After recently trying out products in the Pebeo range, I've now turned to the 4Artist marker pens. I've wanted to produce a new Formula One painting for some time now, and these seemed to be the ideal medium to incorporate alongside SAA Acrylics; both for the distant horizon, and also for the detail in the cars themselves.

I loosely based the painting on The Singapore Grand Prix because of the fabulous skyline of buildings, which I can use the markers for. The best way to plan a painting is by using your own photographs and research, however, unfortunately I have not been lucky enough to visit this city, so have had to base my composition on internet research. It's important not to copy anything that you find, as photographs and paintings have copyright on them, and you can get into all sorts of trouble if you infringe on these laws. Consequently, I just gather thoughts and impressions from what I see, and these then gradually evolve into a painting.

36” X 24” stretched canvas
White gesso
SAA Acrylics:
French Ultramarine (102)
Yellow Ochre (604)
Ultramarine Violet (407)
Cadmium Yellow (606)
Cadmium Orange (512)
Titanium White
Black (713)
Daler Rowney 1” Skyflow

1 I started by creating the background with SAA Acrylics. I've discovered that white gesso has a slower drying time than acrylic, so I applied a thick white coat of it to my canvas to begin. I then squeezed little blobs of acrylic straight from the tubes onto the painting.

2 Next, using a wide flat brush I blended them until I was happy with the results and then followed the same process on the bottom half of the painting.

3 Once this was dry, I used a set square to pencil in the buildings in the horizon – as it was important to me that they were straight!

Pencilled in buildings

4 The markers are oil based and very opaque, and need to be used on top of acrylics.
For this reason, to ensure I didn’t mess anything up, I firstly pulled out the buildings with SAA Acrylics and a painting knife picking up small amounts of each colour all at once, and then I dragged them down to create a slightly unmixed effect. I was careful of any pure white areas as these will draw the eye, so anything too white was toned down with the other colours.


5 Once the buildings were dry (if they’re not drying quickly enough, you can speed up the process with a hairdryer) I added detail to them with the markers. The race is held at night, so as dusk falls the city comes alive with lights; this is where the markers are so good, as small, bold details are easy to add with precision.

6 After completing the background buildings I turned to the cars. I began by drawing them in with a pencil, agonising over the size and angle of them all, rectifying any mistakes with a putty rubber.

7 Once I was happy with the placement, I used a combination of acrylic paint and the 4Artist Markers to add all the colour. The application with the markers was far easier than using a brush and paint. I only used the paint where I didn't have a marker in the colour that I wanted - although some mixing is perfectly possible, as a 'pump' on the nib makes paint flow from the tip and this can easily be mixed with another colour.


8 I finished off with the impression of a crowd, some flags and a fence in the middle distance, and then added some white smoke which created movement and drama to the cars. A final flick of white acrylic completed the painting.


I really enjoyed using the markers to create this piece; I liked the control and strong colours that they gave me, and I shall certainly be adding them to my mixed media toolbox. I look forward to incorporating them in with other products from the Pebeo range.

To enjoy more of Julia’s art and to find out about her tuition, visit or her SAA web pages at