Thursday, September 20, 2012

Markers: The Joy of Mr. Sketch

Oh, the joy.  Smelly markers!  This week, I've decided to introduce my 2nd graders to the sheer wonder of Mr. Sketch markers, and all the world is beautiful and fruit-scented.  My classroom smells like a box of Sweet Tarts.  I have been teaching them to "paint with the markers" and so far they are taking care of the fragile felt tips very well.  This takes discipline for 7 year-olds, but they agree that it's worth it for the aromatherapy benefits.  Ha!  I didn't get into the aromatherapy thing exactly, but the markers do in fact have a calming effect on the kiddos.  You think I'm kidding?  They work on ME, too!  Baby, when I crack these open, I feel like that jumpin' watermelon on the box.

Here's why I love this product:  They last about 3 times as long as Crayola markers, they come in better colors, and the chisel tips are versatile.  Plus the casing of the markers are the actual color, instead of just being white with colored details.  All these things make them  more expensive, but I've come to see that they are definitely worth the cost.  But here's a tip:  DON'T BUY THE CLASSROOM PACK.  Those come with weird foam tips on them, and while they still work just fine if you get used to them, they are not nearly as brilliant as the felt tips. 

Classpack (pink) vs. 18 color pack (purple) 

The classpack also only has 12 colors.  I like to just buy a couple of 18 color packs, and split them into warm and cool colors.  Some of my projects only require warm or cool colors, and also this reinforces that concept all year!

I find that this also saves time when kids are putting away supplies. 
Ok.  So how do you keep the kids from turning the lovely chiseled felt tips into furry fluff balls with no ink left in them?  Paint with markers.  I get 'em young, and when I first crack open the markers, I show them how to color.  I say, "You think you know how to color?  Well, watch THIS!"
Then I show them how coloring in a zig-zag motion takes forever, and the markers don't look as pretty.  I show them to color in a downward motion, in one direction. 

Yesterday I kept saying, "Go in ONE DIRECTION.  ONE.  DIRECTION."  Of course, a kid burst out singing, "Baby you light up my world like nobody else..."  And I laughed myself sick.  Then I had to play the song just to get it out of my head.  I am probably going to make a poster using the One Direction album cover, and replace all their faces with Mr. Sketch marker heads. 

UPDATE:  I made this. 



  1. I always loved getting the fine point version (fiddlestix) for my students. They loved them! And they loved how beautiful their papers smelled afterward, as well. My personal favorite: the brown- the warm cinnamon smell reminds me of autumn and apple pies in the oven.

  2. Oh Phyl, I love the cinnamon, too! I also love the black licorice, but they kids all think it smells gross, until I remind them that Root Beer has a similar scent. The fine pointed ones are great, too I feel. They tend to not last as long, to me, though. Maybe it's because the littles still want to color in big things with the fine tips.

  3. I have a 13 year old obsessed with One Direction! Funny poster! The first year I taught the teacher before me had bought Mr.Sketch for me to use with ALL my classes. At first I thought it was cool that they were smelly... after a few classes all coloring with them I had such a headache from the smell! I had students that were always smelling them had little dots on their noses from the tips! To save myself and the noses of my sniffers I got the principal to let me order some Crayola markers with no scent! The papers still smelled when the markers were dry! Some of my other art colleagues love the Mr.Sketch but for me I have to love from afar! :)

    1. They do make unscented ones, but the markers are white, and only the cap indicates the color. I don't find that to be the best, but they do color just as well and last a long time.

  4. One Direction, lol! Very cute idea.

  5. Great tips here- I've never bought Mr. Sketch for a class before, but have always wanted to. Now I know not to buy the class pack- SO glad I read your post first! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I wish I had seen this post earlier!! I bought the class pack. You are so right! They are not the same.

  7. I am totally showing your One Direction marker headed image to some of my high school artists!!! They will be all over it!!! Also, I, too, am a fan of the Mr. Sketch markers and your organization of them into cool and warm colors is genius. I might have to do that with my coloring/painting materials as well.