The drying time for my ink and watercolor sketches presents a challenge when I paint at open mics, performances and outdoor events.

Craig Williams play bass

I either have to stop at least a half hour before the end of the event, or I have to bring my drying racks with me which means several trips back and forth to the car as well as being far more conspicuous and less mobile.  I like traveling light.  Drying time is also a consideration when traveling.  I can carry my little watercolor tin in my cargo pants along with brush, tiny water bottle and sketchbook, but I still have to walk around with the sketchbook open until it dries.

Contemplating painting live at a Blues Festival Fundraiser in July, I found myself forced to come up with a solution. Exploring the latest and greatest in watercolor markers I came across the Ciao Copic Markers.  After three weeks of over analyzing the choice, I found them online for half the price and free shipping at  After my first night testing them out, I am pleased and will go ahead with the design of my portable “body studio” that will enable me to walk around at a festival while sketching. The marker dries immediately; I  flip the page and start a new sketch.

Arne Englund and Rob Fraser

Sketches: Ciao Copic Markers focusing on line, shapes and values