Tag Archives: Sharpie artists


Looking to add a little color into your home?


…Take a tip from Karen Edwards, a wife, mother, and full-time college administrator who has taken her hobby to a whole new level! Making old things new again, Edwards is the chief operator of SHARPWOOD, a line of re-worked home décor, musical instruments, utensils and more, all of which are designed by hand!  Her very first designs can be found on basement pipes, switch plate covers, old dresser drawers, however since then Edwards has graduated to front doors, table settings, even guitars! Check out how Karen Edwards uses Sharpie Permanent Markers to turn drab into fab!

“SHARPWOOD products have been salvaged from their misguided fate because of their inherent beauty and potential for re-design!”

Where does the name SHARPWOOD come from? SHARP refers to the Sharpie markers that I draw with, and WOOD refers to the medium I usually work on.  In our household, “SHARPWOOD” has become a verb!  The other day, I was wearing a dress with a lot of detailed designs in the fabric and my 6 year old asked me, “Mama – did you SHARPWOOD your dress?”


Where do you salvage these items from? Do you stick to your hometown? Stumble upon them?  Travel to find pieces?  Most pieces were found at second-hand shops or garage sales. I have a hard time driving by either without making a quick stop. My extended family is also in the habit of noticing treasures when they second hand shop. Sometimes when walking into a 2nd hand shop I feel like a kid in a candy store, how do you decide among pieces that you want to re-design? I’m picky about the pieces I buy. I look for unique shapes and features. If the piece doesn’t inspire me, it just sits in the basement and gets passed by as I pick the next thing to work on.

How long have you been “re-designing” items? I’ve only been doing this for a couple years. I picked it up when I was between jobs. I’ve done at least 60 pieces… I started with a pair of candle sticks – I just looked at them and thought “I could make those look better!” The next thing I knew, I wanted to draw on everything in the house!

SAharpwood CUpYou mentioned that SHARPWOOD is your hobby, what other things are you interested in? I’m a wife and the mother of two active boys. I’m also a full time administrator at a selective liberal arts college, working to support our international student population. I love culture and travel and my art is inspired by my interest in ethnic arts, designs and colors.

What is your favorite piece that you have worked on? A number of favorites are in my home – chairs, light switch covers, even my front door. My favorite piece on my site is the Masai Chalis – my father-in-law found this very unique piece at a sale in Minnesota. In the end, though, my absolute favorite project was a guitar that I decorated for a friend.

I LOVE the SHARPWOOD Treasure cup! What kind of treasure would you fill this vessel up with?! I like that one too. I imagine it holding unique stones or coins from someone’s travels…

Your designs are beautiful, so detailed! Where do you draw inspiration from – A certain culture or era, perhaps? I notice designs and patterns in things – fabric, wrapping paper, stationery… I love ethnic food, clothing, art, and culture – especially with South Asian or African origins, so some patterns come from that. I can’t really trace a specific source.


What is the design process like? Give us the play-by-play! I don’t usually plan a piece, I just start working it and the design develops. Sometimes I find myself working with the wood grain, to trace a line in the wood or in the workmanship, but usually it is very random. I like to leave negative space so the color of the wood comes through, but that doesn’t always happen either. One design or color determines the next. I like to cover the surface, and then add texture and layers with dots and metallics.

Where do Sharpie Markers come in? What kinds do you use? Favorite Sharpie? I’ve used a variety of permanent ink pens, but Sharpies are the most vibrant, last longer, maintain the tips, and offer great color variety. I tend to use deep colors, metallics, and a lot of black. I mainly use fine point markers, though the ‘big boy’ version works well on larger pieces (like my front door). I also like to use brush tip pens – but they are very hard to find.


At a dinner party, let’s say, do you ever find yourself having to hold your hand back from snatching up the salad bowl? YES! I’ve actually snagged a few pieces that way! One day I was in a meeting with a colleague and actually asked him if I could SHARPWOOD his lamp. It was an old ugly thing, heavy wood, and I was just sitting there distracted thinking “That is an ugly lamp that COULD be made really funky!” He didn’t let me take it, and I was bummed and slightly embarrassed. I also find myself wanting to do more inside my home, which was built in 1904. I would LOVE to SHARPWOOD our old oak banister!

 sharpie on sharpwood  cup

 Is there any item that you haven’t been able to find or would love to work on? The guitar turned out really well – I’d love to do another.  It would need to come as a custom request, though, so I suppose that isn’t too likely. I also love to tuck words into the designs, so I enjoy custom pieces that can have meaning for people.

Are you working on anything new at the moment? I usually have several pieces going at once. My front door is a work in progress, and I’m also working on a drum shell, a pair of book ends, and a headboard right now. Yesterday, I ran across a figurine of a mother pig with 2 baby pigs – I might start working on that one tonight (it will be very fun)!

You can Find & Purchase SHARPWOOD at etsy.com The full internet address is http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6051638


These peices will not only liven up your own space but this is a great gift idea too! 

Head on over to your local second-hand shop to see what you can find.  Better yet, take a look around your house – go back into your crawl space, climb up to the attic and pull out a piece that can be given a new life! 

For more DIY check out www.sharpieuncapped.com



More Sharpie to Come!

Don’t think I forgot about you!!  No, no, no..not even a little bit!


I’ve been working like crazy and I am now in the process of interviewing a few Sharpie artists for the Sharpie Spot.  I’ve sent out a couple interviews and now am awaiting their return!  What do I have coming, you ask?  A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I hate when people say that I’m sorry… I’ll give it to you straight:

1) Casey Burns is an illustration and design artist who’s work I have been following for a while now.  I have a quick blurb about him on my Sharpie Art! page, in case you thought you were having DejaVu.  I sent his interview out just a little bit ago after he emailed me saying thank you for the shout-out on my blog!  What a nice guy, right?!  Well, once you’re nice to me I like you, so Casey, WELCOME TO THE SHARPIE FAM! I’m really excited to see what he has to say, and I am doubly excited for you all to read about him!  Check Casey and his art out at the following links…a) Casey’s Website b) Blog c) MySpace d) Archive of Posters on Gigposterscom


2) Next up we have Karen Edwards, owner, creator and designer of SHARPWOOD.  This creative and talent artist salvages pieces and re-designs them with Sharpie markers!  Her work is quite incredible, with sort of a bali, safari look – I am probably not even explaining her style correctly, hence why I interviewed her!  🙂   Hand painting each piece, Sharpwood pieces are one of a kind and truly masterpieces.  The detail that goes into her work is magnificent and beautiful.  The collection includes wide range of products such as, guitars, chairs, light switch covers & light fixtures, a guitar pick-guard, drums, bowls, plates, and more!

To look at (and buy) Sharpwood pieces, click here.  I know you are going to like Sharpwood – and if you are eco-friendly, Sharpwood is just your taste! Like they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!


3) Aside from interviews, I am also working on developing plans for Sharpie at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York next month!  You better believe that I am SO EXCITED for this!  Recently, Sharpie was contacted by the cutest, most creative designer, Erica Domesek, founder the DIY brand, P.S.-I Made This… Erica came up with an idea for “Sharpie Bar” at Fashion Week where designers, celebs, artists, attendees… to customize, design and put their mark on fashion accessories with an assortment of Sharpie markers and pens!  What a great idea right?  So, Erica, my boss Susan (Follow Susan on Twitter) and I have been running wild putting this awesome event together.  Fashion Week is the 3rd week of September and the Sharpe Bar will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 3pm!  So, if you are in town stop by to personalize a pair of sunglasses, a headband, sneakers, t-shirts, bracelets, AND MORE!  This is going to be off the hook, can you tell I am psyched?  I’ll give you more details as they flow in!

Click to check out Erica’s website P.S. – I Made This… and Follow P.S. on Twitter and Facebook


I am working on a few more interviews and projects but I need to leave a little bit of mystery, right?! Keeping checking up on the site and you can follow me on Twitter for updates too!

xoxo Whitney

UPDATE* Designer for a Day!


Remember how my post about  Zulu Creative’s 3rd Birthday Celebration & TOMS “Style Your Sole,” event??

Here is a refresher just in case:  On Sunday, July 26th Zulu Creative and TOMS shoes paired, yet again, to celebrate Zulu’s 3rd birthday  with TOMS “Style Your Sole” party.  300 guests attended this rockin’ party in Houston, which provided children in need with new TOMS shoes!  Not only did attendees get a sneak peek of TOMS 2009 Fall Collection, they also got to be designers for the day!  Fully stocked with Sharpie markers and paint supplies, the party-goers got to work and created super cool designs right on their TOMS.

“Positive vibes surrounded all of us at the party and I’m so proud of how the Houston community came together to support TOMS and their important mission to help children in need”

– Tina Zulu, Zulu Creative’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer.


DJ Chicken George kept positivity in the air with an outstanding selection of soulful and uplifting tunes. While DJ Chicken Geoerge kept the beats flowing,  Aerosol Warfare Gallery’s GONZO247, a Houston, TX urban street artists created custom designs for fans. 

 Here are a few of my favorite pics from the event…

zulu desgining w sharpies

zulu mom and baby

zulu shoes

zulu event

zulu designing 2

zulu baby shoe

zulu post ad

this one makes me happy

For more information on the who, what, where and all the in between, check out Zulu Creative on Facebook and click on this link to read the July ’09 ZC newsletter!  For now here are some of my favorite pictures from the event… enjoy!

Sharpie Artist: Rob Schwager

Walk with some S(ch)wager!

Meet Rob Schwager! Currently, a freelance illustrator & graphic designer in Florida, Schwager has built a well-respected name for himself within the industry producing amazing artwork.  Born and raised in Chicago, Schwager is now living his dream, working as an artist.  Through hard work, “determination and a desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances,” he is a growing success and continues to create art that people can’t get enough of! One of the coolest artists I’ve talked with so far, Rob not only is super creative, he has a great personality and an awesome sense of humor!  Rob Schwager is one artist that you will be sure to love and will definitely want a piece (or 5) of his work!


So how did you get started in art? Like most kids, I spent too much time watching cartoons and doodling.  After being introduced to Punk Rock in the early 80’s, I started designing album covers, t-shirts and flyers for various punk bands I was friends with in Chicago.  This led to abundant work as a silkscreen concert poster artist, supplying hand crafted promotional posters to bands and venues across the country.  I eventually fulfilled a childhood dream and became an artist working on mainstream comic books.  I’ve spent the last 20 years working on such classic icons as Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. My work has helped shape comic book pop-culture as we know it today. I’ve often been credited as being a well-respected rising force in the art of color for the comic book industry. Most recently, I’ve been featured in the best selling book, The Art of Modern Rock, as well as, Kustom Graphics: Hot Rods, Burlesque and Rock ‘n’ Roll, from Korero Books.

*FYI: Silk Screening (or screen printing), is a printing method where ink is forced through areas of a silk screen that aren’t blocked out with an impermeable (water resistant) substance.  A roller, squeegee or sponge is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink into the open areas of the fabric (there’s a little bit more of my Warhol knowledge for ya ).

What sets you apart from other artists? What makes you stand out in a room of artists?! My determination and desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances.


I see that you liked to read comics as a kid?  Favorite comic book? Would you ever start your own? Yep, I loved comics when I was a kid!  I learned to read by reading Spider-man comics – That’s always been my favorite.  I do have some ideas for a comic series of my own.  Maybe someday, but for now, I’m quite content having built a nice career spanning 20 years working in the comic book industry as a digital colorist.gogogs2

So you like old school punk rock, huh?!  Favorite band?  Have you made posters for any of your favorite groups? I grew up on the music of old school punk rock.  A lot of Chicago stuff Naked Raygun, Effigies, etc…  Also other bands like Social Distortion, Cro-mags, UK Subs, the Damned and Bad Brains…  And yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to make posters for some of my favorite bands and meet them!   I kinda geeked a bit when I met the Go-Go’s.  Jane (Wiedlin) was such a sweetie when I asked her to sign my poster. I shot pool for a while with Mike Ness from Social D.  I’ve hung with the DGeneration guys too!  My favorite was that I had a series of long rambling messages on my answering machine from Joey Ramone when I did a poster for him. I wish I would’ve saved that.

Just out of curiosity…seriously, is SCHWAGER really your last name (I’m slightly jealous & want a cool last name too) ? Yep, it’s my real name.  First generation American and damn proud of it too!

How do you incorporate Sharpie markers into your work? I started using Sharpie mostly for accent work on my paintings.  A little line here or there….  But Sharpie water-based paint markers are my favorite!  I started using them to paint custom toys for gallery shows. (cherry bomber pics)  (sweet leilani jpg)  Sharpies are easy to use; there is a nice wide array of colors to choose from and variations in line weight.  I just wish you guys made a flesh tone color.  It would work wonders for me with my pin-up nose-art work.

dontfeedtheanimalsWhat does the creation process involve?

1)Planning out my graphic

2)Transferring the design to the substrate

3)Busting out the Sharpies and going to town!

You’ve done a lot of different types of work, poster art, designing apparel, cyanotypes..you name it, you’ve done it!  What are your personal favorites? I really enjoy doing my faux nose-art inspired bomber panels.  From the fabrication, to the painting to the distressing, an all around good time.  I just wish there were more hours in the day, because I’d love to make them non-stop if I could!cherrybomber01

What has been your most well-received art? It’s a tie between my bomber panels and my cyanotypes. The cyanotypes are more affordable to most folks, but the bomber panels really leave most folks awestruck when they walk into a room and see them hanging on the wall.

What are you currently working on? Well, I’m in the process of setting up a print shop so I can start running my own art prints.  It’s been over a decade since I pulled a screen printing squeegee, but I’m really looking forward to it!

What do you see for the future of your work? To be hanging on the walls in galleries and in people’s homes world-wide.

Where can I find Rob Schwager art?! In the store, at robschwager.com

* * * * *

sweet_leilani2Need more SCHWAGER?  No problem!  A guy with this much talent needs to be seen and heard~click on the links  below to learn more about the artist, see more of his work, and then buy some art for yourself!

Rob’s Homepage is http://www.robschwager.com

Check out his blog too!! http://www.robschwager.blogspot.com

Take a look at Shwager’s photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/robschwager

Follow him on Twtter!  http://twitter.com/robschwager

And of course, hop on over to MySpace:  http://www.myspace.com/robschwager

Rob Schwager knows how to Uncap What’s Inside!!