The Sanity Clause ~ An Artist’s Legal Right

At lunch I hopped over to the Art supply store to snag a white gel pen. Mine was woefully empty. I grabbed a few .005 black microns, mine also out of ink, and headed to the check out. I had a skin tone copic sketch marker (E18-copper) in my pile. I couldn’t remember if I’d already bought this color so I inquired on their return policy. I wanted to make sure I could exchange it if need be or I’d just come back for it later.

“You must make a living doing art” the clerk’s response.

“Why?” I almost responded- though I already surmised he was referring to the cost of these markers. They don’t come cheap. And if I had so many as not to remember which ones it seemed a logical conclusion even to me. I knew what he meant as most starving artist do. My next impulse was to confess “It’s my obsession. I hoard art supplies.” Instead I bit my tongue.

“No I don’t make a living. I make money but I don’t support myself through art.” I replied in defense of my glut. Can one be addicted to Copic markers?  I pondered silently to myself.

“Hmm. So it sounds like Christmas Cash.”

“Yes” I responded though bus fare was more accurate. “Honestly this is how I keep my sanity, through my art.”

“Oh, so then it’s the Sanity Clause.”

“Yes that’s exactly what it is.”

Chico:” Wait what’s this say here?”

Groucho: ” Oh that. That’s the usual clause. That’s in every contract. That just says if any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right minds. The entire agreement it automatically nullified.

Chico:” Well I don’t know”

Groucho: ” It’s alright. That’s in every contract.That’s what they call a sanity clause.”

Chico: “Hahaha. You can’t a fool a me there ain’t no sanity clause”


I am constantly striving to hone a method of illustrating that works best for me. I used to work with colored pencil. Then wanting a softer, blended look I began experimenting with watercolor. That just hasn’t seemed to work for me. My drawings became a hybrid-watercolor and pencil.

Then it all changed. This weekend I discovered markers. I know where have I been?……illustrating under a rock? To be more specific I discover Copic markers. After all Arturo Elena uses them.  I think I am in heaven. I love color and they have plenty to choose from. This allows me all sorts of options for blending and shading.

With markers I found I could create the saturation I was after. It allowed me to be more precise in application and build up the color and create depth in shading. Now mind you I can often overwork a piece to death. I have not mastered subtly or the art of using negative/white space as Anna Kiper so perfectly illustrates in her book.

There is definitely more refining to do as I develop my technique further. I am still using a light flesh tone watercolor base for the skin and colored pencils with the blend tool for texture. I love the warm and cool grey tones and pale yellow for a touch of highlight.

Armed with my new find I revisited two of my early sketches Tatiana and Knuckle Punch bringing them color. I still have more practice to do on leather since negative space seems to be a key. Remember not my strong suit. But for a first go I am really pleased. I think I have finally found a medium to work in.

Images: DCT