I Color for a Living.

You know you’re jealous. Don’t hate.

I thought I might give everyone the 411 on what I actually DO and what medium I work with.

Prisma Markers or Prismacolor Illustration Markers are high-quality watercolor-like markers specifically designed for artists and illustrators. There are actually a wide variety of illustration marker brands, but this is the brand that I chose in college and I have stuck with them. Some of my friends use Chartpak, which are a little cheaper, but man do they SMELL! You literally get a buzz from using them. I like to stay sober when I am doing my work, but thats just me.

All of my drawings are done on special “marker paper” that is designed to make the Prisma markers look their best and not bleed. There are different brands and I have used different ones. I think right now I am using Canson. It is also acid free so, theoretically, it will last a loooooong time. Everything that I have done over the years is still in excellent shape. The paper might not look that fancy, but trust me, it’s excellent.

Everything I do starts with pencil. Pencil first= less redos. It’s the worst when you start using the pen or the markers and make a BIG mistake. Because they are like watercolors and not paint, you can’t just go over it with another color. I haven’t had to redo too many. I try to go as slow as I can so that doesn’t happen.

After the pencil, I retrace all of my pencil lines with a very fine (005) Prismacolor black pen. It’s amazing that even though everything in real life isn’t outlined in black pen, everything in the drawing needs to be or it looks as if it is missing something. I guess your eyes visualize outlines in real life so the pen recreates those in the drawing. Plus, the lines give the markers a little bleed room, because they do spread out a little as you color with them.

After the entire drawing is outlined in pen, I start to render. I start large and work my way to details most of the time, but it really depends on the house. Usually, I do the windows and roof first because they are easiest. 99% of the time I use a very dark cool grey to do the inside of the windows. I know that your house doesn’t always look like it has almost black windows, but drawing the subtle variations in every window (blinds, window open, dark room, lit room) can make the house look “messy”. The dark windows make the molding stand out and give a more cohesive look overall.

After that I typically do the main part of the house. Brick and stone usually take lots of layers and colors and siding usually takes one or two very even layers of one color. Every house is different, so I use different techniques each time.

The last thing I like to do is the landscaping. My two favorite greens are light olive green and dark olive green. I go through those really quickly and have to buy new ones a lot. But they look the best most of the time, even though they aren’t always the exact color of things in the picture. Sometimes real life just doesn’t look as good when it is drawn, so you have to tweek it. Funny how that is.

When I have finished most of the drawing, I set it aside and work on another one. I like to come back to drawings because by revisiting them I can usually see something I didn’t before. So, then I can add and change things as I think necessary. I try to work on about 8 drawings at a time and I just rotate through them over the week. It also keeps me from getting bored because I can change up what I am doing.

Before I send the drawing to the customer, I scan it in to my computer and pull in into Photoshop. I don’t make huge changes here; I just crop, erase any weird scan lines, and add my “Jennifer Marie Designs” watermark. The drawings never look as good in Photoshop as they do in real life– so just remember the original is always better!!!

I hope that gives you a little more insight as to what I do! I feel very fortunate that I am to do something I love for a living and get to stay home to do it!

As always, stay tuned!

P.S. It is 9/11! Never Forget! AND a BIG thanks to John and Sherry over at Young House Love for mentioning me again!