we go. I’m not going to shade all of the grass behind this, I am not going to shade the sidewalk. I tend to stay pretty light, it’s just personal taste plus it’s a lot less shading and there is a lot less marker work to do.

It’s just one of those things that has evolved over the years, I used to shade a lot more and I used to shade a lot heavier and darker and as time is going on, I tend to almost never shade the background on my own cartoons. I also work pretty fast, as you can tell. I’m going to shade four cartoons here about 7 minutes from beginning to end. I know a lot of people shade all sorts of different ways, ink washers and of course, I also have a video where I’ve shade the cartoons on the computer using some custom patterns that I created in Photoshop, but even that takes longer than most because then I can undo, and oh I’m not sure if that’s quite right, there is a real organic, real feel to working like this that I really like. You are not getting the marker in all of the places and you get variance, and sometimes it’s darker and sometimes it’s lighter, and it’s just there is a real feeling to it that I can’t get any other way. So if I can shade this way, I prefer to.

I’m using my iPhone, I apologize for this sort of shakiness and sometimes if the light tends to change, I’ve got my iPhone, I’ve got a special clamp clipped to my lamp on my drafting table that’s taking this, which is pretty good video. Now that I’m looking at it, it takes a little bit to see the product that you are shading through the iPhone while you are shading it, so this isn’t like 100% natural, so I tend to get really close, I have bad eyes, I have terrible vision. So when I am shading I’m right on top of it, and maybe it’s because I work so small, I don’t know, but I tend to like get my nose, I’ve actually gotten like my nose print on art while shading that I have to write a little note, you know remove nose print in Photoshop.

But this, I’m actually back a little bit because I need to make room for the camera, so you are not going to see any nose prints today on the art. We’re finishing up a lot of these here, I am just doing some detail work, there is my giant hand, looks like I am doing some darker work. I tend to work with again Prismacolor cool grey markers, and 30% is about the lightest, I’ll go, I find that that scans pretty light. I used to go 20% and 10%, but then I’d do all of these different percents, and then I would scan them and pretend the 20 just wouldn’t show up.

So over the years, I’ve gotten it down to be between 30 and 60, if I need something really black, I’ll do 70 or 80 but that’s pretty rare. Now I’ve got my little fixed notes there, and I need to fix the A in that formula on the chart board via the back of the a little bit. I’ll write myself notes like that, I tend not to draw over, again I draw really fast too, so little mistakes, I’ll write myself a note and then I’ll Photoshop out any problems.

Doing just a little bit of shading back there on the periodic table, let’s now go and see, looking to see if I, doing the little 30% line work on that sidewalk to make that pop a little bit, oh hey we are shading the background, breaking my own, I didn’t expect that I would but then you have it. You can see I’ve got the caption written in pretty sloppily below, that’s just to remind myself the caption. There has been times I have done a cartoon and inked it and shade it and then I didn’t write the caption down on the final art, and I had thought, oh I will find this sketch out or I will remember it, and I never do, and then I have a cartoon where I am like, oh, oh what was that caption, it’s driving me crazy.

Well we are finishing up here, there is four cartoons, and we are coming up to the end of the video, hope you liked it, feel free to see all of my cartoons on, there is thousands and thousands there, and I hope you enjoyed this look at me shading my cartoons with markers. I hope you learned something, I had a lot of fun, and I’ll see you next time.