Monthly Archives: June 2011

Upgrade your pens!

I’m not the biggest YouTube fan. I don’t regularly seek out the newest and funniest videos that may be hitting the web, but when I do find one that I like I’m definitely going to share it.

That brings me to the new videos that definitely gave me a laugh when I watched them the first, second and even third time. The videos are part of uni-ball’s Upgrade campaign and were directed by Fred Savage! I’m not just saying that I like these videos because I have to, they are genuinely funny. The misfit pens were in our offices causing havoc the day before the launch. They are just as funny in person as they are on video.

Now let me introduce you to the Misfit Pens: Piddler, Spectacle and Melfunction.





A Different View

Yes, it is true that you can do a lot of cool things with our products. The crazy creative detail that some Sharpie marker artists use on a daily basis blows my mind. The intricate drawings that Prismacolor artists post on our Facebook wall are something that I definitely could never do. But, today I’m not talking about the art our products create, I’m talking about the pictures you take of our products.

Rummaging through flickr for various brands I have found a good deal of pictures that fans or just everyday consumers take. People get pretty creative when it comes to taking these pictures and I thought it is about time they were showcased too.

The pictures may not be very dramatic, but the bold colors of our products really make them something to look at.

Art in Motion

Finished art work of videos below

Traditonally, art may be something that you put on paper or canvas and keep in one place to show; no longer is that the only way that it can be displayed. More and more I have noticed videos on YouTube that deal with the creation of art and art itself. Sometimes it is the artist drawing it and sometimes it is just a display of the artwork to music, but what is clear is that the way that artists present their work to people has changed. It is no longer hung in a gallery where only some people can see. Now, it’s online, in social media and in blogs where hundreds of millions of people can access it with the right search terms.  

The artists are not people well known across the world; many of them may not even sell their work. Showcasing their projects on YouTube gives the artists an outlet and the opportunity for someone else to come across it.

This new way of presenting art brings it off the paper. It shows you the detail going into each drawing and to those that may not enjoy simply looking at the finished product it adds an element of fun.

Mikeart978 is one of my favorite YouTube channels for art drawing. He showcases his amazing art abilities along with background music of him playing the guitar. Nothing is off limits for Mike. His drawings include athletes, cars and movie characters.


This artist has dreams of working for Disney as an animation designer. No Disney character is off limits. She also hosts regular web tutorials. Find her work at 


This doesn’t even need an introduction. Watch the amazing details in this artist’s work.

Collage Creator

What do ukuleles and Sharpie markers have in common? Until my interview with Sharpie marker artist Cody Swaggerty, I assumed nothing. Now, Sharpies and ukuleles are forever linked based on the dual interests of our featured artist.

Working on the railroad as a clerk and carry all driver by day and on his artwork at night, Cody has tuned his skills as an artist. Graduating with a degree in graphic design, this 25 year-old intended to pursue an art related career. He realized being told what to create was not as much fun as having the freedom to pursue his own ideas. He now creates artwork in his free time using his own interests for his projects.

Cody is different than a lot of Sharpie marker artists. He doesn’t create just one design, but puts layers and layers of designs into his intricate Sharpie marker collages. Sometimes the designs jump right out at you, other times Cody puts more thought into hiding the messages within his designs. His drawings are done without borders. Cody’s different interests begin layering on top of one another. Whether it is the guitar, 90’s music or the Tennessee Vols Cody keeps has his art packed with what he likes.

Now it’s time to hear from Cody:

When did this all start: In elementary school, I became interested in art because of an older kid who lived in my neighborhood. He was about 6 years older than me and was an excellent artist. He was big into portraits and more abstract stuff. His art influenced me to start doing art myself. Soon after that, my Mom bought me my first sketchbook, which I still have. I am very grateful because my Mom always encouraged me and allowed me to go after whatever I wanted.

Personal Style: I don’t know if I really have a set style. I basically draw whenever I feel inspired to do so. I try to be consistent with it because I always want to get better and progress. When I am working on something, I try to work on it for a set number of hours each night until it’s completed.

 Favorite Sharpie Marker: It’s tough to pick just one, but I guess the most essential has to be the black, fine-point Sharpie marker. I use it to outline all of my work before I color it in. 

 A lot of your work, labels, e-mails all use SWAGG on them. Is that because you have an awesome last name or is there an ulterior motive behind SWAGG: Swagg has been a nickname in my family for a long time. I remember being around my Dad and Papaw at the golf course as a kid and hearing guys calling them Swagg. The nickname started for me when I was playing high school sports. I thought the nickname was something different and original, so I started signing all of my artwork with it. I may have done differently had I known the word “swagg” would explode like it has today. I think you can have “swagg” when it comes to anything now.

 So do you have “Swagger?” Do your friends think you have “Swagger?”:  I guess I’ve had swagger since birth. My friends are on those jokes, so they’d probably say my swagger is pretty weak! Haha!

Have you ever just totally messed up a design: I always pencil in all the different objects first. I mess up a lot and have to erase and redraw things throughout the process. If I ever mess up after that, I usually try my best to fix the mistake or hide it with something else.

What makes you stand out from other Sharpie marker artists: I would say the Sharpie marker collage is what makes me stand out the most. The variety of objects and colors I use in each one is different from other collage work. My goal is to make people spend more time looking at my collage than they would spend looking at a normal picture

Your inspirations: I am able to draw inspiration from just about everything in life. Music, especially new music, definitely inspires me to want to create art. Sports are also a big inspiration. I enjoy seeing athletes excel in their sports and being the best at what they do. People that doubt me and don’t understand art are very inspiring to me. I find inspiration from the ups and downs of life. I also find inspiration in the abilities of other artists.Working on the railroad, I get to see a good amount of graffiti. Seeing the different styles and color schemes people use on their graffiti is also inspiring to me.

 Current projects: Right now, I’m working on getting 10 different Sharpie marker collages that I can hopefully enter into some art shows this summer. In Knoxville, we have an event called First Friday. First Friday is when the galleries of downtown Knoxville bring in new exhibits on the first Friday of every month. Knoxville doesn’t have the biggest art community, but it is a lot better than people may expect. I really enjoy meeting different artists and trying to network in my city. I have also been working on some pencil portraits of celebrities and athletes. I’m trying to get some of them autographed. I’d like to get Ellen’s autograph next!

 If you could drop everything today and start doing one thing for the rest of your life what would it be: Since I have so many different interests, it would be hard for me to just do one thing. If I could do anything I’d spend all my time doing artwork, hanging out at the lake, playing the guitar, and playing sports. I’ve always wanted to learn how to blow glass and paint. I’d also like to have my own t-shirt company as well. I would basically want live life without restrictions and enjoy every day doing whatever made me happy.

Anything else we should know: If there are any Sharpie marker artists that come across this post and would like to trade, buy, or talk about art feel free to message me on Facebook or email at I like to meet different artist.

 If you are interested in getting in contact with Cody you can find him on Facebook, YouTube, @cswaggerty or via e-mail.

That Kind of Pen Day

Before I started working at Newell Rubbermaid when it came to my choice of writing utensil I did not really put too much thought into it. Yes, like every office supply junkie I dreamed of having dozens of colors of pens and markers to write my notes with, but for my entire life my mom has refused to buy my beloved Flair pens for me. I usually resulted to “borrowing” them from friends who had extras, but not anymore!

Every day is a challenge for me to choose what pen to use. Is it a Sharpie pen day? Is it Paper Mate day? Is it a uni-ball day? I’ll be honest there haven’t been too many uni-ball days. When I look at the uni-ball pens in my mason jar they mean business. Its saying, “I dare you to do business with me. Sign some important documents.” I feel like I haven’t written anything that is serious enough for a uni-ball pen. I will say though when it comes to blue ink, those uni-ball pens are the best.

Today is most definitely a Paper Mate day. I obviously love the Flair pens, but I don’t want to overindulge myself by using them every day. I’ve really come to love the Paper Mate 300 series. Not only is the ink honestly some of the smoothest ink I’ve seen, but there are SO many different colors! I have green, light green, purple, orange, light blue, dark blue, maroon, and so many others. They all complement each other quite nicely and it makes color coating easy.

Now what do I mean when I say I’m having a ”Paper Mate pen day”. It really means that a have work to do, but not an overwhelming amount. It is more of a pen that I like to bring to meetings because it shows my creativity with what color I have, but still says “I mean business.” Another benefit, it doesn’t bleed through paper no matter how hard I write. These pens also keep me from getting distracted. They are not drawing pens so I can stick to my work and try to keep my mind on my task.

That’s the kind of pen day I am having today. What kind of pen day are you having?

Art Anytime on Anything

For years Jessica Hill kept work under her bed, in her closets, in the family’s shed, but not anymore. Now it’s on her blog, in charity auctions, for sale at galleries and even on TV. Each of her pieces has dozens of different figures and creatures within it. They are her creations, but it is everyone else’s interpretations that make these unique creatures in her drawings what they are.

Today’s featured artist may live a normal life as a graphic designer in Nashville, Tennessee, but there is way more to it than a good cup of coffee and a great husband. Jessica spends her days outside of work creating art and designs on just about anything and everything she can find with her Sharpie Paint Markers.

Jessica has been at this for a long time. Since she was a kid, her parents and teachers encouraged her to creative outlets.  Clearly all the art, music and creative writing classes paid off. Her unconventional art work features characters and figures that take on a life of their own. Each one is individual and each has potential to have its own meaning to the audience. For Jessica though it isn’t always what she draws, but where. Old calendars, chairs, used canvases, you name it Jessica will find a way to use it for her work. Using different materials makes the sky the limit. It helps Jessica get out her urge to create. When you are willing to use anything as your canvas there is nothing to hold you back.

Here are some other things that Jessica had to say:

Personal Style: I think my personal style is just fun and amusing, really. I don’t think about it too much. My work is usually associated with “street art”, which is cool with me. However, the word “obsessed” might describe my personal style, too. I tend to paint things over and over again. I draw all the lines freehand. I have to paint layers and layers of the same color to get a flat, bright image.

Where did these creatures come from: It just sort of evolved over time. Contrary to what some might think, I actually can draw more traditionally, but I always loved street art and skateboard designs. I did silk screening for a while and I loved the bright, flat colors. Also, being a graphic designer, I tend to like minimal things. But I am always thinking about color and layout, too. And again, I just keep myself amused. I think that’s also a large part of it. As for the monsters having one big eye and one little eye… I don’t know why I do that. I just like how it looks.  

What are these guys’ personalities: I have never given any character a specific personality, but other people do. People are always naming them or telling me how they see them. I think that’s part of the fun for me… I just make characters that I personally find amusing. I like that they seem to appeal to a wide range of people from adults to kids.

How was it to get these guys on TV: It was very flattering and slightly embarrassing. I am always proud of my work, but I can feel my cheeks getting red whenever I get a little bit of the spotlight. Honestly, it’s just amazing to me how kind people have been and how much they’ve embraced my work. It’s just amazing and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Why Sharpies Markers: Well, I found that Sharpies markers let me draw on pretty much any surface. Also, I don’t have to worry about anything dripping, like I would with paint. All my characters have a black outline on them and I found that with Sharpie markers I have a lot more control over those lines. I don’t have to worry about dipping the brush in more paint and I know I can use it on any surface and it won’t chip or flake away when it’s finished. They are just awesome to use and they have such a wide range of sizes, so it just makes the pieces really look polished in the end.


Favorite Sharpie Marker: Right now I am loving the Sharpie Paint Markers. They give me really smooth lines and consistent black ink. It sounds a little silly, but lots of markers don’t always give you a smooth, dark line. They lose ink along the way and that can be frustrating. The Sharpie paint marker has served me well. I also use the extra fine markers for detail work, which is great. I would be lost without them.

Are you an environmentalist or is all this supplies another creative outlet: I wouldlove to say that I am an environmentalist, but it was really kind of accidental. Canvas can be expensive and you don’t always have access to one when you get an idea that you want to work on right away. So I started using things I had around the house and I liked how the different materials gave you different results. They all hold paint or ink differently, and I like that. Plus, sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to work on a project but I want to do some doodles. I will just grab magazines or old calendars and doodle for a while. It’s a really fun outlet for me and I find it really relaxing. 

What’s your favorite recycled piece: It’s so hard for me to say… I really enjoyed filling in my old calendar with doodles. I also did a coffee can label for a local coffee shop here in Nashville and that was actually done on the back of a cereal box. I enjoyed that one!
My husband also brings home scraps pieces of wood for me that he will trim down into little squares and I can’t get enough of them!

Most spontaneous piece you’ve ever created: I think that being able to use what’s around does allow me to get my ideas out quickly. Sometimes I get the urge to draw all over photos that my friends will post on-line or email me. It’s like this urge that I just can’t resist and I have to deface it for some reason! It seems I have a problem with impulse control at times… so lots of the things I make are spontaneous. One day I started drawing my favorites movies on scraps of cardboard. Before I knew it, I had a whole pile of them!

Why do you think it’s important to give back: You know, I just think I am so lucky that people like my work. I don’t have a ton of money and I don’t have a lot of other skills. I am glad I can pitch in this way and help out some good causes. It’s just win-win. My favorite experience with volunteering is just meeting so many great people! I’ve met so many wonderful people through charity events. I also get to team up with other local artists and it’s nice to have a sense of community with all of them. It’s not competitive and I really enjoy that.

What is on your to-do list right now: Well, I have a show coming up in June that I am working on and some commission work to do after that. There is a festival in August that I have work in and I am booked for another show in December. I try not to get too much on my plate so I don’t get overwhelmed, but I stay busy!

If there was one place your art could take you, think DREAM job, where would it be: I gotta say, I LOVE my current job. It’s challenging and creative and I work with great people. I don’t know what my dream job would be, honestly. I just thank my lucky stars that I can make a living doing what I love. I know that there are lots of people who are not as lucky. I don’t know what else I would do if I wasn’t doing creative work. My mind couldn’t do anything else.

If you’re interested in Jessica’s work you can view her blog or tweet at her @jessicahillart