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Sharpie Squad Helps Sports Star Score

Sharpie Squad creates custom prosthetic leg for teen football star

We recently had the AMAZING opportunity to help a local Atlanta teen, Erik, create a custom designed prosthetic leg using our products.  When the INCREDIBLE team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta approached us with the idea, we were both thrilled and humbled at the prospect of helping Erik uncap his creativity and his love for sports through his prosthesis.  In fact, we even invited our own Sharpie Squad (a group of some of Sharpie’s most passionate and creative fans) to get in on the action.

Erik (middle) and the AMAZING CHoA team

After a few exciting brainstorm sessions, the Squad got to work.  Eventually Erik decided on a combination of two designs from Squad members and artists Drew Michael and Lauren Seal.

The final work for Erik!

For more on this incredible project and Erik, head over to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta blog!  Score one for Erik!

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Professor Rivard

It started with a skateboard. Which turned into an ad campaign. Now, Mark Rivard has started a movement.

Recently, Mark launched an art education program, The Mark Rivard Skateboard Art Education, a unique program designed to provoke and inspire students to strive for success through hard work and recognition of one’s potential.

Skateboards. Art. School. Stop it. Where the heck was this when I was trying not to bang my head against my desk praying 4th period would just end!?

Everyday we are blown away with what can start with Sharpie. Today, we have been blown to pieces, so we will let Mark tell you about it while we try and wrap our head around this amazing-ness!

Tell me! What have you been up to lately!?

What a rollercoaster ride it’s been since the 2011 campaign!  I have been busy!  The last year has seen so much opportunity for me it’s been unbelievable, but the most important opportunity came in the form of an idea I’ve had for quite awhile.  I started a skateboard art education program, which has been a passion of mine.  I’ve been creating art, painting, skateboards, sculptural pieces, just really letting the creative process grow which has been really interesting.  Life is good, and art is STILL FUN!

Skating selfie.

I know WE KNOW how, but tell us how you got started with Sharpie! 

My relationship with Sharpie started about five years ago when my aunt, who is an office supplies manager, mentioned to her Sharpie Rep that her nephew used Sharpie markers to illustrate skateboards.  That rep must have said something to the marketing team and the next thing I knew I was doing an interview for this very blog!  Then in 2009 I was invited to become a member of inaugural Sharpie Squad, from that opportunity we have just continued to spitball ideas and I am yet to find a better skateboard illustration tool…  There’s a lesson here too, foster your relationships.  Young artist are always asking me, “How did I get where I am?”   It’s those around you that are so instrumental in your success.  When I got my foot in the door with Sharpie I ate up every opportunity I could, I’ve been pestering the bigwigs over there for years with ideas and projects I want to work on (Pestering?! PLEASE- we love it!!) .  If someone would have told me five years ago that I would have the relationship I have today with Sharpie I would have thought they were crazy, but here we are, and you guys still answer my calls!!!  Thanks Sharpie, it’s been an incredible five years! Cheers to us! 

Since being THE skateboarding force behind 2011’s ad campaign- you have started up your own education program? Fill us in!

This has been the one thing in my life I can honestly say I am the most proud of.  I used the momentum and recognition that 2011’s Sharpie campaign afforded me and developed a program called Rivard Art Education.  I wanted to find away to give back, not only to skateboarding, but also to kids that are a lot like I was growing up.  School didn’t come naturally for me and I always had a hard time finding things that I was genuinely interested in.  The older I’ve gotten the more I realized my passion for helping people figure out their role in life.  I was fortunate in the things I’ve been through that I was able to find an outlet that I was so passionate about.  I was able to better my life because of it.  I want to help people learn to recognize that kind of drive in themselves.  School doesn’t have to be a drag ( seriously where were you during my 4th period class?!) and if I’m in a position to help make it better, even if it’s just for a few, than it’s something I am committed to doing.  I feel like with the campaign I was given the chance to use some of the inspirational themes to piggyback off of and create a, pay-it-forward, type momentum through the Rivard Art Education.

Professor Rivard and those lucky kids!

As for skateboarding and skateboard art itself, that is merely a tool.  I wrote this piece called “The Skateboarding Springboard”, which I think best describes the basis for the program:

“A couple of days ago I was talking with a friend about his idea to develop a skateboard school through one of the local shops.  As we were talking I realized that the fundamental reason for success with these types of programs has nothing to do with skateboarding itself and everything to do with the interactions and openness brought out by the idea of skateboarding and the aesthetic of skateboarders.  How do we sell this idea to group of people that have zero understanding of skateboarding?  The kids don’t care; they are intrigued by anything & everything when presented in manner that is giving them the freedom to discover their own outcomes.  How do you sell to a PTA?  Or a group of people who’s ideas of skateboarding is negative?  You prove to them that skateboarding is simply a means to a larger conversation.  The lesson and value of the experience is in the conversations had collectively while working on a skateboard.  It’s in the way you watch a young person come to their own realizations while pushing a Sharpie across the bottom of board.  Skateboarding is simply the springboard to so many other positive emotions and a tool used to inspire the emotions that in turn define what a young person is passionate about.  Once a kid discovers a passion they have instantly added a positive value to their own life, they’re now off and running with they’re own ideas.  And a kid with an idea is powerful thing…”


What has inspired you to start Rivard Art education?

I’ve been fortunate enough in the past to be invited to speak at a couple of schools around the world and those were some of the most fulfilling experience I’ve been apart of as an artist.  The first school I had ever been to was a high school in Dienze, Belgium, I was invited to speak about the differences between American and European Youth and Pop Cultures.  I was in Belgium doing an art show and a friend, who was a teacher there, thought I would be a good compliment to her current study of American Cultures.  It was a true honor and the response from the students was incredible.  I was also graciously invited into an all boys’ Muslim school in town called Al Kohr just outside of Doha, Qatar, in the Middle East.  I started to realize that through my art and my story I had a positive message to spread.  That message was in a way it’s own internationally and culturally recognizable language, the values were relatable through cultural barriers.

After the 2011 campaign I received an email from a local elementary teacher stating that I was an artist her school was going to being featuring and studying over the course of their school year.  I responded and told her that I was honored and would love to stop by and say hello to the students.  We got to talking and essentially created the Rivard Art Education, which had its first official run as a five-day residency at Liberty Ridge Elementary in Woodbury, Minnesota.  From there it has snowballed into national and even international interest with offers to visit schools, conferences’, and seminars as far as India!  I have a lot of appreciation for the support and insights that a few key teachers and educators have provided me in getting Rivard Art Education off the ground.  Tess Soucheray, Jill Brown, Jessica Frisco, Lorelli Byrne, Shannon Opichka, and Joanne Toft were all key’s to inception and success of the program and they deserve so much appreciation for their efforts in helping me get this going.  Thank you!


I know I would be psyched if you had come to my school, how could kids/schools get involved?

You can contact me through my website:!  There are so many ways and ideas for incorporating the program!

A new level of class.

Are you still working as an artist and creating those amazing Sharpie decks we have come to love?

Absolutely!  My time spent actually creating has been challenged with the birth of all these new projects, but at the end of the day I still find myself sitting down and sketching out skateboards…  I’m an artist all the time, you can’t shake that…

What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2012?

The rest of this year and going into 2013 are looking busy.  I have a number of schools I’m going to be visiting and the program is turning into a full time job.  One project I am super excited about is an opportunity to work with Brunswick High School in Virginia.  We are doing a project where I will hand deliver 100 skateboards to the school to and be making art with the students for a few days there.  It was a project that hit near and dear to me when I learned of the high school.  They had approached me about making a visit and after a lot of brainstorming we came to the conclusion that there was simply not enough funding for the trip.  The teacher had talked to me about her schools budget for the art department and I thought I had to help in some way.  Instead of giving up I proposed a challenge to the school, and to myself, to raise the money and make, what I’ve since branded as “The Virginia Project” a reality.  The ultimate goal of what I do is to prove that you can do anything in life you put your mind to, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to prove that.  So in January of 2013 I will be going to Virginia to spend a week with the students of Brunswick High School!  I’ll also be visiting schools in Ohio, Colorado, and all over my home base of Minnesota with more opportunities coming up daily!

Where can we find you? :

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

And be sure to “Like” the Rivard Art Education page on Facebook as well as Rivard Art Inc.!

Talk about having the coolest teacher EVER?!  Mark Rivard just won’t quit making his mark and we just love him for it!

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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?






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Tseng Signs Sharpie

The March 7, 2011 Sports Illustrated Gold Plus issue features a young golfer by the name of Yani Tseng.

Yani is quickly dominating the world of women’s golf with three major titles under her belt (Kraft’s Nabisco Championship, Women’s British Open and the LGPA Championship), not to mention currently No. 1 in the Rolex World Rankings.

S.I., takes you into the mind of the young athlete, with Tseng herself as the author of the article. With brilliant photography by Scott Halleran, readers also get a vivid shot of the golfer at an LPGA of Taiwan event. Surrounded by fans and admirers, Tseng signs autographs using a Sharpie marker with the utmost sincere expression of joy on her face. 

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Sharpie Leaves its Mark @ Daytona

The races may be over - Engines off, cars covered, pit crews at home, racing tees folded & put away for next year…  So what’s left of the Daytona 500? SIGNATURES! Signatures, upon thousands of signatures – in Sharpie ink!

Take a look at these pictures from Nascar’s FOX Orlando gallery, of fans signing the Start/Finish line before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 20th.

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Gear Up for College Gameday

Can you smell it?!  The sweet scent of the NCAA  is in the air!  Today I got some inspiration to write about showing off your team’s colors and what better way to gear up than to make a one of a kind piece of apparel to show off?

This morning,  Sharpie’s senior brand manager, Ben asked if I had any college apparel that I’d made with Sharpie markers lying around.  Surprisingly enough, I don’t have anything conveniently stored at my desk, but I did have something else:  1 Plain White T-Shirt and a handful of Sharpie markers.  And of course, like every responsible sports fan, the ability to draw my alma mater’s mascot like a pro.

This took all of 30 minutes this morning and I hope that it stirs up a little inspiration in you to make a Game Day tee of your own. If you’re not good at drawing, tracing is man’s best friend – courtesy of Word Art, I printed out letters, put them under the t-shirt and traced “Rock Chalk.”

(Please pardon the wrinkles. We needed a Sharpie sports tee this morning and needed one fast – This one was crammed in a filing cabinet.)



On the topic of Gameday, we’ve also got a great How-To video for customizing a Bean Bag Toss set found on Sharpie’s YouTube page. 


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Bring on the Heat!

At 9:27 p.m. on July 8th the top three free agents in the professional basketball league officially joined forces when LeBron James announced his decision to play for the Miami Heat, with his buds & now teammates, to essentially form a superpower dream team, or the Three Kings as some have coined the trio.  A momentous occasion indeed!

Taken from

What does this have to do with Sharpie? — Sharpie will be front and center TONIGHT at The HEAT Summer of 2010 Welcome Event celebrating Dwyane Wade’s return to the team, and to introduce Chris Bosh and LeBron James to the South Florida family.  This once in a lifetime celebration is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. at the AmericanAirlines Arena with Live statewide TV coverage on FOX.  FOX Sports Florida will provide exclusive live coverage of the press conference, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET - Sharpie holding literally the best seat in the house!  At the press conference, all three allstars will be fully equipped with Sharpie Pens to lay down their signatures on to what could be the most important document ever to be laid in front of them… THEIR HEAT CONTRACTS!  Wade, James and Bosh will then autograph photographs that will be framed along with their respective Sharpie Pens.  The autographed photos & mounted Sharpie Pens will later be auctioned off to charity.

We will be posting exclusive footage from the event – so Stay Tuned!  Look out for the Sharpie Stainless Steel markers tonight and pick one up for yourself so that you can Uncap What’s Inside & bring the HEAT just like Chris Bosh, Lebron James & Dwyane Wade!

Uncap  What’s Inside

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Congratulations Chicago Blackhawks!

*I recommend playing the video below as you read this post for the full effect.

Chicago Blackhawks WIN Stanley Cup Finals

CONGRATULATIONS Chicago Blackhawks!!

 The Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night to win the Stanley Cup Finals in Game 6, the first championship for Chicago since 1961.  Patrick Kane sneaked the puck past Michael Leighton lifting the Hawks into a 4-3 overtime win!  What an awesome victory for such an stellar team!  Way to Go Hawks!!!