Two Dictators and a Cat

All of these drawings vary in size. The only things I have used in these drawings are a black marker that has an adequate amount of ink to produce solid black lines for darker tones, a black marker that is low on ink to produce fainter marks for lighter tones and a whiteboard duster.

There was a time. A time when my boss had not banned drawings on the notice whiteboard at work. A time when my fellow colleagues were free to doodle anything they wish onto the whiteboard to express their inner selves and show off what artistic talent they have.


And so I decided to draw a portrait of Hitler for no reason. (I am not a nazi and I do not support any of their views.)


The following day I did a portrait of Stalin for no particular reason as well because why not?


And on the same day, I drew my friend’s cat – Cleopatra as well. For no reason whatsoever.

However, all of these drawings were drawn because I wanted to understand how markers on whiteboards differ from the media (pencil, watercolour) I use almost every time I do art causally. My impression of markers is that the marks made are binary: either it is of the colour of the marker or there is none – but obviously this contradicts what is stated in the first paragraph since I managed to find two markers with different ink levels. Furthermore, different shades can be created by the same marker. Let’s say I draw a line across the board, it gradually turns from dark to light as it is not fully saturated with ink. Moreover if I use an empty marker to draw across ink covered areas, instead of making the area darker, the tip of the marker takes away the ink of the area, thus making it a high accuracy duster. But this does not work the other way around as seen in Stalin’s hair where both light and dark tones can be observed overlapping.

Shading was somewhat troublesome as first glance since to me there seemed there was no way to be able to a smooth transition between light and darker tones (there is probably a way to do that but I still could not figure out how). Shading is a major feature in Hitler’s portrait since shadows are pretty much everywhere in the photo I based on. I decided to stick to the basics of hatching and crosshatching in attempt to create a  variety of tones.

In terms of texture, I find the portrayal of Cleo’s fur the most challenging in this series of drawings mainly because the markers create such rigid marks that do not allow the Cleo’s fur to appear fluffy as it is in reality and also it was hard to blend lighted coloured fur into darker coloured fur since the marker that I used for lighter tones had ran out halfway through this drawing.

Do leave some comments about suggestions I could improve in marker drawing below 🙂


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