• Steven Heller

Everyman Marker

Timothy Goodman has been using Sharpie markers for a while. To say he’s in love with his pens may be an exaggeration, but he’s passionate about them and his workbook Sharpie Art Workshop: Techniques & Ideas for Transforming Your World is certainly adoration of the medium. I asked Timothy Goodman to make his mark about his book.

What gave you the idea to do a Sharpie workbook?

An old teacher of mine always says, “If you want to change your tool, then change your look.” Five years ago I made a decision to get my hand in my work more, and it all started when I had the opportunity to do a mural for the Ace Hotel in NYC. I basically locked myself in this hotel room for three days with a Sharpie Paint Marker. Since then I’ve adopted a whimsical handlettering and drawing style that I now do for a variety of clients, such as an installation in Airbnb HQ, drawing all over a new Ford car, and art for Starbucks. I also use Sharpie for the personal stuff I do, like my 2Pac mural in Las Vegas and my Instagram writing series, “Memories of a Girl I Never Knew.” It’s really become an extension of me and my work, so this book only made sense for me to author.

The book highlights different ideas and techniques you can use with a Sharpie marker, from making handmade gifts to creating murals to repurposing and drawing on old objects to simply doodling in your notebook. The book also features some amazing artists from around the world such as Julia Rothman, Shantell Martin, Jessica Walsh, Debbie Millman, Gemma O’Brien, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Mireia Ruiz, Jen Mussari, Carolyn Sewell, Erik Marinovich, Mikey Burton and more.

Is Sharpie on board with this?

Sharpie has authorized the book. They loved the book concept and gave us creative freedom to develop the book.

Is there a creative advantage with a Sharpie?

I think the vast array of different kinds of markers they sell gives you an advantage. I have found that their paint markers, more than other brands, are the most reliable and comfortable when I’m creating a mural. I also LOVE their brush tips for lettering.

People love their pens. What is it about Sharpie that is so millennial?

I think Sharpie has done a good job at staying in the zeitgeist. They can be found in office stores, drug stores and almost anywhere writing utensils are sold all around the world. It’s a brand that my generation has kind of grown up with. And like any brand, it’s important to stay relevant. I believe they’ve done a good job of that via social media and various partnerships.

Is Sharpie the Magic Marker of the 2000s? Or are they apples and pears?

I know a lot of artists who use other marker brands such as Krink, but those brands are usually much more expensive and don’t have the reach that Sharpie does. Sharpie is kind of the ‘everyman’ marker: kids use them to draw pictures, athletes use them to sign autographs, artists use them in their work, some people might use them to touch up a scratch on their piano, my mom uses them to write a grocery list, etc.

You can buy Sharpie Art Workshop: Techniques & Ideas for Transforming Your World by Timothy Goodman right here.

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