Google+ House Revivals: X is for Rendering (with xylene markers)

Friday, July 2, 2010

X is for Rendering (with xylene markers)

I love my xylene markers.  This is what I like to use when creating a rendering of a space. I have other markers, with different solvent bases, but xylene is absolutely the best for it's workability.  You can really move it around on your paper, blend it and manipulate your colors.  As an interior designer, my markers are part of my "tool kit".

A new xylene marker usually produces an intensely saturated hue, but you can "recharge" an old marker by opening up your pen and adding more xylene.  This will give you a marker that produces a much lighter version of your original hue, and sometimes that is exactly what you need.

Xylene markers stink.  They can give you a headache.  They can make you feel really sick.  So, never use them unless you're in a well ventilated area.  And just to be safe, I'd stay away from them if I was pregnant.

I usually use rolls of tracing paper (also known as "trash" or "bumwad") for my renderings, though you can get incredible results using Mylar and vellum.

Some people prefer marker paper.  Plotter paper can give you great results, but it absorbs an awful lot of expensive ink.  The rendered elevations, below, we created using marker on plotter paper.  In this instance, plotter paper was the best choice, because it absorbed the ink unevenly helping to create an "adobe" look.

Sometimes you just want to add a hint of color or just some shading to a sketch using your markers, as in this fireplace drawing.

You can also use your xylene markers to draw over a picture of a computer generated model.  This can help give the image a little "soul". 

The rendering below was done from a quick life sketch.  First, the picture was quickly sketched in pencil, later it was placed under a sheet of trash and traced and rendered.

Occasionally you may want the look of a colored pencil rendering, without the time commitment.  Here is where your recharged markers can save you lots of time.  By first giving the paper a light color wash with your xylene marker, you can cut way down on the amount of coloring you do with the pencils.

Whatever your paper, and whether or not you mix your media, xylene markers are an invaluable addition to a designer's toolbox.  Give them a try-- you just might love them (but be sure to open the window)!
artist study in xylene

This post is being linked to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.


  1. Beautiful. I admire your talent!
    I sometimes use xylene markers hoping they will last outside in the garden (plant markers). My first thought was I hope you don't breathe while using them.

  2. I am in awe. I sketch like a 5 year old (and I am not 5) these are beautiful!

  3. Sounds like they are a tool you can't live without! And you are quite the artist!

  4. The beautiful images you can create with your fingers, markers and imagination - what a gift you have!

  5. I'd use Xylene Markers if I could draw like you! Pretty amazing.

  6. Such a nice job you do!

  7. Well done, and what wonderful artwork...fine choice for "X" week...Peace and blessings

  8. My years spent as an architectural designer were wonderful. It is simply a blessing to dream and inspire and then to create. It is also clear that you love what you do...and that has always led to the best designs and most assuredly the most fun work can bring!
    Nice post!

  9. what a wonderful choice for X week ... those markers look like a whole lot of fun to use!

  10. I admire your talent. I'm not an artist but you have me wanting to go buy a set of these markers just to give them a try. ~ Sarah

  11. Beautiful pictures. You are truly gifted. I think these would be fun to play with even if you had a lot less talent.

  12. Wow. I never knew those renderings were done with markers! They always looked like colored pencil to me! Amazing stuff. Your talent shines so brightly in the images you chose to share.

  13. Wow. A medium I have never heard of. You should be an illustrator. I love your work. It is evocative and spare. Your colors just make them shine like stained glass!

    Thank you for sharing your talent and technique with us. As if any one of us could master anything like this...xylene markers recharged or not!

    What an X-cellent post!


  14. are so dang talented! Good post!

  15. Your are very talented! Late reading last weeks post now it is almost time for this weeks.


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