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Playin’ It Cool

Summer is officially here! The sun is out, the beaches are open, the pool is callin’ your name. So grab your towel, slather on the SPF and make a statement with these cooler-than-cool coolers.

From Sharpie Oil Based Paint Markers to Sharpie Brush Tip and Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers- you have all you need to go cooler crazy.

Anchors Away! via Pinterest

Get those toes in the sand! Image via Pinterest

Show your sorority love! via Crushing on Coolers Blog

Beach weekend is here! image via


We have also seen some amazing tips on how to seal your cooler so your design won’t fade! We can’t promise anything but these claim to be tried and tested by other fans.


* “Extra paint layers followed by mod podge and a layer of spray on sealer.”

* “Most people do layers of mod podge, spray on sealer, and miniwax.”

* “Outdoor mod podge”

For more tips and ideas check out:

Crushing on Coolers Blog

The Cooler Connecton on Facebook 

Sharpie on Pinterest

Start your summer with Sharpie and share how you’re staying cool in the comments!

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Mustang Sally

Sally may have had her moment in the sun in 1965, but it’s Sharpie’s turn to ride shotgun in this beautiful custom Ford Mustang designed completely with Sharpie markers!

Chris Dunlop, the man behind the machine, is a well-regarded “pinstripe artist” famous for his incredibly detailed designs on cars — and this 1999 “Sharpie Mustang” is his latest masterpiece.

Image via

Image via


Wilson Pickett was right– all I want to do is ride around in this guy; and I am pretty sure you do too, so check out the full article on this amazing ride and the man behind it, here!

Seen other modes of transportation that have upped the street cred with Sharpie? Comment and let us know!

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Gettin’ to the Good Stuff with Timothy Goodman

We love making friends, and friends of friends are our favorite… and that’s exactly how we came to chat with Timothy Goodman, New York City heart breaker and graphic designer. After interviewing his friend and fellow designer, Dan Cassaro, we got a little love letter, or rather a love marathon, from Mr. Goodman and decided that anyone with this much Sharpie love deserved to be more than just our valentine.

The heart breaker, in the flesh... or at least in black and white.

Lock up your hearts ladies, he already stole ours and we cant be held responsible for your newest raging crush.  

Let’s get to the good stuff… 

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves?

I jokingly like to call myself the “Kid from Cleveland.” In the 1930s, there was a group of teenage actors who were called the “Dead End Kids.” They were wisearse street kids who always wore newsboy hats, and usually had some dirt on their face. I was sort of a 1980s version of that. Growing up in Cleveland from a family a modest means, I learned how to be scrappy as a youngster. My friends and I were always up to no good: smoking cigs, playing street ball, stealing baseball cards, running from dogs, jumping neighbor’s fences, throwing eggs at cars. My sweet mother had her hands full! When I was a kid, I was proud to have bruises and scars on my body after playing outside. Having bruises and scars meant I was having fun.

What inspires you and your work?

I’ve watched Winnie-the-Pooh about 10 times in the last year. Christopher Robin says, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” What an idea! I’m currently trying to be more naive with my work. Graphic design books and blogs will only get me so far. We should be inspired by other mediums, but more importantly, we should be in touch with an openness in life that has nothing to do with information, language, “success,” or dollars.

How would you describe your style? 

I work hard to get my voice and my humor in my work. As my old boss Brian Collins says, we’re not in the ‘kind of nice business.’ Meaning, we’re here to be provocative, to be memorable, and to tell great stories. Even though I’ve adopted a drawing style, if you look at my body of work you’ll see that I generally work in many mediums across branding, identity, and editorial. I have no interest in making work for solely aesthetic reasons. If we ask questions, and think like storytellers, then we can have a larger dialogue with our clients and ourselves.

You seem to be quite the jack-of-all-trades; working as a designer, art director, and illustrator, what IS it about your work that gets you goin’?

I used to paint homes, hang wallpaper and drywall for 4 1/2 years before going to design school in NYC. I was a horrible high school student and I needed time to figure out what I wanted. In the beginning, I was a laborer, hauling buckets of wallpaper glue up ladders for 12-15 hours a day. That taught me an unruly work ethic. Later, it showed me how fortunate I am to be doing what I love, and how lucky I am to do it in New York. I try not to take any of it for granted. The way I see it right now, being a designer is a duty, not a career choice.

How did you get started? 

Having mentors and constantly making things. My old creative director, John Fulbrook, hired me right out of school as a book jacket designer for Simon & Schuster. Soon after that, he left the publishing world to become a creative director in branding, and he took me with him. I will forever be indebted to him for helping my career blossom. I think it’s paramount to find someone that will help guide you, beyond design, in a way that teaches you more about life. I remind my students about this often. As for the illustration stuff, it came as a result of wanting to explore different things, and to get my name in the Times so I could impress girls. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?

Worked for us...

How did you come up with your Valentine’s Tweet-a-thon?

After leaving Apple (yes, THAT Apple) in October, I promised myself that I would make more time for personal projects. I started thinking about how much time I spend on Twitter, and how I don’t know most of the people I chat with. So I wondered how I could honor these virtual relationships? However, as many of us do, I beat myself up with doubt and fear: How could I possibly draw a valentine for every single one of my Twitter followers? Why would it matter? Who would care? Einstein famously said, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” I tried convincing myself NOT to do it. Luckily, my good buddy Erik Marinovich encouraged me to follow through with it. In the end, it was extremely rewarding on many levels, and I was very touched to see how much it resonated with people.

One look, a flutter, and some eyelash batting/tweeting and we knew...

...this was a Sharpie match made in heaven.

You have been a part of some pretty incredible stuff; your work at Apple, the Ace Hotel, features in the New York Times, Wired and Time magazine, JUST to name a few, what accomplishment do you wish you could have unlimited bragging rights on about?

I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do, and I feel fortunate to have so many inspiring and encouraging friends, mentors, and colleagues around me. Nothing is done without them. While I leave the bragging on the resume, I do pull out the Apple card a lot. They’re the most successful and innovative company in the world, everything they touch is a smash, the whole world watches them, and every client wants to be them. And besides the fact that my mother questions me at least once a week with that Are you sure you didn’t make the biggest mistake of your life by quitting? tone in her voice, I’m happy with my decision to quit and move back to NYC.

How did you come to contribute to the Art Director’s Club (ADC) bathroom ?

The wonderful people at the ADC asked four of us (Mikey Burton, Chris Rubino, Rich Tu, and myself) to create a mural in their ladies room. With only one Saturday to do it, we had to think fast and act quick—and luckily we came to an easy agreement on concept and execution. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like four dudes sweating in a bathroom all day! After some initial emails during the weeks before, we decided to shower the walls with compliments and an array of ‘lady etiquette.’ After all, shouldn’t all respectable ladies know that a beautiful dress can be ruined by wearing lumpy, baggy underwear?

(Funny story.. this is the same place that hosted the TED award ceremony for the Ads Worth Spreading, so  you may have seen a tweet or two from @Sharpie about this beauty–and that was BEFORE we knew Tim was the man behind the mirror err… bathroom! Some things are just meant to be)

 Any cool new projects you can tell us about?

I have a weird superstition when it comes to talking publicly about work that hasn’t happened yet. I will say that I have a great new rep/studio manager, and I’m very excited about the future.

Your designs have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas?

Ideas are totally disposable and constantly in flux for me. I learned that while being in branding. Anything can spark an idea, and you better have at least 100 of them. However, some of my favorite ideas have come while I’m flying. Which is ironic, because I used to be horribly afraid to fly and I couldn’t step foot on an airplane for 3 years during college. I learned to overcome that fear, and I have flown over 25 times in the last year and a half. Now I absolutely love flying! I can’t wait to get in the air, put my headphones on, and get my sketchbook out.

Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?
My friend William Morrisey always says, “If you want to change your look, change your tool.” About 2 years ago I made a conscience effort to get my hand involved in my work more. I had the perfect opportunity to make that effort sing when I was asked to do a mural for the Ace Hotel. That project opened up an entirely different creative avenue for myself. A healthy amount of work I’m currently doing is hand-drawn, and it all stems from that project.

Where the magic happened... The ACE is what brought us all together!

The common thread between Tim, Dan and all this Sharpie love

 How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?
With immediacy and with mistakes! I’m a big NBA basketball fan. I love the New York Knicks, and I hate to miss a game. I like to drink a beer soda.. (right, Tim?) (note: mistakes), watch the Knicks, and draw draw draw.

 Favorite Sharpie?  Why?
The Sharpie paint markers! I love the way they spread, the way they adhere, the way they smell, the way you have to shake them to get the ink flowing. It’s a very sensual process, which is probably why I dig it so much.

 Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
It’s been six months since I left Apple, and I’m very excited about my newfound self-employment. My favorite part is the flexibility. I can take a 3 hour lunch; I can skip town whenever I want; I can choose my clients, or work on personal stuff anytime. Right now I’m on the path of the unknown, doing everything I should be doing.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
I hate poverty, and I hate that so many kids have to grow up in poverty. There are over 16 million children living in poverty in the United States alone. I wish I could make poor kids live like rich kids and rich kids live like poor kids for one week.

 What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012?
One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Mission Chinese, is coming to NYC!

Want to pick up some Chinese with Tim? Well, we can’t promise that (heck, we are still working on our own date), BUT you can follow him on Twitter- you may even get your own Valentine out of the deal!  Check out more of his amazing accomplishments by visiting his website, and trust us, there is A LOT more where this came from. 

And as always, share the love and leave a comment– we want to know what you think! 


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Pour it On

When Sharpie advocate Mark Rivard gets tired of illustrating skateboards he gets a little crazy (A GOOD CRAZY!).  His new painting takes “Sharpie Art” to a whole new level.  Mark shared his process with us and the resulting painting spawned an entire new series from Rivard.  Rivard took some time to share with us a little more about what drives his creative process and how he’s evolving from his skateboard roots…


I was sitting around the studio one day just waiting for an idea to hit and I noticed my trash was overflowing.  I had a number of empty cans just waiting for somebody to clean them up and instead of doing just that, I piled them onto a canvas and starting dripping layer after layer of paint over them. (Inspiration really can strike anywhere…)

After a few weeks of layering paint the result was really interesting to me.  You had to really look closely to see what the object was under the paint.   It had a very Jackson Pollock style and lose feel that I was very attracted to and I wanted to explore further.  I started doing other objects like cassette tapes, old cell phones, wine corks, and even a pair of stilettos.


I was really enjoying the concept and seeing a series developing.  I’ve started to do some of these paintings with product and branding in mind as well.  I looked at companies that are using artist as tools to promote their product, then looked at the color and shape of the actual product and created an interesting mix of product and fine art.  It didn’t take long for me notice the extremely large stock of Sharpie’s lying around my studio and the second the idea hit, I was off and running.  For this particular piece there are about 30 or so Sharpies under, roughly, 50 layers of diluted acrylic.


The interesting thing is this painting is still changing and evolving long after I put the final signature on it.  The ink from the sharpies took on a life of it’s own and began to release from the pens which created a really unique affect.


That’s my favorite thing about art, when you open your mind up all of the sudden art is everywhere.  A pen isn’t just a writing tool in the right hands, it’s a possibility!




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A Stencil for A Stellar Stain: An Interview with Ed Roth

Ed Roth has been Sharpie’s partner in crime for a LONG time and we LOVE him for it–not to mention the exclusive stencils he made JUST for us a few years ago–and couldn’t believe we hadn’t already interviewed this Sharpie stenciling genius!

Ed recently got his hands on some of our new Stained by Sharpie fabric markers for the launch of his NEWEST book; Stencil 201 and he even made us a little video …( keep on scrolling to check it out!)

So without further ado, allow me the immense pleasure of introducing you to Mr. Ed Roth, the man behind Stencil1 and the unofficial Stained By Sharpie commercial :)

Who DOESN'T love a stencil self-portrait? Ed Roth, ladies and gentleman.

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves? 

My name is Ed Roth. I grew up in Northern New Jersey, 20 minutes from NYC. I had crafty parents, you know, in that suburban way. Mom did ceramics, Dad painted murals on the garage walls with left over house paint, etc…With their influence and being a bored suburban teen, I would raid thrift stores and buy old furniture and refinish it- paints, stains, faux finishes, you name it as well as up-cycling clothes. I was the kid that wrote his favorite band names on his Converse with, yep, a black Sharpie!

Personally, I live for design and art and have a need to be creative. After working for decades for tv networks and ad agencies as an art director and animator, I then started my own design company, Stencil1, in 2004 in Brooklyn, NY.

A stencil isn't enough for THIS face. .

Likes? Well, I like design with soul. Clever street art. Customized belongings. Things with meaning.

Dislikes?  Generic cookie cutter spaces.  Overpriced clothes. 

Pet peeves? Overly designed items or spaces. Good design doesn’t have to be over the top.

What inspires you and your work? I usually find inspiration in my design work from things outside my field such as music, a trip to the museum,  being in nature, traveling , vintage shopping, being in Brooklyn. For example, a trip to the Museum of  Natural History will inspire the need to make an octopus stencil!

How would you describe your style?  Eclectic. I’m all over the place but have always liked nostalgia, nature, pattern, urban imagery, graffiti and pop art. Hence the range of stencil designs on the site!

Stencil and send!


You have done it all, including working as a graphic artist, animator and gallerist; as well as what we love you for, your stencils- what is it about stencils that really jazz you up?

How flattering. Thank you. I love perpetuating the art of stenciling. I love their history – their use for political outcry, their highly decorative use in castles of kings. It’s a tool without clear definition. It’s also so utilitarian, it allows someone who may not feel comfortable drawing to make art and be creative, it provides satisfaction. I love seeing how everyone who uses one of my stencils will have a different end result. Love it.

How did you get started?  In late 2004, I was needing a break from ad agencies . I had run a successful art gallery in Williamsburg with friends and wanted to continue doing something art related. I wanted to design a book. I did just that. I made a prototype book of 50 stencils. I shopped it around to publishers who liked it but weren’t sure how to produce it. I decided to just sell the stencils individually so I built a website (my other background is web design). I got press right away on, then the NYTimes, then Blick Art Materials called and wanted to carry Stencil1. I have figured it out along the way, slowly growing the company, adding designs, adding art supplies. Then I started making books with Chronicle Books. We released Stencil 101 in 2008. Since then, we released Stencil 101 Décor, Stencil Stationery, Stencil 101 Journal, and now Stencil 201. Next year you will see Stencil 101 Style. I continue to release new designs on

Your stencils are super trendy and, not only hit the basics when you think of a “stencil,” they also have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas? 

I think sometimes it’s simply what I like but also I have always been a trend watcher.

Do you have a personal soft spot for one of your designs in particular?

I have a few favs. I love my 7 foot grizzly bear! I recreated him in a small size for Stencil 201, this way he can fit right on your shirt!  My Stencil Graffiti Mini Sets are also some of my favorites since they were some of the first designs I put out and I think define Stencil1. People seem to like these since they are smaller and super easy to use.

Get grizzly with it... can you imagine? 7 FEET!

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

Well, With the release of Stained fabric markers, I am like a pig in the mud, haha. I do a lot of t-shirt design work, many of my stencils are really designed with apparel in mind. Sharpie has made customizing t-shirts way easier with these new fabric markers. While painting is great, everyone can use a marker with perfect results. The tips of these markers are more brush like with a point so you can stencil into fine details or fill in larger areas easily. I used the markers at by events for people to stencil with, amazing results. Make sure you watch the video!

Favorite Sharpie?  Why?

I guess now it would be a black Stained fabric marker because it’s basic, multi-surface and allows me to customize t-shirts, canvas sneakers, anything really.

Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?

Well, the best part of being the Stencil1 owner is  getting to create creative tools that people use to make things with. I love seeing what people make, it feels like you provided someone some fun.

If not this, I would still have to be creative. Textile designer? Landscape architect?

If you could have one super power what would it be and why? 

Fun question! Maybe to spray paint out of my wrist like Spiderman throws webs!


What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012 ( in the art world, in design, whatever)?

Trends for 2012 – I think customizing your wares and space is a big movement. The quest for authenticity.  I am very excited about 2012 as I am reaching out to do a lot of collaborative work. I will not only be introducing more stencils, art tools and supplies but also working with companies to create apparel, décor, and home items. 

Tell me about the video and background on the event !!


The video here was shot the day of the official book launch for my new book Stencil 201. I always have a DIY event during my book signing so people can be creative. I partnered with Etsy to have  their craft nite coincide with the signing at Powerhouse Arena in DUMBO. I tested the project at my studio. I cut up canvas into patches and provided Stained by Sharpie markers with stencils from Stencil 201 as well as some other Stencil1 designs. Some even brought their own canvas bags and t-shirts to customize. As you will see, the crowd really enjoyed it!


For more BOMB dot com (this phrase is making a comeback! trust me…) stencils and to check out his books, be sure to stop by his website and check him out on Twitter and Facebook.

EXCLUSIVE Sharpie perk alert! Be sure to LIKE Stencil1 on Facebook to receive the special discount code exclusively for Sharpie lovers… AND for 20% off be sure to join his mailing list (scroll down and its on the left!)!!


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The World Through Trent Schmick’s Eyes

If the eyes are the windows to the soul then Trent Schmick is putting his on display! Through his expressive and abstract Sharpie art he “sees” the world through his art and it shows; his unique style of “humanizing” the characters in his art act like reflecting pools of Trent’s expressive and caring personality.  
As an art teacher from Evansville, Wisconsin and a life-long creator, Trent is making his mark and we are thrilled to have the chance to hang out with budding Sharpie rockstar!

Trent Schmick, artist and teacher extraordinare

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes?

I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin but I moved a lot while I was growing up, so sometimes I consider the Midwest my home.  I did however move back to Wisconsin to a city just outside of Madison and following high school graduation, I chose to study graphic design and earned an Associates Degree in Commercial Art.  With my parents again on the move, this time to Utah, I was really at a crossroads about what I was going to do with my life.  I had a piece of paper and some newly learned skills, but sadly, I realized advertising wasn’t my passion.  As my parents moved West, I stayed in Madison to figure out what I was going to do with my life.  I spent the next year working various jobs, trying to get my rock band out of the garage and basically having fun.  Then one day I knew, college was the answer.   I gave up everything and put all my energy and resources into putting myself through college and proudly walked away with a BA in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and walked straight into a school art room and have enjoyed every second of that decision!  I passionately believe in the arts and it’s really an honor to spend time working with young artists as they discover the joy of creativity.

My other great passion is music.  As a songwriter, combining words and music allows me the opportunity to express myself differently and though it’s now just a hobby, I do spend quite a bit of time writing and recording my songs.  Sometimes when my love of music diverts my attention from my art, I think of Vincent Van Gogh’s short, but productive art life that lasted just over 10 years. He amazingly created something like 2,100 pieces of artworks, 860 were oil paintings and the rest were watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints, which is pretty prolific. I whole-heartedly blame music for the reason why I probably won’t reach half of Van Gogh’s creative output in my lifetime… but I’m ok with that. :)


A few of Trent's masterpieces on display!

Did you always know you were going to be an artist?

Yes, without a doubt.  Although I have at different stages in my life pondered other career possibilities… fireman, zookeeper, comedian, football player, guitar player, full-time college student…just to name a few.  But the truth is being an artist and a teacher was always my true calling.   Even though I gave other careers some thought, deep down I’ve always known that art was going to play a role in my daily life. I vividly remember in second grade when my classroom teacher announced, matter-of-factly, we would not be able to have our normally scheduled art day and that art class was cancelled.  After giving this quite a bit of thought, I knew what to do.  I opened up the 1st – floor window, climbed out, and headed for home.  Now this was going to be a bit of a problem since I took the bus to school!  I didn’t get very far before I was escorted back to the school building.  I knew then how powerful art was to me and the real reason I went to school. 

 What inspires you as an artist? 

Some one said, “Creativity and love come from the same source, and both have no boundaries.  It all depends on how we use them.”  Whether I’m writing a song, a poem or creating a piece of art, my art is just an extension of my heart and soul.  The goal always is to honestly express and convey that particular thought or feeling that is within me.  Fine art gives me the opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings when there are no words available to do otherwise.

“Creativity and love come from the same source, and both have no boundaries.  It all depends on how we use them.” 

My inspiration is really shaped by the way I see the world.  I can get easily lost in the details of objects, like the veins of a leaf or the texture of an old barn.  In my Sharpie permanent marker drawings I’ve been specifically inspired by people and more specifically the face.  I’m drawn to the eyes and have been for most of my creative life.  You can gain a lot of insight into a person by reading their eyes.  It’s the eyes that reveal truth, joy, love, fear, sadness, and heartache.  Because of my limited vision, I’ve always had a special appreciation for sight and the single eye has been a recurring motif that appears in all my Sharpie permanent marker drawings.  It’s the eye shape in each work that gives my art its emotional focus.

How would you describe your style? 

My art moves between Abstraction and Non-Objective.  Although I have the ability to create realistic works of art and have done so on and off my whole life, there is something about abstraction that sparks my creative energy. 

Bowl of Notes

I find beauty in line, shape, texture and color.   Each of these elements is like separate instruments.  But, when you put them together in a pleasing way you create beautiful music.  I love spiral shapes and twisting, overlapping shapes and lines and use them a lot to create rhythm and to suggest movement and to express emotion. If you look at a work like Bowl of Notes (above), you can see the kinetic energy that’s created by overlapping lines, shapes and colors.

I also really strive to create an illusion of space in my work.  This is achieved by the way I draw and color the shapes. Making the shapes appear to be 3-dimensional is a very central part to my style.  In Guardian (below), you can see a culmination of all these components.



How did you get started working as an artist? How do you get the creative juices flowing?

I look back and I can’t ever remember a day when I wasn’t creating.  It seems I was born with a crayon in my hand. (You mean a Sharpie right. wink wink :) )  It sounds simple, but to be creative you have to give yourself the opportunity to create.  You have to exercise that part of your brain.  When I’m not creating, I’m still thinking and observing the world around me.  My creative energy flows back and forth from one creative discipline to another like water with no beginning or end. I’ve always felt a song is still better than silence, a poem is still better than a blank piece of paper, and a painting is still better than a blank canvas. The expression of creativity starts with a note, a letter or a dot, so start. I did! I’m really grateful I am able to actively express myself in variety of art forms.


How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?  Can you explain the process you use to create your artwork?

My work is created entirely with Sharpie Permanent Markers.   I free hand all the shapes either with a pencil or a black Sharpie marker.  I choose not to use rulers or any other drawing tools to create the shapes.  I really like the challenge this creates as I draw each shape.  I usually start with the “eye forms.”   Once I’m satisfied with them I’ll outline the shapes in black Sharpie and then add any additional details.   Next I’ll pick a color scheme and begin coloring. Often times, I’ll be layering different colors to create new colors.   Now that Sharpie has expanded their color range, it’s much easier to produce the colors I desire for each artwork, but I still like the challenge of creating new colors.  I usually work on several pieces at the same time, so I’m continually rearranging and adding additional shapes together to create the finished design.  Once the design is finalized and all the shapes are outlined and colored, I cut them out.  The parts are then assembled together with some of the pieces literally raised up from the flat picture surface creating areas of relief, although these raised parts are hard to see in the photos.



Your art seems to resemble a human form, does each piece have a “persona” for you or are they strictly expressions of art?  

Yes, my work is based on the human form and more specifically on the face with an emphasis on the eyes.  Each portrait is created intuitively, so the persona often doesn’t reveal itself until the piece is finished.  Sometimes I get more clarity by talking to people at my art exhibits.   They see the work with fresh eyes and they can be quite insightful.

In the end, each work has two layers. The 1st layer is what you physically see and this is the design (line, shape, color, texture and value) and their arrangement. I call this the beauty layer. The second layer is the psychological/emotional layer. This layer gives the work its emotional depth. As in all works of art, the viewer gets to decide how deep they want to understand the idea.  As the artist I just give you the opportunity to decide.


How do you decide what to name your pieces?

Since my work is spontaneous, I don’t always know exactly what form the piece will take once I begin. As I work through the process, the picture’s does reveal its true essence to me subconsciously towards the time I begin assembling the pieces.  Many times it’s been several weeks before I can fully understand the finished work and title it.  Other times the idea reveals itself quickly and the title is quite easy, which happened with Social Anxiety.  To most people walking somewhere is pretty easy, but to someone with social anxiety, it literally feels like walking through a thick jungle. The simplest tasks can be overwhelming and I believe the piece’s dense overlapping shapes and the wide-eyed, sad facial expression really captures that anxious feeling.


Social Anxiety

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

My favorite color is orange and I use it quite a lot in my work, but my favorite sharpie is Marigold because it’s very useful for mixing other colors.

"Orange you glad you met me, Marigold?"

As a teacher you must have some great advice for young artists…

I tell students that you’ll know you’re an artist when you can pick up a rock and you see everything but a rock.  Making others feel what you see and see what you feel is a powerful yet wonderful and vital gift to give to the world.  So Dream big.  Spend time wondering what could be. Then take a risk. Many of the risks I’ve taken have led to some pretty amazing opportunities.  When I first started exploring the creative potential of Sharpie markers, I was really just trying to make pleasing artwork to hang on my walls.  Little did I know that six years later these works would be exhibited throughout Wisconsin or that I’d have my work in both corporate and private collections, or won a few awards or even gotten to share my work with so many people. I would have never experienced this journey without believing in my self-worth and not settling for less.  So I say to my students, believe in yourself and the work you create.  Celebrate the joy of creativity and embrace a lifelong appreciation for the arts and if you choose not to make art then remember—the world needs art buyers too! :)

“Believe in yourself and the work you create”


If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

My super power would be “wish granter.”  I’d like the ability to turn sadness, disappointment and heartache into joy, success and love by making other people’s wishes come true.  I would do it anonymously… No wish is too big!  I’d just leave my calling card in the shape of a hand that read, “A little helping hand.”

 Keep up with Trent’s work and make sure to check out his website and on Facebook!

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Fade to Black with Sharpie on Black Friday!

Sharpie is starting Black Friday off right. No lines, no crowds, nothing but pure Black Sharpie magic. An epic celebration of all the amazing black and white creations brought to us by our fans! 

Scroll on and prepare to blown away by all the amazing black and white Sharpie creations!

Hunter Cramer, our Facebook fan, is piece of Sharpie work!

Polly Allen- a little Sharpie love


I just LOVE a good mustache pun


Sharpie for your table


Straight hood


Stephanie Stewart's contribution


Sharpie-wood forest

 Reaper in Sicily started with Sharpie for their music video, “Worlds End” using black Sharpie markers! 


Oh Hedwig. via


via gaksdesigns


via imaginationartshop


Facebook fan, Kelli Suchorski, started with Sharpie


Sharpie Headgear


Sharpie fan, Kayla Basham's art





Sharpie Facebook fan, Joshua Aldrich



Sharpie Facebook fan, Jeff Anema.via


Facebook fan, Ashley Elizabeth Murad


Facebook fan, Alexandra Lowman has a Sharpie Standoff


Those are just fantASHtic, don’t ya think? (ps this little guy is via raspberrymilk)

Want more!?! Of COURSE you do and we got it! Check out our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels for more black Sharpie marker madness! And be sure to share what you started with Sharpie, too!

And for those Black Friday shoppers still looking for a deal, Sharpie will be giving away special Black Friday sets of Sharpie products FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS to 100 lucky winners on our Facebook page. Hurry! No lines!

See it PAYS to read all the way to the end… Happy Sharpie “shopping”!

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Sharpie in Motion

Keith Skogstrom is a man in motion and his work is no different.

This Chicago artist is doing it big, 6 feet by 38 feet to be exact, in his latest project for The Violet Hour, a super swanky prohibition-themed speakeasy that Keith has re-decorated by creating an installation across the ENTIRE external facade of the building with Sharpie shrine-worthy work.

It’ll be up for another two weeks so if you’re in the Windy City you can swing by and check out Keith’s mechanical masterpiece.

Keith has graciously agreed to enlighten us about what it takes to create such an installation, what inspires him and his passion for Sharpie, of course!

Tell me about yourself! I was born and raised in Ohio. I received a BFA from Ohio University in 2007. In 2008, I moved to Chicago after a show titled Neoporkopolis. The show was in Cincinnati and one of the artist was from Chicago and suggested the city. I signed a lease and moved downtown a week later into the Ukrainian Village. Don’t move to Chicago in January. (We could have told you that! Although, funnily enough I made the same mistake!) The artist that encouraged my move was Andrew CopperSmith and together we had a show at a gallery as the “Binford Experience”. Andrew got into the graduate program at the Chicago Art Institute and there was little more production of artwork until the following February. I participated in a group show for Toyota at the Creative Lounge located at North Ave and Damen. Since then I have been operating out of a studio in Wicker Park as Geodesic Designs. I hope to continue making murals and furniture and soon to be doing so professionally. Someday I would like to have a furniture store/studio in which I sell furniture and artwork as well as a working space.  

What is inspires you as an artist?  I am inspired by mechanical motion.  

How would you describe your style? I would describe myself as a kinetic artist. My sculptures are both active and interactive. As a sculptor, I create a “machine” that consistently replicates an experience from a collective childhood unconsciousness. I would stylistically describe my flat work as “Implied Kinetics”. I create the illusion of “movement” by using shapes and patterns that resemble mechanical components such as cogs, pulleys, bearings, and timing belts. To increase the illusion, I use a combination of contour line drawing and cross hatching to add volume to the individual components.   

How did you get started working as an artist? How do you get the creative juices flowing?  My artistic career started in high school when a teacher, Mr. Mike Simpson, encouraged my artistic talents. I went to Ohio University and graduated Cum Laude in 2007 with a BFA in painting. My current work, which I categorize as the Brockton Operation series, is based on a commission I completed in October of 2010. The Brockton Operation became a complex in Mass. where Thomas Edison ran experiments for developing a central power grid. The finished product is a shaped wooden panel with varying intensities of Sharpie marker.   

For inspiration I’ll take things apart or watch Youtube videos about differential gears, engines, or any complex machine’s workings.  

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?  I use Sharpie markers to make the lines and fill in blocks of color. I use rubber bands to attach the Sharpie markers to compasses to make perfect small circles. For larger circles, I have created a trammel point-like apparatus that holds a Sharpie marker on one independent clamp, and a sharp point on a second independent clamp. The two clamps attach to scrap lumber allowing for circles to be created at any diameter.    

Favorite Sharpie? Why? My favorite Sharpie markers are the fine tip and the chisel tip. I use the fine tip for intricate elements and fine circle circumferences. I use the chisel tips to fill in large blocks or add a specific texture.  

Chiseled to perfection...

Describe the process for creating such a large installation piece.  As an artist, I use plywood because the wood grain contrasts the mechanical images. As a draftsman, I am interested in the plywood because I can create high contrast lines that can and are sanded to varying levels on the value scale. The style for this current installation is inspired by the “Brockton Operation” series, but the arrangement for the eleven main circles is based on an artifact found in a Greek wreckage call the Antikythera mechanism.

The process for translating the image from paper to mural was as follows: create template, translate template to individual panels, thicken panels, create registration, mount panels on registration, draw first layer, sand first layer, draw second layer, remove panels from registration, coat panels with protective finish, and finally mount panels to façade.

To create the template, I covered the façade in a six foot tall level cardboard sheets. I drew my shapes using a spacer and level based on the drawing I created and used to propose the installation. I cut out the cardboard shapes and took them to a large home improvement store. I traced the shapes onto matching plywood maple panels, making sure the grain ran in the same direction. I squared the shapes by backing them with and inch thick border then routing the edge plum. Next, I built a six foot tall by 38 foot long faux wall that was the exact length of the Violet Hour façade but broke down into 8 four foot structures and 1 six foot structure. I mounted the faux wall directly to the actual façade approx. one foot down from a support beam. I then mounted the 53 shaped panels to the faux wall and removed the entire structure from the wall leaving the pieces attached. I created the first layer of the finished image in my studio 20 feet at a time. I built a slide for different panels to be added and removed as completed. Once the first layer of drawing was done, I took the faux wall back to the Violet Hour and confirm a consistent distribution of detail throughout the 38 feet as I had only seen it 20 feet at a time up to this point. At this point, I sanded the first layer with a 120 grit orbital sander until I got a blue/gray “faded” image. The faux wall then gets placed  back on the slide to be finished with a second “layer” of detail. Once the image was completed, I sent them to a finisher that I commissioned. I primed and painted the façade of the violet hour over a five day period. Once returned, the panels were arranged and mounted to the façade with thick blocks behind to create depth between the back of the panel and the wall.  

How did your installation project get started?    The installation got started because I was a regular at the Violet Hour. The Violet Hour is a prohibition themed speakeasy where the mural now hangs for another two weeks. The owners provide a wall for artists in the area to create murals upon and to do so on a four to six week rotation. I initiated contact with the owners via a wonderful hostess, now friend of mine, named Lara. She arranged a meeting for the owners and myself where I pitched the mural with a drawing and an example of the artwork from the “Brockton Operation” series. They agreed that I could use the wall in September, but due to a delay on my part the unveiling was pushed back to October.    

 Advice for other young artists?   Make things. You can’t have shows or design your website without something to document. I am constantly getting questions from artists about how to setup their website or market themselves when they have few artifacts and even fewer competent images or documentation of the work. Most importantly, artists need to create objects or conceptualize thoughts in order to develop an identity. The process of creating unique artwork starts with the action. Critique and refinement can only be applied to fully realize artistic investigations. Without attempts at making art, artwork can not be fully developed.

For more on Keith and his work, visit his website and find more photos of his work on Facebook!

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Uniting the World: One Doodle at a Time.

Guest blogger, Stephanie!

It’s time again! Check out our latest Sharpie Featured Artist, Warren Beinart, and hear what he has to say to guest blogger this week, Stephanie Markadonatos, a fellow employee and Sharpie fanatic.

With a passion for all things Sharpie and the great city of Chicago, Stephanie is a Northern Illinois University graduate with a degree in Corporate Communications. Working as one of our fabulous Production Artists for the Office Products Group, Stephanie took a little time off from her busy day to pen a few words for the Sharpie blog.

I’m sure we’ve all done a little doodle-ing at some point in our lives and thought nothing more of it; Warren Beinart, the creator of “The Doodle Daily” blog, is the exception.

The doodle Doctor, himself.

He has taken this creative pastime to a new level; it has become his passion, “I started my Daily Doodle Blog as a challenge to myself to see if I could create something new every day for at least a year using social networking as the only means to spread the word.

Since the start of Warren’s challenge 2 years ago he has posted a new doodle every day for the past 750+ days.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Warren now resides in the Washington, DC area working as a Business Analyst by day (with numerous meetings giving him plenty of time to doodle.) Warren chose Sharpie products as his primary implement, “because I loved the diversity of the products, the fine point and “no-bleed through” features of the Sharpie pen, and the markers are perfect for the think lines and preciseness of my work. I have never looked back. As you say, ‘It starts with Sharpie.’”

Warren’s dream is to encourage the doodlers of the world by challenging them to a “World Doodle Challenge.” He hopes to receive 1,000,000 doodles from around the world and connect with other passionate sketch artists and doodlers, therefore “uniting the world 1 doodle at a time.”

Sharpie is proud to be Warren’s product of choice, “[Sharpie] products have been invaluable to me…I cannot tell you how many Sharpie Pens and Permanent markers I have been through during this journey.”

Accept Warren’s challenge and submit your own doodle or scribble to his blog, scroll through some of his master doodle pieces, and check in with his progress by following him on Twitter and Facebook.

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The President’s Harley

Whether it’s the freedom of the open road or the precision and distinctive beauty of the bikes themselves, motorcycle enthusiasts are passionate about the ride.

Sharpie President Ben Gadbois
Ben Gadbois is passionate about a few things: His family, his health, his work…and motorcycles. As president of Sharpie, Ben recently found a way to combine his passion for Sharpie with his love of motorcycles.
Ben worked with renowned NASCAR artist Nick Pastura to customize his own Harley-Davidson motorcyle with Sharpie art. Before getting started, Ben talked at length with Nick about his vision — juxtaposing the hard edge and rugged persona of the Harley machine with images symbolizing beauty, peace and strength — images often associated with Japanese art. In the end, Nick presented Ben with a design that included traditional Japanese symbols — dragons, Koi fish and cherry blossoms.
“I gave Nick full creative license,” Ben said. “I told him to come up with something really bold, and he definitely delivered.”
Scroll through the pictures, then read an interview with artist Nick Pastura on the project:

The bike took NASCAR artist Nick Pastura more than 120 hours and 275 Sharpie markers to complete.

In Asian culture, dragons are considered symbols of good fortune and protection. In both Chinese and Japanese mythology, the dragon is closely associated with water and is often surrounded by water or clouds.

The Koi fish symbolizes energy and motion and is sometimes interpreted to mean non-conformity. Koi also means strength in time of adversity, persistence, and the ability to overcome resistance.

According to the Buddhist tradition, the breathtaking but brief beauty of the cherry blossom symbolizes the transient nature of life.




While Nick rarely shares the secrets of his trade, he agreed to give us this interview about his use of Sharpie markers on this classic motorcycle:

After you landed on the overall design concept, what were the next steps for contributing that vision to paper?

I started out doing a lot of research on traditional Japanese imagery and colors. I wanted to stick with the classic Sharpie colors as my main stay…after that, it was just a matter of what tip shapes and sizes would work well together on each motorcycle part.

How did you transfer the design onto the bike? Transfer paper.

What type of Sharpie marker did you use to:

Were there any special techniques you used to ensure the marker ink lay down properly or covered the area properly? I used small, tight, circular motions.

Did you blend any of the marker colors to create custom colors, and if so, how? Again using three similar colors to add to the main base color to complement it and blend.

Were there any other techniques or tips in the early stages to note? Yes. When blending colors, make sure the ink is still wet in order to blend easily.  You have to work quickly.

Once you completed the finished design, what did you do to seal it?  What type of sealant did you use? First, I applied three light mist coats of Dupont 622 Intercoat Adhesion Promotor.  Then I let it sit for four hours to dry thoroughly.  The final clear coat was Dupont g2 4500S Fast Activator.

Did you encounter any special challenges with the ink application and if so, how do you suggest managing them?  Make sure the colors are dry before moving on to the next color or they will bleed.

Do you recommend lay artists give this a try on their own bikes?  Any tips for a practice run? Yes, but try to practice on an old gas tank or fender if possible.

What do you like best about Sharpie markers for creating your designs?  What makes them unique? What do they bring to the design that other art tools, i.e. spray finishing, don’t? Sharpie markers give you the ability to blend three similar colors together.  In automotive painting, it is just not the norm to blend colors like that. Using Sharpie markers was both exciting and intimidating at first but I got the hang of it quickly after a few test runs. It was great to have the markers right at your reach…the color reference is so visual that way.

Ben's sons, Helmut, 13, and Julius, 10, at the Fox River Harley-Davidson dealership in St. Charles, Illinois, just after the new Sharpie-drawn tins were installed.

This weekend, the bike will make its debut at the Irwin Tools Night Race in Bristol, Tenn., where Ben will take it for a lap around the track during pre-race ceremonies tonight.  Sharpie is a partial sponsor of the NASCAR race.  Irwin Tools and Sharpie are sister brands, both part of the Newell Rubbermaid family.  Here’s a sneak peak of Ben’s trial run Thursday night:


Start With Sharpie

The Sharpie Harley couldn’t have come at a better time as Sharpie launches its new Start with Sharpie campaign.

The campaign focuses on the legions of Sharpie fans (almost 2 million on Facebook alone) using Sharpie products in inspiring and creative ways, challenging them to start something with Sharpie.  To find out how you can submit your Sharpie creation to the Sharpie gallery and be part of Sharpie’s You Tube Takeover, visit

If the president of Sharpie can start something this cool, what are you gonna start?