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Well I’ll be a Sharpie’s Uncle!

Artists have all different quirks, types of personalities and styles, hence such creativity and self-expression!  For instance, maybe you’re  the shy-pensive photographer, or perhaps you know a  moody- heart broken sculptor, how about those out-of-the-box, off the wall painters (Warhol anyone?).  The list can go on and on… but by chance, have you heard of The Gross Uncle?  In short, The Gross Uncle encompasses all sorts of personality and talent beyond compare (see question 3 for an accurate formula).  Unfortunately for you, Fortunately for him, there is and can be only ONE “Gross Uncle.”  Let me introduce you to him.. 

Grant Gilliland, artist, uncle and super model

Grant Gilliland: Artist, Uncle, Super Model

 

 Grant Gilliland aka “The Gross Uncle” is a cartoonist and illustrator with a style COMPLETELY his own.  One cool aspect about this artist is that at your request he will put his Sharpie marker to work, sketching anything you wish and ship it out to you for a measly 20 bucks!! (One-of-a-kind art? Yes please!  Placing my order as we stare at monitors) Turning a cool hobby into a career, Gilliland strives to enjoy life, have fun and create work that he loves, while being confident in all that he does.  Combining big talent with an even bigger personality, this young artist has a long and successful road ahead of him.  Let’s dive right into it and find out more about this Sharpie artist…   

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 Tell me about yourself!    Hello! My name is Grant Gilliland; I have a blog called “The Gross Uncle” and I love to draw and make things.  I spend the majority of my time drawing cartoons and illustrations for all sorts of reasons…sometimes for clients, sometimes just for fun.  I am based in San Francisco, originally from Ohio, a place where I spent a great deal of time playing and being creative.  As I recall, I also went to high school there, but really all I remember is skateboarding and making funny home movies with my friends.  I also enjoy coffee, bike riding, daydreaming about absurd images, scouring the web for inspiration, and meeting new people.  How did you get started as an artist?  What kind of experience do you have?   I started my artistic career in my high chair, cranking out crayon-styled depictions of geometric cars, amorphous birds, and freakishly proportioned people. I would probably stop a minute to spit up or scream some gibberish towards the sky, then after wiping my face and getting something to drink, it was back to work… Come to think of it, not much has changed since then…besides the fact that I use a regular chair now. 

 When I was a little older, I took art classes after school and then once I got too cool (air quotes) for those, I started making comics with some of my friends.  I went to The Columbus College of Art & Design in 2001 and got super-inspired there - It’s when I started to take art a bit more seriously. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Illustration, I balanced a part-time job as a barista with freelance work.  I started getting my feet wet and figuring out my style and eventually met up with my agent, Scott Hull in 2007.  I am still pretty new to the world of freelance illustration and am looking forward to what things I am inspired to make in the future.    

 

Gilliland's work displayed at an art show

Gilliland's work displayed at an art show

 How would you describe your personal style?  This personal style recipe yields one to two editorial illustrations, one overworked 4×4 painting and about half a dozen blog posts with too much writing, it serves an infinite number of portions if rationed correctly. 

  • 1/2 cup of season 1 Ren & Stimpy mix
  • 4 tsp of Surrealism
  • 1 page of The Maxx comic book, shredded
  • 2 small vinyl figures from Kid Robot (under $40), massaged in oil
  • 1 Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge (Sega Genesis), quartered and cut into large pieces
  • Pictoplasma to taste
  • 1 pot strong black coffee
  • sarcasm to taste

Directions:  Mix in a blender. Pour over a 4 year art-school education, slowly adding strong black coffee to the batter, while playing a post-punk mixtape in the background. Sprinkle sarcasm over the condensed result. Let bake in the California sun for four years, and enjoy.  

SharpiemanWhere do you draw inspiration from?  I spend a lot of time absorbing podcasts, YouTube videos, music, comedy albums, you name it… I just like hearing creative material from people.  If there is a sense that they know what they’re doing and have their own voice, usually I’m game to listen.  I get in these modes where I get into a certain podcast and just listen to it nonstop…even if I don’t really like it all that much or wouldn’t want someone to walk in on me listening to it.  I will go into the archives and listen to the whole thing – sometimes I will listen to the same episode several times.  I guess I’m sort of sponge-like when it comes to most things…sometimes vaguely loofa-like, but rarely.  How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?  What is your favorite Sharpie?!   I like the way Sharpie markers make a nice strong line.  I have used other pens in the past, but I always ended up coming back to Sharpie for their consistent quality.  I love the way they draw on laser jet photo paper…so smooth!  I like the regular fine-point Sharpie marker…I have about two dozen lying around at any given time. 

 Where did you come up with the idea to sell $20 Sharpie drawings?  How does this work?  wanted to sell something on my blog that was affordable and fun for me to make.  The cool thing about doing these drawings is that I get to post them on the blog and say who they are for and where they are being mailed.  People seem to like the idea, and each drawing is made just for them. Also, it’s really helped me loosen up…the more people that order the drawings, the better they will get because of all the great drawing practice I’m getting. All you need to do to get your own is email me at seegrantdraw@yahoo.com and ask! I am open to creative suggestions and I will gladly draw your dog. 

What children’s books have you illustrated for?   Just one.  The book is called “Theo” and there is a blog where you can check the whole thing out (http://theobook.blogspot.com).  The book was conceived and written by the talented author Kentucky Lim.  We are planning a whole series of books together.    

Theo

So tell me, do you have a gross uncle or are you the Gross Uncle?  Maybe I should just ask this: Where did you come up with the name for your blog? 

 I him!  He me!  We be me!

…Actually, the whole alias came about one summer when I was thinking about how great and sneaky it would be to have this “alter ego” that I could get extra illustration work as.  So there’s Grant with his cute little round style and then there’s The Gross Uncle with his bizarre, awkward, hairy drawings…and all the time it’s just one guy.  I basically scrapped the idea when I decided to use the name for my blog, so I just ended up mixing elements from the two styles over time.  Nowadays, The Gross Uncle moniker gets used the most when I participate in gallery shows…seems to fit…and it’s easier to say than my last name.   

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If you could design for any one person who would it be? Why?  I would design for the auto-tune machine because that’s the most popular singer these days.  Other than that, I have made a character design for my friend Donny Papermaker…he’s pretty famous on the YouTube nation. 

 I’m curious…What do you think is the “funniest looking appendage” and why?  Great question! I like the nose. That’s an appendage, right?  There are just so many great ways to make a nose…you can abstract it and add all sorts of funny joints and angles and planes that shouldn’t be there and it can really add a lot in terms of visual punch.  If your drawing is looking real good, then you could put a blue nose on a guy and it could work. 

Laser Portrait

Hippie Style

Tattoos

Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?  I’m finally getting back around to working on a cartoon show called “Touch Base with Gregg Sween.”  The show is basically a cartoon version of a daytime talk show…it started out as a puppet show that my friend Patrick Kouse and I did last summer.  We performed the whole show live at Fivepoints Arthouse in San Francisco – we only did it twice. We haven’t touched it for a year and now I think it’s time for us to get back in touch with our inner thespians (cue laughter here).   

Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?  Yes. Can you direct me to the Instant Sharpie Replacement Hotline?  That would be nice.  I’d put it on speed dial and then a Sharpie representative can send new pens to my house in 2-3 business days. You accept drawings as payment, right?  (Grant, you can reach me (the Sharpie Rep) at 1-800 illlosemyjob) -cue sarcasm here : )   

 

 Do you have any advice for other young artists? It’s always important to be into what you’re doing for the fun of it.  No matter what circumstances you are under in life, fun plays a major role.  Just being in a good mood can really negate and remove (even permanently) any real or perceived obstacles in life.  Also just keep the world up to date on what you’re doing…post blog entries about it, take progress pictures, share…being active is more important than being really good.What do you hope for in 2010?  There are some major projects that I hope to finish either this year or next…patience can be tough.  Honestly, just to be happy and satisfied with life sounds nice…to be happy with whatever I am working on without doubting it and to spend the rest of my time playing.  

He desgins shoes too!

 

  

Find out more about how Grant Uncaps What’s Inside on his website: www.seegrantdraw.com

Check out Grant’s blog: www.thegrossuncle.com!

Want more? Follow him on Twitter and take a look at more of his art on Flickr

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Yes We Canvas!

Deciding on a new piece of art can be intimidating, yes, but what if I told you that you had the option to pick out EXACTLY what you wanted.  You could tailor your art to fit exactly your needs.  We’re talking size, shape, color, patterns… Forget about spending countless hours, days, months hunting for one specific piece, not to mention you wouldn’t have to break the bank to get this art.  Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me!

Well with the new year comes new opportunity, so why not start off 2010 by hanging a one-of-a-kind “(YOUR NAME HERE)” art work on your wall that actually looks pretty spectacular!  All you will need are plain white canvases (it’s up to you how many), Sharpie markers and a bit of creativity and imagination to create art that will update any space!

An option to make this DIY project a bit easier for those who may be intimidated – just do what I did - hunt around online and search for patterns that you like and can recreate.  I found my pattern online and used an assortment of Sharpie permanent markers in Red, Navy Blue, Green and Yellow to draw on plain white, hard wood canvases (see pics below) to make my Sharpie wall art.  The great part about this is that your options are endless – you can choose to make one giant piece, several small canvases, or collect an assortment of sizes.  With so many different Sharpie colors to choose from, when it comes to color and design the choice is completely yours!

Sharpie markers used

Sharpie markers used

Reverse side of canvases

Reverse side of canvases

…What do you think?

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*Another great thing about canvas art is how free your are to arrange the pieces until you figure out what works best for you.  Have fun with it!

Do you have any Sharpie art work that you’ve made?  Share it with us on our Facebook Page or post it to SharpieUncapped!

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Sharpie Seasonal Style

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Bored with your plain old laptop cover?  Well, not anymore!  You can design one just like this using Sharpie markers.  Susan Wassel (Sharpie PR/Social Media) has come up with a creative and inexpensive way to design interchangeable laptop art with packing tape and Sharpie markers!   Susan uses her favorite snowflake stencil, provided by the one and only Stencil 1, to give her personal computer a seasonal touch!  Watch as she takes you through the quick and easy step-by-step process!

 

Share your thoughts and all the ways you use your Sharpie markers to make your everyday objects stand out!

Vist SharpieUncapped.com to get more seasonal tips to make your holiday one to remember!

UNWRAP What’s Inside This Holiday Season With Sharpie!!

Happy Holidays!

Follow @Sharpiesusan on Twitter and become a Fan of Sharpie on Facebook!

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GIFTWrap What’s Inside

big art champagne

Embarrassing as it may be, I took a wonderful piece of wisdom away from one of “the Girls Next Door,” Bridget Marquardt.  While it has nothing to do with romping around the Playboy mansion with Hef, it does relate to taking pride in your work.  You see, in one episode, Bridget explained that when giving a present, she finds the importance in not only the present itself but the overall presentation as well (aka the wrapping)!

As a victim of receiving unappealing gift-wrap, (ie: a brown paper bag with “Happy Birthday” written boldly in green Sharpie over the grocery store name) I fully believe in this concept.  You should always take pride in anything and everything that you associate yourself with and put your name on.  “Lazy” gift wrapping doesn’t send the message you want (unless you plan to leave it on someone’s front door step in flames - wink, wink) nor does it reflect positively on you, the gifter!  Something like grocer gift-wrap tells me, you either A) Forgot B) Did this in the car C) Don’t care all too much about me or D) All of the above.  It may seem to be asking a lot but it really isn’t difficult to put a little creativity, personality, at least some into wrapping a present! 

Before you scoff at me, here is a perfect example of simple and thoughtful wrapping that has been created by a veteran to the Sharpie Blog, Brian Graves.  Brian was previously featured for his Sharpie art work at the J Bar in Chicago in a post entitled, “BIG Sharpie Art.”  Today, however Brian shares his take on gift wrapping… 

Attending a benefit this month, Champagne Wrap-ture 2009, this BIG artist designed his own wrapping on faux alligator paper from a local paper store with just 2 Sharpie Chisel Tip Permanent Markers!  Overlapping different quotes about France, champagne and style, Graves created this beautiful presentation to house a bottle of champagne. (Thank you for sharing  Brian!) Take a closer look..

What you need to recreate this beautiful gift-wrap:  

  1. Assorted Sharpies (black plus another color works well)
  2. Plain paper
  3. Ribbon
  4. Literacy (you’ve made it this far so guess what…)

BG Art 3

BIG Art 4

BG Art 2

With these same materials here are a few other inspirations created by our very own Phil Ginnodo (Associate Creative Director). Thanks Phil!

Happy Holidays green paperRed and White wrapping paper

Red paper plain gift tag

And so, if I may ask one thing of you, my Sharpie enthusiasts, this holiday season pleeease don’t be THAT person gifting poorly wrapped presents.  After all the hard work you put into choosing the perfect present why stop short?  Wrap that baby up and let it stand out as the envy of all the other gifts!

How are you adding a personal touch to gift wrap this season?

UNWRAP what’s inside this Holiday with Sharpie!

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You’ve Been Framed!

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A go-to of mine for years as a great gift for the holidays is a framed picture.  Gifting in different ways, whether it’s a scrap book, collage, an engraved picture frame, restoring an old photo or just putting a fun picture in pretty frame found at a store, pictures are always a great gift.

Here is an easy and inexpensive way to add an even more personal touch to this classic holiday gift.  With a plain picture frame, a few Sharpie markers and some stencils (take a look at www.Stencil1.com) you can make a unique gift, tailored to your loved one’s interest.

This video gives step-by-step instructions on how to make the pictured music themed frame and matching card, featuring (drum roll please..) ME! :) Whitney Kelly (Sharpie PR/Social Media) or as some of you know me @SharpieWhit! (Be kind, please! @SharpieSusan and I made this at work one afternoon. This also my producing, editing, creating, “hosting,” etc…debut. I hope you like it!)

Send in your holiday ideas to SharpieUncapped.com where you can share photos and more tips & tricks to make your mark this season!

Keep visiting the Sharpie Blog all month long for more holiday how-to’s with Sharpie markers!

UNWRAP What’s Inside this Holiday with Sharpie!

~Happy Holidays~

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Unwrap What’s Inside this Holiday with Sharpie

Sharpie Holiday ImageIn the spirit of the season, throughout the month of December we will be showing you how Sharpie makes its mark on holiday gift-giving,  decorating, organizing and more!  Through all sorts of how-to videos and pictorals, we will take you through the step-by-step DIY process and show you the tools you’ll need to add a personal touch to the holidays!

Below you will find a list of 25 ways to utilize Sharpie markers to put a creative twist on all of your gift giving, decorating and organizational needs.  Come back and visit to see the how-to videos and pictorals all month long!  Happy Holidays!

1 Think Beyond a White (as well as Red and Green) Christmas – Holiday décors are getting a colorful makeover this December.  Mix it up this year with unique Sharpie marker color combos.  Re-vamp ornaments, paper goods, tree trim and more using Sharpie markers in Magenta and Lime, Turquoise and Red, Berry and Pomegranate.  Kick it up a notch with color and let Sharpie transform white to bright.

bells2 Tacky Times TwoThrow a tacky-themed holiday party, encouraging guests to come up with their most ridiculous holiday outfits.  Customize holiday sweaters, suspenders, ties, socks and more with Sharpie markers and create a look distinctly your own.  Get twice the tacky with Sharpie Twin Tip markers offering both fine and ultra-fine tips in one marker. 

3 Green-A-Ling– Create your very own flower pot bell ornament for the tree using Sharpie paint markers. Color small terra-cotta flowerpots (available at your local craft store) and let dry.  Personalize the pots with stars, bows, berries and other fun holiday designs.  Thread ribbon (or wire) through the drainage hole to make a loop for hanging.  Loop another ribbon inside the pot and attach a bell.

4 My Tube Choose from among Sharpie’s 34 bold colors to decorate a roll of solid-colored wrapping paper (tissue, crepe, foil, vellum, craft paper – gift bags too).  Use a stencil or cookie cutter and trace a hand, shoe, leaf, key or other object to create a personalized motif.   Tip:  Use the wrapping paper tube as a gift box to hold kids’ artwork; wrap the tube using your new Sharpie “signature” gift wrap and ship to packagesGrandma.

5 Sharp Cookie Give the gift that won’t get lost – Sharpie personalized markers imprinted with the name and icon of your choice on the marker barrel.   Smart shoppers give personalized Sharpie markers to friends, family, teachers, postmen, milkmen, hairdressers, receptionists, babysitters, pet walkers, Girl Scout troops, Bunko groups, golf buddies, favorite baristas and more!  For a stocking stuffer with a personal touch, go to www.mysharpie.com to order. 

6 Sharp Bookie Sharpie-created bookmarks are a good bet for gift-giving.  Make your mark by doodling the usual suspects – dogs, stars, hearts, swirls – or exercise your inner artist and take a stab at recreating art from one of the masters (go online to download inspirations).  Tip:  Use the Sharpie marker itself as the bookmark.  Just clip to the page! 

xmas tree7 Keeper Cards Design your own “keeper card.”  Use Sharpie markers to create personalized greeting cards, the kind that won’t wind up in the waste basket.   Kids can create personalized cards for classmates.  Kids tip:  Whip up a mod mosaic in minutes by holding a bundle of Sharpie markers in your hand and drawing circles on circles.

8 Card Jar – Keep track of cards in a holiday-themed box or jar decorated with Sharpie markers.  Use a glass or acrylic box/jar and decorate with these holiday-inspired themes in mind: candy canes, twinkly lights, mistletoe, silver bells.   *Make smaller containers for gift receipts and recipes.

9 Tree Hugger – Write your child’s name in Sharpie marker on a small silver or gold bell.  Help them find a spot on the tree and let them give the bell a ring each night before bedtime to make a holiday wish.  This will become a favorite holiday tradition.

10 Table That The Stay-cation travel trend is continuing into the holidays.  Use time at home around the table to create one-of-a-kind holiday gifts with Sharpie markers. (2011 UPDATE: Check out Stained by Sharpie fabric markers to make your mark in your festive fanfare)  Embellish socks, t-shirts, sneakers, headbands, belts, backpacks, aprons, picture frames and more.  Kids can make special keepsakes for mom; teens can get creative and add their favorite expressions.  Mom tip:  Create a family of matching tees or sweatshirts – one for everyone in the brood.    snowflake

11 A+ in Gift Giving Send your kids to school with a present teachers can really use – school supplies!  Place an assortment of Sharpie markers in a large soup can covered in plain white paper and decorated with Sharpie markers.  Wrap it up, top with a festive bow and take your seat at the head of the class.

12 Santa‘s Sharpie Make a list and check it twice with the Sharpie Pen.  The newest addition to the Sharpie family, the Sharpie Pen doesn’t bleed through paper and is perfect for all your holiday writing needs – and it’s now available in a retractable version!  Use it for list-making, note-cards, gift tags, journal writing, work and school – and don’t forget that important letter to Santa!  Make your mark with the Sharpie Pen in black, blue, orange, red, green, or purple (2011 UPDATE: NOW available in Coral, Turquoise, Clover and Hot Pink!).stocking

13 Stock Up Instead of paying to have names embroidered on holiday stockings, this year buy some white felt and create your own colorful, unique version using Sharpie markers.   Stock the stocking with Sharpie markers to make a permanent impression.

14 Draw The Line – Pick up a copy of your favorite holiday classic at a used book store and carefully remove a page.  Sketch or trace an image right over the print to make a beautiful greeting card, wall decoration, or holiday embellishment.  Laminate or frame your page to preserve for next year. 

15 A Little Flakey Create a cost-saving winter wonderland by making do-it-yourself snowflakes. Decorate paper with the colors of the season or stay monochromatic with Sharpie Metallic Permanent marker.  Color then fold and cut into snowflake shapes.

16 Made Not Manufactured Show family and friends how thankful you are for their gifts with homemade, colorful thank-you cards. Design one card with Sharpie markers and make copies to save gingermoney on store-bought versions.

17 Tag You’re It Let loved ones see how truly personal the gift they are receiving is with a one-of-a- kind gift tag.  Liven up your present by adding your own unique way of stating “To” and “From” on a square of card stock.  Tie a Sharpie MINI marker to your tag for the gift tag that keeps on giving.

18 Take A Shine What better way to top off the perfect holiday gift than with a Stainless Steel Sharpie Permanent Marker.  Add a little extra sophistication and shine to your gift by attaching the Stainless Steel Sharpie with its refillable cartridge and etched logo on the barrel to the top of the package — the perfect complement to your Sharpie Metallic Permanent marker custom-designed gift wrap. 

19 Ring in the Bling Use a Sharpie Metallic silver marker to ring in the New Year.  Add some bling by creating a silver celebration of party ware – decorate glassware, placemats, votive holders, candlesticks, party hats, favors and more.  Tip:  Use a paper tablecloth and give guests a pack of Sharpie markers as table favors so they can write their resolutions as they count down the New Year.  sleigh

20 Wax PoeticThinking about throwing out those old candle sticks?  Why not bring new life to them with Sharpie markers.  Use a Sharpie marker and cover them with script writing of your favorite poetic verses.  Combine with Sharpie Metallic silver accents and display year-round. 

21 Holiday Calendar Countdown – With a ruler, cardstock and Sharpie markers, draw out a calendar.  Find small holiday ornaments and trinkets around the house (buttons, pins, last year’s holiday card cut-outs – any small embellishment) and stick magnets onto the back of each.  Hang your calendar on refrigerator and use your magnetic ornaments to count down the days of your holiday season!

22 Pen The Perfect Present Assemble a gift box full of Sharpie Pens (in all six colors – black, blue, red, green, orange, purple).  Top the gift off with several sheets of pretty stationery, perfect for the art enthusiast with a penchant for the age-old art of letter writing. 

23 You’ve Been Framed Bring life to a plain white picture frame by doodling inspiring words around the edges in black Sharpie marker.  Insert a black-and-white photo for an elegant holiday gift.  Attach a matching hand-made gift tag with a thoughtful message.  Write your note in red with a Sharpie marker to give the gift a little pop!

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24 For Keep Sake! Start a holiday memories book.  As the holidays wind down, pass around a book of blank pages and have your family take turns writing a special holiday message.  What was your favorite moment or memory?  Best present? What are you thankful for?  Build a collection of wonderful memories and create a keepsake that can be shared for generations to come. 

25 Ahead of the Pack Once the holidays are over, it is important to organize all of your decorations, ornaments, lights, etc. so things don’t get lost or forgotten.  Label boxes with Sharpie markers and store them away neatly.  Pack smart with Sharpie and spend time with family and friends instead!

Share your Holiday sharpie creations and tips with us too! What are your favorite ways to use your Sharpie markers during the Holidays?

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Unwrap What’s Inside!

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Go ahead, Uncap a Sharpie

“Uncap What’s Inside” … We throw it around a lot but what exactly does it mean?

I’m not going to give you Webster’s version, instead, here’s my own… To Uncap What’s Inside means to let your true colors show; to express yourself, to let your personality and creativity out and embrace what makes you, YOU!  At Sharpie, we believe that these markers and pens can help people express themselves creatively, turning the everyday into one-of-a-kind works of art – something uniquely your own! 

Here is a perfect example of a 12 year old girl who has taken this phrase to heart and has done just that – she Uncapped What’s Inside of her!

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12 year old Maddie Chaffer of Grand Rapids, Michigan is an avid Beatles fan and wanted to stand out from the crowd when entering 7th grade.  With an assortment of Sharpies, she “Yellow Submarined” her trombone and will certainly stand out from the crowd with her MaddieC. Original musical instrument! 

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Thanks for sharing your idea with us Maddie! Way to Uncap!

Get out your Sharpie and see what you can do!  

Upload your pics to the Gallery at SharpieUncapped.com

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The Character Behind Character Design

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Meet Character Designer and new favorite Sharpie artist, Marc Perry!  I hunted down this amazing artist and all around great guy through good ‘ol Google a while back.  When I came across his blog, I found that he draws TONS of Sharpie doodles and posts them write to his own site www.studio5.blogspot.com.  This immediatley sparked my interest and I had to know who was the character behind such creativity!

Marc’s passion for style in design and exploring new and different ideas keeps things new and fresh in terms of animation, personal art and personal projects.  You may recognize this artist’s work from several popular animated television series including Ren & Stimpy, Johnny Bravo and Tiny Toon Adventures. 

Get to know Marc Perry, the person and the artist, and take a closer look at a collection his Sharpie renderings, right here on the Sharpie blog!  Here’s some background info on MP to get things rollin’…

Born and raised in North Carolina, Marc Perry started drawing at a young age, right around 3 or 4. Influenced by many different artists and styles, very much so by cartoon and animation, Perry uprooted to Southern California to work as a Character Designer in animation. 

boyWhen did you first realize you were an artist? I guess the first time was back in early elementary school.  I was always drawing and creating characters, cars, jets, spaceships and creatures from my imagination or getting inspiration from magazines and books.  I even started selling some of my drawings to classmates and making special pieces for my friends.

Many years later, while working in retail before my animation career, I discovered that one of my coworkers, an old classmate, had bought one of my drawings and still had it after so many years! *Just a bit of trivia here, one of my tattoos is a character from a major influence of mine and is a tribute to him and the inspiration his work gave me.

When was your first big break?  My first big break, I think was an opportunity offered to me by Paul Strickland (which I will always appreciate and never forget).  Briefly, the story goes like this…Once Upon a Time… No really, it was like this –-  I was working in a completely unrelated field, yet had always been drawing and tried on numerous occasions to get into animation unsuccessfully.  I made a call to Warner Bros. looking for the animation department and was connected to Paul Strickland with whom I spoke about my dream of working in animation since I was a kid.  Paul was attached as a line producer to a new show called Tiny Toon Adventures and said a new director was coming on and in need of an assistant.  To make a long story short, I made the trip to LA on the possibility of this job, was hired started that very day, which looking back now was some 20 years ago.

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I want to know all about how you started using Sharpie markers as one of your primary sketching and drawing mediums!  For many years now, Sharpie markers have been one of my primary drawing and sketching tools in character design, concept and development sketching.  The story of how I first started using Sharpie goes something like this…

When my daughter was born I found it difficult to use my usual medium, Prismacolor colored pencils or Tombo pencils, both of which require sharpening.  Since I wasn’t able to use my sharpener due to the noise, I needed to find a quiet replacement.  I found that a black Sharpie marker and heavy laser print quality paper were the ideal combination.  The Sharpie was great for line quality and the paper wouldn’t cause the ink to bleed (*Sounds like he could’ve used a Sharpie Pen, it doesn’t bleed through paper!).  The Sharpie helped me to improve my drawing technique as it’s lack of erasability made me plan ahead to what and how I was going to draw.  The permanent ink aspect was great because I was able to do colored marker comps. directly on the drawings without bleeding or smudging.

I also found that the use of a whiteout pen would allow me to make line corrections without changing the overall drawing, its look or its feel, which sometimes happens when cleaning up a drawing. 

What is your work environment like?  My work environment usually is at an animation desk, with an animation disc or at a large art table where I have access to paper, markers, paint and inspirational sources, such as books, art, and drawings.

3 things that must be within an arms length at work:

  1. Paper (laser print quality or newsprint sketch paper).
  2. Sharpie fine point markers, wide chisel tip markers, Tombo markers and my whiteout pen.
  3. Basic colored markers and pencils for working up quick doodle colors or comp. ideas.

manI read that you designed a character after your daughter.  Have you modeled any others after people in your life? How do you come up with them?

The best way I could describe how I come up with characters is by doodling with shapes, playing with different postures and adding features that help to represent the type, size, shape, attitude among other incidental features that give the character personality.  Most of the time, when I work on shows, it usually calls for creating characters for a special scene or episode based on a set style.  It is fun and challenging to create memorable characters that stand out.

With the new technology that’s out there today, what has been the most difficult part of keeping up with changes in animation?

Technology, software programs and new drawing mediums, such as the Wacom Tablet and Cintiq have changed how a great deal of production is done.  The addition of these tools and software has, for the most part, made things cleaner to work with and less wasteful, as far as materials go.  Changes and Effects, for instance, can be done very quickly and with fewer staff. 

On the other side, things have become more specialized or technical, especially with the creation of CG where people are experts of specific areas.  CG has been a boom to the entertainment industry and has allowed characters and worlds to take on a whole new reality.  With the advancement continuing and now the popularity of 3D in theaters, it appears that the old artistry of hand creation has been lost and the new generation will know nothing of traditional animation or that what they see now is only advancement do in thanks to computers and technological developments.

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 I imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands of elements that go into TV/Film. What specifics are you involved in? As a Character Designer, I am responsible for the creation of characters, both main and incidental, that will be used in the animation.  Sometimes the Character Designer will create the props that will be used in the animation as well.

In my last few productions, I have been involved with Visual and Concept Development, and following that through into Art Direction.

What are the best/worst parts about your job? I would honestly say that there really isn’t a worst part, it’s more the nature of the Television and Film Entertainment industry.  Those in “The Industry” know first hand that it isn’t your usual steady 9-5 job.  There are those lucky times where you can get connected with a show/series that has a long run with little to no down time, but that’s usually not the standard.  More often than not, you work on a show or series for a specified number of episodes; once those are completed there’s usually some down time or a hopefully brief layoff period until there is a decision regarding additional pickup. 

Sometimes, when multiple shows are in production you can be reassigned to another series if needed and could fit the style.  Most of the time, however, towards the end of a series you begin scrambling and searching for a new a new show to be a part of.  So, I suppose the feeling of instability, then, would be the “worst” part of my job, or the industry as a whole. 

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Now, the best part of my job – It’s a lot of fun and satisfying to be able to use specific talents and abilities and to have a career in entertaining yourself and others.  Whatever parts of the industry you work in, I think there is a certain pride you take in your work, both as an individuals and part of a collaborative team, bringing fun and entertainment to an audience.

 As a Character Designer, I have fun creating new and different characters all the time from my imagination and seeing them come to life.  As a Visual Concept Designer and Art Director, the enjoyment is creating new and imaginative characters and environments and then overseeing the visual creative process through to completion.

 

Can you tell me about what you’re working on now?  Currently, I am working on personal projects and development for my own show and series ideas.  I’m also working on ways to branch off into areas where I can produce and sell my non-animation art commercially through products, merchandise, books, or through selected galleries.

Do you have any goals that you’re working toward? I think the biggest goal for most of us in animation or as artists, for that matter, is just working and making a living.  You always have goals; it’s part of human nature, yet for artists it is usually not easy to obtain many of the ones you dream of unless everything just happens to fall into place.  I have always had big dreams and the desire to work at obtaining them, many, I can happily say, have come true and are not even art related. 

Basic CMYKLooking back, knowing what you know now, what would you want to 10 yr old Marc Perry to know?  This may come as a surprise, but….I would probably tell him to choose another career path other than art!  Being an athlete my whole life, I would probably suggest picking a sport where I could become a professional or at least use that talent to get a scholarship to a University for something in the medical field, such as becoming a surgeon, where I could use my hands and eyes for something greater!

Favorite Sharpie: The one I wrote the draft to answer these questions, a black Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker.  I have used these for so many character designs and concept designs, I can’t even recall.

Favorite Characters: Good question, hard to answer.  My style influence is classically based on the designers of the ’50s (stylistic and disgnee) and Retro, as it is referred to as now (flat and stylistic).  So, I would say my favorites are characters, yes, but more importantly are my favorite designers of character design.  Most of these people have been and continue to be my inspiration for many and different reasons.  Here are a few:

  • Ed Benedict
  • Tom Oreb
  • Ward Kimball
  • Mary Blair
  • Hawley Pratt
  • Bill Hurt
  • John Hubley
  • Gene Deitch
  • Jack Cole
  • Eric Sokol
  • Eldon Dedini
  • Miroslav Sasek
  • Aurelius Battaglia
  • Ed “Big Daddy” Roth

The last thing I’d Like to share is… To be able to do what I do, turning something you love and would do for free into a career is great!  To bring that fun and entertainment to others is something I think a lot of people in the industry enjoy.  I’d also like to add a word of thanks to the people who have enjoyed some of the work I’ve done and hopefully will continue doing for a long time.  I thank you all.  It’s all appreciated.  A special Thanks to Whitney Kelly who found my work and invited me to share. Best! MPerry.

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Thank YOU Marc, for this incredible interview and all the great art you produce!  Be sure to visit Mr. MP at his very own site for more of his work and info!  www.studio5.blogspot.com.

*Uploaded your favorite Sharpie pics onto the Sharpie Uncapped Gallery.

*Become a Fan of Sharpie on Facebook!

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BIG Sharpie Art

Looking At North Forty One West Eighty Seven Milky Way Galaxy Solar System Earth Northern Hemi America United States of America Illinois Chicago Six One Six North Rush Street Six Zero Six One One Exact Point You Are Looking At North Forty One West Eighty Seven Milky Way Galaxy Solar System Earth Northern Hemi North America The Lovely United States of America Illinois The Corrupt City of Chicago Six One Six North Rush Street Six Zero Six One

No, this is not gibberish and don’t worry, we haven’t lost our minds over here at Sharpie either.  These words are in fact a work of Sharpie art and the newest permanent fixture at Jbar, a well-known Chicago hotspot neighboring The James Hotel

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“Everything inspires me.  Some artists paint pictures and shapes, I paint using words.  Words create images in my head, but I like the way words look when they are placed next to and on top of each other, taking on a form of its own.”  “My technique allows the viewer to think simple letters form complex words, serving to create language as a form of art.”

-Brian Graves

Local Chicago artist, Brian Graves made his Sharpie mark on the bar’s walls with Jgrooves I & II and Jposition I & II, installations from the Jbar Project.  For this project, Graves drew inspiration from different areas, including famous one-liners from popular club songs that have been fixated into his own mind.  The words above are from a portion of the installation, stating the precise location of Jbar itself; beginning with outer space progressing to its exact coordinates on Earth.bac 7

*I would like to take this moment to thank you, Mr. Graves, for cursing me with the musical mash-up that is repeating in my head, consisting of Madonna’s Hey Mr Dj, U2’s She Moves in Mysterious Ways, Tina Turner’s Proud Mary and P!nk’s intellectually stimulating, Get this Party Started.*

Graves focuses on the development of self-taught expression of both feeling and emotion in his own form of abstract painting. Letters, words, everyday expressions and emotion combine and collide with color and texture through layers of acrylics, oils, pastels and yes, Sharpie markers!

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Artist Brian Graves (second from left) and friends at Jbar

Artist Brian Graves (second from left) and friends at Jbar

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Trust me when I say that you need to see more of Brian Graves’ artwork. Absolutely incredible!  BigArtChicago <— Check it out

Hey, why not see his work up close and personal?!  Grab a cab and jet on over to the JBar at The James.

*A BIG thanks goes out to Raul Ruiz, Sharpie Highlighters Brand Manager for suggesting Brian’s Jbar project for the Sharpie Blog.  Follow Raul on Twitter! (He has a great profile pic)

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The Writing’s On the Walls at Urbane Apts

SharpieContest

Urbane Apartments celebrated the grand opening of their new Michigan location in a unique way.  On October 22nd, owner Eric Brown hosted the Sharpie “Draw on the Walls” contest by opening up the space to the public and inviting 12 local artists to create innovative and eccentric designs on the walls of the building’s Co-Work space’s meeting rooms.

*The Co-Work space is designed for small to medium sized companies needing a trendy office space, as well as for Urbane residents’ use of office machines and desk space.

 The winner of the Sharpie “Draw On the Walls” contest and $750 was Urbane resident, Ryan Gardner.  I think that the best way to describe Gardner’s creation (this pun just happens to fit perfectly) would be this:  Uncapping What’s Inside of an imaginative mind. Now, I know that you think I’m just plugging the Sharpie campaign, but seriously, look at the pics and tell me that’s not a pretty accurate description!

1st place Winner, Ryan Gardner

1st place Winner, Ryan Gardner

Gardner, Writing on the Walls with Sharpie!

Gardner, Writing on the Walls with Sharpie!

Spotlight on the Winner!

Spotlight on the Winner!

With about 100 attendees, the event was a success.  Taking place in the Co-Work space, the 12 artists drew live on the walls with an assortment of Sharpie markers.  The outcomes are pretty amazing! (See pictures below.) I don’t know about you but I get nervous writing my name on a nametag with 1 person watching, let alone 99 people watching me draw on a wall –Talk about pressure.  I have to give big props to the artists.  Great work guys; you’ve made Sharpie proud!

In addition to live art, Urbane Apts. also provided drinks & appetizers, gave property tours, hosted a live raffle, all the while, moving to the beats of DJ Terry Hall, with photographer Rachel Wade capturing every Sharpie moment!

Here are some pics of the artists drawing at the Urbane Apt. event!

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For more on the event check out Urbane on Facebook and their blog.  Of course get the scoop about Urbane Aprtments at www.urbaneapts.com

 

Sharpie? Yes, please! www.sharpie.com