Behind the Scenes: Creating the Sharpie Markers

One of my favorite pens to draw with is the Sharpie®—and what better way to commemorate my appreciation for this drawing tool than to recreate the marker in Photoshop. I’ll take you behind the scenes of this image which I originally created for Advanced Photoshop magazine (issue 94). Here is the final image:

Sharpie Final

The goal was to create a realistic Sharpie in Photoshop, but before I did any of that, I sketched out a few ideas for the composition. I immediately knew I wanted to show at least two Sharpies in the scene to help give the scene some depth.

Sharpie Sketches

Once I selected my composition, I experimented with a technique to create the marker. At this point, I was not concerned with proper proportions. My goal was just to focus on finding a good technique to create highlights and textures.

Sharpie Test

Since I felt I was on the right track, I decided to work on another test scene. I merged together all the layers that made up the Sharpie and, in a new document, I experimented with the interaction of the two markers—paying attention to shadows and reflections.

Sharpie More Tests

TIP: Sometimes, I find it easier to work on multiple test scenes in order to work out different techniques.

Once I was happy with the tests, I recreated the marker from scratch. This time, I made sure it looked like a Sharpie.

Sharpie Single

As a result of my earlier test scenes, I knew I could just duplicate the marker and flip it to appear as a separate marker—no need to spend the extra time to re-build the marker.

Sharpie Double

Next, I added realistic shading based from the previous tests.

Sharpie Shadows

I went back through the image and added some additional details as well as a depth-of-field effect.

Sharpie Scene

It felt like something was missing so I added some additional texture to highlight the ground plane. Also, with the recommendation of a friend, I added some doodles to complement the markers. Below is the final image:

Sharpie Final

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