I recently saw an advertisement for a poster print of an elephant silhouette that was filled in with brightly-colored shapes. In order to successfully reproduce this image myself, I knew I’d have to use one of my favorite coloring tools: Tombow Markers. These duel-tipped markers are especially fun to use with my adult coloring books, but they serve an even greater purpose, when combined with water!
To begin my project, I traced around a printed outline of an elephant off the internet, onto a piece of watercolor paper. I used a 5 x 8 sheet from a 140 lb. tablet by Canson. Cold-pressed illustration board would also work well here.
The original print contained a multitude of different colors, so I recreated my piece using basically the same color palette. Using the brush tip of the markers, I began to fill in one section of the elephant at a time, with abstract floral and leaf shapes. Please note: the marker colors can sit on the surface for awhile before adding water to them, and they’ll still activate. My reasoning for completed the whole process, one section at a time, had more to do with color interaction and placement, than worrying that the colors would dry out to the point of not being able to activate them with water.
I dipped a small brush into water and gently fanned out each of the marker shapes. Try to use as little water as necessary, to retain the colored shapes. The water will cause small amounts of color from one shape to intermingle with the next, to create awesome abstract watercolor effects to your drawing. I further “portioned out” the elephant by choosing similar colors for the various body parts of the animal.
Continue drawing colored shapes and adding water with a brush, until each section of the elephant is complete. I added detail and outline with an 03 black micron pen and shadowing with a stippling technique. The bright color retention and blend ability of these markers rival any permanent ink colors. One of the many reasons why I love Tombow markers!