Getting started with Olo Alcohol Markers

Getting started with Olo Alcohol Markers

A number of years ago, I was on a mission to try finding alternate brands to Copic; though I purchased my full set long before the changes at Copic/Too, I knew it was going to go from bad to worse. And I tested out all the brands as they kept cropping up on the market for alcohol marker users.

 

One of those brands was Olo, and I first tried them in 2022. They were kind enough to send me a set, I think they realized I was in testing mode and it would be a good opportunity for them if I liked them.

My review was mixed. But hopeful!

While a lot of people looked for “cheap” as their highest priority, I was looking for quality of product AND innovation. I’ve never liked when ANY company – art supply or otherwise – just replicates something that’s already out there, not putting any creativity into it! (I know I own a lot of products that have done this, but….I don’t review makers of my pajamas.)

Olo markers were immediately innovative: customizable markers, realizing that artists may or may NOT like a chisel nib, whereas other pens were automatically shoving both at us. While I use my Copic chisel nibs for airbrush, I don’t draw with them, and having the ability to only have to buy the brush marker end? That was very appealing.

The quality of the pens was good, the nibs were fantastic, the caps seated really well (in some cases too well; I’ve heard some people have trouble getting the caps ON, which hasn’t been an issue for me). The biggest drawback? Colors.

They had 128 colors, which back 30 years ago would have sounded fantastic, but I wanted a lot of colors that were missing; the greens only had a few color options and not great ones, and there weren’t good natural blending groups for hardly any colors to make it easy for newbies to color. 

But I remained hopeful, because that kind of innovation isn’t cheap. I’d much rather have a company work at expanding their line to fill out their vision than do what a lot of other fly-by-night manufacturers did—rushing out with 300+ colors and failing miserably to deliver on quality.

And so I waited. When Olo announced new colors would be coming, and let affiliats pre-order them, I squeezed the money out of my budget for a half-marker of each new color. And that brings us to today: new colors are finally here!

Tutorial: Getting started with Olo Alcohol Markers

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

32 new colors

This release has a good number of colors in it, thankfully; when companies come out with 3 or 6 colors, it’s stressful to even consider putting out a new hex chart to include them for just a few pencils. It takes me a lot in my process to alter a chart, and 32 colors is plenty to be worth it!

Out of these colors, a lot are neutrals for skin, hair, animals. Most interesting to me are 2 natural blending groups in the pink and purple (Natural groups have a light, medium, and dark in markers that all share the same first digit, making them easy to blend well). But a thrill? All the new greens! It’s almost as if they heard me, though honestly I don’t think anyone hears me cry into the wilderness. But I’ll take it!

Order markers here.

Alcohol Marker Jumpstart Class

I decided, on advice of a lot of folks on Facebook, to change some wording – instead of using “Copic” in class and video titles, I’ll be trying to make things apply to more people with the term “Alcohol Markers.” Which means I’ve changed the name of my most popular class: Copic Jumpstart is now Alcohol Marker Jumpstart! It’s the same course, but hopefully more inviting to users of other mediums.

The hand-drawn chart will be added to the class for students to download and color as a reminder of what the letters and number codes mean.

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Revised conversion charts

The two charts in this free set, Olo to Copic and Copic to Olo, will help you use a tutorial for Copics while using Olos, or vice versa! I’ll have more to say about the chart in my next view this coming weekend.

Get the free chart here.

A word (or 500) about other marker brands

Every brand of an art supply handles the naming and numbering of its product in its own way!

The cheaper craft companies often use random numbering/naming conventions; maybe it means something to them, but there’s no artist on staff making a color wheel of their colors and understanding why anything exists in their line. I find those extremely frustrating, and figuring out a company’s rhyme/reason for color codes tells me whether or not they have a colorist on staff. LOL.

Then there’s traditional art companies like Faber Castell who use traditional art names for colors and it’s the identical numbering system and colors across allllll their products.

In general, knowing some fo that info can help tell you whether an art supply is “good” —well thought out, quality, etc—or if it’s one that’s just put out there to make money. The latter companies are often not interested in pressing quality, just in cutting expenses to keep their product cheap and able to undercut the others in the industry. 

That doesn’t mean those supplies can’t be used. It probably means they won’t last as long as good supplies, might fade faster or other problems could happen down the road. Some of the companies I ttested over the years were this kind of flash in the pan; they didn’t last, and anyone who bought their inexpensive line of markers (me!) can’t get refills or nib replacements. Thus why I like that Olo is taking its time and pacing its growth.

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

How to draw a Copic Disco Ball (Disco Chicken Part 2)

How to draw a Copic Disco Ball (Disco Chicken Part 2)

I THINK I DID IT! Oh man. This one was just a little more bitten off than I might have been ready for….it was days of work and study, and that doesn’t even count the chicken dancing! 🙂

I asked AI to give me a description of my disco chicken to post on the Copic Award page….it did pretty well!

A flamboyant rooster is captured mid-dance on a reflective dance floor, a shining disco ball overhead casting light around the room. The rooster’s wings are spread wide in a dramatic pose, evoking the sense of movement and dance.

Before we get underway with the video…..I posted a reel on instagram and a short on YouTube showing a much simpler disco ball than you’ll see in today’s main video. check it out to see how simple it CAN be! 🙂

Tutorial: How to draw a Copic Disco Ball

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Drawing a disco ball

You can use any earth modell with longitude and latitude lines as a model – the above pic is looking upward at the globe, and you can see how the lines curl around on the left/right and top/bottom.

Mine is far more complex than it needs to be – you could make one with significantly smaller mirror pieces, and without the airbrushing too.  But the principle is the same.

  1. Place blocks of color on the disco ball, lighter where you want highlights.
  2. Mask out a few of those blocks so they remain bright and sharp.
  3. Color OVER all that initial color – airbrush works, but how about distress inks with a very soft brush? Powdered colored pencil or charcoal? A watercolor wash? Whatever you use, let some color show through and some get covered.
  4. Draw in some of the lines between mirror panels: in the light areas use about an 80% dark color (a grey blue or purple) and in light areas, drop in a few dashed highlights.
  5. Stand back and admire!

Draw a disco floor

Basic perspective lines will really help here – with all the lines leading back to a vanishing point in the middle, on the side, wherever.

  1. Draw the underlying color in any pattern.
  2. Add tje perspective grid on top, with the tiles being dark with glowing light parts, and light popping up through the grout.
  3. Add a little bit of line work but only if needed.

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Make it *sparkle*

To create a feeling of magic — throw in some pixie dust! Not only will this add the feeling of magic to your drawing, but it can cover any messes made. I used a colorless blender for some of the lighter dots, and a gel pen on top as well.

Copic Award Entry

I sent it to the Copic Award contest – wish me luck and go add my drawing to your favorites!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Copic Markers – https://bit.ly/31g1FYN
  2. Copic Hex Chart – https://bit.ly/3rq3AEX
  3. White Uni-ball Gel Pen AMZ  • BLICK 
  4. Masking:
    1. Frisket Film roll 
    2. Frisket Film sheets
  5. Fingertip Knife
  6. Paper:
  7. Neenah Cardstock, Solar White; I found a 12″x18″ pack of the 110lb at my local Kelly Paper but it’s the same as this smaller size that’s more affordable/available: Neenah
  8. My normal fave paper is the 80# 
Copic Feathering Techniques (Disco Chicken part 1)

Copic Feathering Techniques (Disco Chicken part 1)

Oh, the crazy things my art makes me do. 🙂  BRACE FOR SILLINESS. As well as learning.

A little behind the scenes: I almost always have chickens/roosters on the brain. I collected anything with chickens on them for a long time (De Colores! iykyk!) Last year this time, I was in the middle of a giant PURGE and renovation of my home and got rid of a lot of chickens. But….I still have a lot. And when a chicken related holiday crops up….I gotta do SOMEthing.

Thus I bring you….Dance Like A Chicken Day. Today!

 

National Dance Like a Chicken Day is celebrated on May 14, and encourages people to dance like chickens. The holiday has been celebrated since the 1970s as an alternative to May Day. It’s a day to express oneself by flapping wings and strutting around like chickens. 

 

-some guy on the internet

Tutorial: Copic Feathering (Disco Chicken part 1)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

When you don’t need feathering

If adding a lot of texture, say on the comb of the rooster or some detailed feathers, blending doesn’t matter. It’s underneath all that detail and isn’t required to be “beautiful” blending. It’ll give an overall feeling of transition from light to dark, but the line work covers it.

Also note that my coloring isn’t “perfect” when your nose is right up against the paper. Or, er, the jpg. Maybe there are some people who strive for that and achieve it, but I find it overrated! Step back from your work and look at it as if someone else made it. I guarantee you’re doing better than your close-staring will tell you.

APOLOGIES!

If you came by last weekend and my blog had blown up – please feel free to go back and check out the sweet kitties now. All is fixed, as you can see…..I tell ya, I’m tired of html kicking my butt!

Long vs short runways of feathering

The shorter the space that you’re filling, the harder it’ll be to create a soft, feathered edge, whether in one marker hue or multiples. It’s just too tiny a space to expect perfection! 

But in long feathers, you’ve got a lonnnnng runway to get from a marker’s darkest value to taking off like a plane into the atmosphere. It doesn’t mean you can slow down, especially with a juicy marker—a nice consistent, speedy motion will give you the best results but it takes practice!

It’s all about value

Looking at where the chicken ended up—excuse me, the rooster-—you can see the value differences that give him dimension. I had in my head where that disco light or spotlight will be cast on him, and I did opt to go lighter, just so I have “room” to get darker if needed when adding the background.

By the way, he practiced a LONG TIME on that toe-point. Roosters can’t normally bend their feet like that, so, ya know…

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“What good is this if I don’t draw?”

Well for one, you clicked on this post or video. And if you showed enough interest to click to see what’s going on and how the magic happened, well, you could get here. I don’t know your current level of experience, but I promise you can do so much more than you think you already can.

And secondly, you can apply this in much simpler coloring projects! If you’re coloring a bird that has no detail drawn into the outline, you can add a few feathers. Even a hint at them is better than a blobby shape that doesn’t look like a bird!

You can also use feathering to blend colors in anything! Remember to match the value of the two colors: if you’re blending a midtone yellow and midtone purple, it’ll be easier than blending colors with vast value (dark/light) differences!  Light, pale colors are easier when you’re starting out – and more practiced colorists can learn a lot from blending strong colors into each other.

Send me good wishes!

I’m elbow deep in studying my disco ball and figuring out how to render it realistically. Come back Saturday to see if I did it! Also – pop into the Zoom Open Studio at Artventure….log in and go to the events tab to see what time it’ll be in your zone.

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Copic Markers – https://bit.ly/31g1FYN
  2. Copic Hex Chart – https://bit.ly/3rq3AEX
  3. Neenah Cardstock, Solar White; I found a 12″x18″ pack of the 110lb at my local Kelly Paper but it’s the same as this smaller size that’s more affordable/available
    My normal fave paper is the 80# Neenah

As per Mom’s advice ART AND CATS!

As per Mom’s advice ART AND CATS!

Happy Mother’s Day weekend! I’m especially happy about this Mother’s Day that my mama is still here….after being scared we would lose her, she’s still kicking butt and taking names! So today I’m leaning in with some of her advice…..keep watercoloring, and go deeper with animals and portraits. And you get to be the beneficiary of my homework!

Tutorial: As per Mom’s advice: ART AND CATS!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Inktober revisited!

These kitties were drawn in October 2023 originally – larger. Comments at the time asked that I put them out as printables so people could color them and put them on their projects! Sorry it took me so long 🙂

 

Who Me Kitty

This first kitty is one who’s looking up for any number of reasons….innocently denying knocking the plant off the counter? Smelling chimken? Needing scritches?

To color this kitty with any medium, keep the color to the interior of the black line areas….and keep it light. Don’t worry about the lost edges around the outside of the cat; the human eye will fill it in!

Angel Kitty

The angel kitten could be staring out at the rainbow bridge on a sympathy card, or looking at mama and the canopener and hoping for something tasty!

I recommend going even lighter with the color on this kitten; pick a nice strong color for the eye since that’s what people will be drawn into!

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Portrait work

I’m not real far into the class but I feel like I’m seeing some improvements. My people are starting to look more recognizable as the person in the reference photo, and that’s a big part of what I want to achieve! 

Dog painting

I have two good art friends who gave me conflicting advice on this painting. And In some ways both are right! On the left is version 1….its closer to the very bluish reference photo, which was what I was going for; I should have just done some thumbnails first but I don’t always take my own advice! I would have seen I’d need to change some values to make the painting work better.

On the right, one friend said I overcompensated from the blue version; she liked the strong color and called it dramatic. The other friend, though, said in the first one I fell into her trap with black dogs – too. much. blue. She said she used to use prussian (she’s an oil painter) and had to just put the tube away so she wouldn’t be tempted! I hadn’t used prussian, but I had tried glazing with French Ultramarine, and just went too far.

So my questions…..does the dog’s face highlights need a little darkening with a slight glaze? Just the top of the yead, I like the more neutral colors down in the darker ares. And how about the background? Try a dark glaze? I’m more afraid of that, I could totally ruin it with kissed edges around the dog’s head. Maybe, though, it’s just done as is. Sign it and put it in the shop. What do you think?

Patrons!

Y’all have told me to remind you over here and on YouTube when there’s a new tutorial for the $10+ folks, so here’s your reminder….it just went live this morning! Don’t forget to post yours, I want to see your kitties!

Not a patron yet? It’s easy to join! These watercolor tutorials are for those who sign up for $10/month or more; and there’s now 5 in the collection. 

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

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Drawing Vintage Roses for Mom (easiest coloring ever)

Drawing Vintage Roses for Mom (easiest coloring ever)

This year’s Mother’s Day celebration is so much more meaningful to me. In the past, even though Mom was up there in years, I had thought she’d be around forever. She’d been through so much, she’d fight off anything, right? But the last month or two has shown me not to take her for granted one BIT. And this year I wanted to make her the most special card I’ve ever sent her!

In the video I’ll show you parts of the drawing process, and of course talk through it as I am wont to do. 🙂 Then the color begins – I did fancier coloring than needed for this image, because on the card, I did NO blending and it still looks phenomenal!

Tutorial: Drawing Vintage Roses for Mom 

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Shading part 1

I began by creating linear shading in just one direction in each section. I wanted to see the overall effect it would have – is there enough contrast? Not really.

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Shading part 2

Then I added cross hatching in other directions to create depth with different values. Much better, imho!

Adding color

While I did fancy shmancy blending, that’s not really needed here. The card has just ONE color for the red and one for the green. Then gouache for the babys breath. It couldn’t be easier! You could even do an ink blended background – just make it a light enough color that the red and green can cover it up.

Vintage Roses printable

You can get this image for FREE if you purchase $50 at art-classes.com! I’ll be doing it manually since my plugin seems to be acting erratically. But within hours of your purchase I’ll get the image added to your downloads folder, so check back in. 🙂 

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Olo sketchbook 
  2. Olo markers 
  3. Olo marker hex chart 
  4. Titanium White gouache
  5. Vintage Roses printable
  6. Multiliner SP 
  7. Airbrush:
    1. ABS3
    2. Air Compressor – (only need comp and cord, not this kit)
    3. Cord, if it doesn’t come with the compressor