Category Archives: Posca

Mixtape: New Works on Paper

Mixtape: New Works on Paper is my latest solo show at the Cafe 1923 in Hamtramck. I can’t believe I never before had a show solely of works on paper. I mean, as an artist you usually carry a sketchbook everywhere you go, so working on paper seems like the most natural thing in the world–and it is.

The show is a combination of works on paper that use traditional materials like markers and paint, and mixed-media pieces usually with tape of some kind: gaffer, duck or washi. Tape can be tricky to work with since markers and paint do not always react well to the surface of the tape. After many experiments, my go-to black marker for drawing on tape became the Pilot BeGreen permanent marker. Posca paint markers also work well, and came in second.

Rhino Portrait

Tape is similar to collage, and is a fun way to create patterns for clothes as you can see in this fashion portrait. Some tape can be unforgiving, and once you put it in place you must leave it there or risk tearing the paper.


Happy accidents are always welcome, and the most interesting one happened when I was revisiting one of my koi fish paintings with tape on an old canvas and decided to peel off the tape–the result was a  cut-up” koi fish. I hope to do more of these cut-up pieces in the future.


The closing reception is on Friday, August 5th, from 5–7 pm. So grab the kids and the grandparents and come on down to the Cafe 1923 Coffeehouse located at 2287 Holbrook Ave, Hamtramck, MI. Hope to see you!


Hatch/Sketch Event: Doodle in the “D”

For the past few months Maria Bologna from AIGA Detroit and I have been trying to find a space to hold a drawing event. The original plan was to “draw on everything” meaning the walls of the space. Well I am happy to announce that Hatch Detroit is letting us use their walls (covered with drawing paper) for an event we are calling Hatch/Sketch on December 1st, 6–9 pm at Hatch Gallery in Hamtramck.
Over the last few years I have been inspired by the doodle night jams in the UK, and have wished that I could participate in something like that near me. At long last there will a public draw-sketch-doodle jam in my own backyard!

Consider yourself personally invited to Hatch/Sketch on Tuesday, December 1, 6–9 pm at Hatch Gallery and unleash your inner child and doodle with us on the gallery walls! I will be providing drawing prompts and demonstrating various materials to draw with along with designer/illustrator Jessica Krcmarik who will provide a lettering demo.

Now the who/what/when/where:

What: Hatch/Sketch (click to see Facebook event)
When: Tuesday, December 1, 6–9 pm
Where: Hatch Gallery, 3456 Evaline St., Hamtramck, MI 48212

Black paint and brushes will be provided. All you need to do is bring your creativity!

All skill levels are welcome. For those of you who need a little inspiration we will provide a list of fun and interesting ideas to inspire you.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Many thanks to sponsors by Hatch Art, Team Detroit, and Du-All Art and Drafting Supply.

“Syncopated” Opening

“Syncopated,” my latest solo show opened on Friday, March 6th, 2015 at SocraTea. The show includes recent paintings, doodlebombs, and posca drawings on paper grocery bags from Whole Foods Market, Trader Joes and Papa Joe’s Marketplace.

Tigers and Bears on grocery bags Oh My!

Tigers and Bears on grocery bags Oh My!

Wishing Bling Painting

“Wishing” mixed media painting on sintra board.

In early February I had a flood of sorts in my apartment and sadly two doodlebombs (Niel Tyson/Cosmic Badass on Mental Floss and Skrillex on Rolling Stone) were destroyed by the water. I lieu of those, I added two doodlebombs I have never shown before one of which is “Kimono.”.

Kimono Doodlebomb

Kimono Doodlebomb

The show will be up until March 30th so there is still time to catch it while you have a spot of tea.



Doodle Bomb: The Creative Process

The Tiger Girl doodle bomb, or “bombette” as my friend Megan calls it, is done!  While other doodle bombs, or re-covers, have been done tongue-in-cheek or as an homage to the covers’s subject, this one is more of a transformation of demure cover model Elle Fanning into a Bridgitte Bardot inspired Tiger Girl. Let’s take a look at the before and after and in-between photos.

Elle Fanning Interview Magazine

Interview Magazine original cover.

First step was to give her the “kattsy” treatment: stripes, eyes, ears and a mouth shaped like a heart.

Tiger stripes--the transformation begins!

Tiger stripes–the transformation begins!

Sometimes I like to draw on clear film overlays or color copies to work out basic ideas for my doodles. The orange one was a Josie and the Pussycats inspired look.

Orange Tiger Girl.

Orange Tiger Girl.

The blue one was inspired by one of my own paintings. The cheetah print and blue background idea stuck and I used it for the final image. The use of cheetah print reminds me of the Interview Magazine covers of my youth as illustrated by Richard Bernstein.

Blue Tiger Girl.

Blue Tiger Girl.

In the end I decided I would not draw over the open chest area and instead let it contrast the busy cheetah background. Most of the work was completed using Posca markers, excepting the hair which I wanted to have a hand tinted look so I used a marker that was not opaque. I really liked the blue outline around the stripes idea, but decided to go with the black stripes on skin for the final.

Elle Fanning Tiger Girl.

Elle Fanning Tiger Girl.

Putting Markers to the Test

It’s no secret that I love Posca markers and how opaque they are, which makes them great for working on canvas or doodling. Today I am putting many different paint markers to the test on one magazine cover. If it’s opacity you are seeking, Posca, Zig, Molotow and Marvy Bistro clearly have the edge—just see for yourself how the colors pop over Angelina’s dress! And a black Sharpie (the three stripes on her cheek) is always a fine choice for doodling on a light colored surface.

What surprised me in this test case was how poorly Montana paint markers performed. I had to keep priming the marker continuously as I wrote its name out. It appears that Montana paint markers are in the same class as Liquitex and not meant to be opaque. I filled an empty marker with a mix of two different Golden Hi Flow paints which  did very poorly, too (see the purple-pink color outline on Iron Man). I had high hopes for the Golden Hi Flow paints and am disappointed in how they performed.

Various paint markers on EW cover.

Various paint markers on EW cover.

I didn’t expect outstanding results from all of the markers, but I wanted to test many brands on one cover, especially the brands I have written about in previous posts. Admittedly the paper for the magazine is just your average cover stock—not as glossy or thick as many fashion/lifestyle magazines. However, heavily varnished paper can present a whole new set of problems even for Posca markers. To draw on the ID magazine I turned to a Sharpie for the black and still used Posca for the other colors, but I found I had to pump the marker a lot and create a large thick pool of color to make it work.

ID Magazine muse

Heavily vanished cover paper on ID.

Luckily for all of us, the inside pages of a magazine are generally very easy to doodle on with just about any marker, pen or pencil you have handy. So why not carry a magazine and some markers with you; it’ll be like having your very own sketch or coloring  book.

Paint Marker Opacity and Translucency

Opaqueness (or opacity) is very important to me when choosing a paint marker. A nice flat vibrant opaque color is what I want in a paint marker. Today I thought I would share some tests I created for this blog. The paint markers in this test are: Posca, Zig Posterman, Molotow One4All, Liquitex, Krink K 32 water based paint markers and Smash H2O. All of the markers in my test are water based and the images on the blog are on smooth (hot press) bristol board, but nearly identical results were obtained using a rougher and more porous board. In each test I drew a thick black line (with the same brand marker) then single-pass strokes of the lighter colors over the black.

Posca and Zig are both very opaque as you can see from these tests. The downside to Posca and Zig markers is that they are not designed to be refilled, so once the marker runs out of ink you need to buy a replacement. Both markers come in a wide variety of colors and sizes.

The Molotow test swatches look more opaque than Liquitex. Molotow One4All markers are an acrylic-based hybrid paint which can be refilled and come in a range of colors and sizes. Liquitex markers are semi-translucent and behave like acrylic paint. Like Molotow, Liquitex offers a wide variety of products including spray paint that are compatible with the paint markers.

Krink makes a lot of  products that I love (especially their oil-based mops) so when they created a water based paint marker I had to buy a few markers and take them for a spin. As you can see the Krink K 32s are very translucent compared to Posca or Zig markers. I hope to find a place for the Krink K 32s in my toolbox. Smash H2O drip markers are also very new to the market. The drip markers come in two sizes: a 1.5 oz drip I used for this test, and a 4 oz mop. I really like the smaller 1.5 oz drip markers even though they are not completely opaque–the colors are vibrant, the drips are incredible and when the paint dries it has a shiny, glossy look.

Since I currently do not have a good selection of Montana markers I am sharing a link to a video demo by Sive: Recently I bought a few Bistro paint markers by Marvy, which are available at most craft stores, the neon colors have not disappointed.

If you are interested in purchasing some of these products I recommend shopping at and

Posca Pazoola!

In 2009 I joined Twitter and met many amazing artists, designers and doodlers from the UK. When I asked what materials they used on a drawing, “Posca” was a popular reply. I learned these water based paint markers are readily available in the UK the way a Sharpie is in the US. Soon after I purchased my first set of Posca markers and was hooked; these markers are very opaque and have vibrancy unlike any other I’ve ever used.

When I first started exhibiting my Posca paintings, I would list “Posca” as one of my media, but I would always get asked, “what’s a Posca?” Later I just wrote “water-based medium” on my descriptions, but if anyone wanted to know specifically what I used to create a certain painting I would fill them in on these amazing markers and where to buy them online. Over the years I have developed my own techniques with these amazing markers.

The water based paint marker market continues to grow; there are many brands to choose from such as Molotow, Montana, Zig Posterman and Liquitex, to name a few. Molotow and Montana offer paint refill systems, which is a great feature, but Poscas remain my favorite. The markers are unique in their opaqueness and eye-popping colors. If you would like to learn more about using Posca pens I recommend where you can buy markers and even a dvd.

More about Posca and other water based paint markers in future posts. If you have any questions or tips on using water based markers feel free to post a comment.

One of my first Posca sketches. Note the way the green and red cover the black.

One of my first Posca sketches. Note the way the green and red cover the black.

A painting using Posca pens and acrylic paint from 2014.

A painting using Posca pens and acrylic paint from 2014.