Although nothing will ever replace the experience of uncapping a fresh marker and “layin’ down” on top of a ready-to-go sketch, it can still be a time-consuming process that many may not have time for in today’s fast-paced, quick-turnaround world of product development.

Although we don’t necessarily approve of ditching analog sketching altogether in favor of an all-digital workflow here on SolidSmack, it doesn’t hurt to know what’s available for your digital toolkit when the time and need arises.

Among other tools that have caught our attention in recent memory is the Real Markers for Photoshop brush set that emulates alcohol-based and permanent markers from German illustrator Eilert Janßen.

“In my work as a professional illustrator and story board artist, I am always in need of good tools,” says Janßen, who started his career as an illustrator at one of Germany’s biggest ad agencies.

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Dissatisfied with existing brush sets – including markers found in other sketching apps including Sketchbook Pro – Janßen spent over six months developing a perfect collection of brushes that emulate the same alcohol-based markers that are commonly used in design and engineering sketches – such as those produced by Copic and Prismacolor.

“From time to time I was in need of a good marker brush but I found none – so I decided to make them myself,” he explains.

“Creating brushes is fun. It’s about getting the right feeling, the right friction and the right texture. It is quite time-consuming to get the components working. For this marker set I scanned over 200 textures distilled about 700 seamless, slimmed them down to 160 and chose about 20 for my set!”


Although he created the brushes for use in his storyboards, they can just as easily be used for any other application where a loose marker sketch aesthetic needs to be quickly emulated in a Photoshop sketch.

“I personally like the watery/liquid markers (SCHNAPPS Section) and use them a lot to lay down the basic lighting of a scene. The complete set is quite flexible and can be used in many ways. It is really fun to combine the different abilities of the different markers.”


Although Janßen is offering five of the brushes in his set for free on his Behance page, users can purchase his more robust set – which features all of the above – for just $9 over at Creative Market.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.