I adore using China Marker. It has the give and control I like in charcoal but without the mess. The graphic novel quality to the mark making is appealing. With practice, you can use eraser to create highlights and a smudging stick for shadowing, smoothing etc. At present I am enjoying limiting the palette to black on white or white on black, with one extra color highlight like red or blue. My Frida series uses the entire spectrum available online at Utrecht Art Supplies, especially my favorite orange. I did the following piece (re: my Sock Art) with just a black china marker (inspired by a fashion photo with Mary Kate and Ashley). Ooooh, that was fun!
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”
More china marker portraits: