Amaze People With the Magic Water Marker Trick

A video of a stickman floating in a splash of water garnered attention in some corners of the internet for its apparent incomprehensibility. How could a stickman drawn with a marker suddenly float in the water or be pushed around by a human finger? Can stickmen use water to escape from a 2-D world? Are we about to be overrun by people from xkcd comics?

Turns out we'll be just fine, and it's nothing so nefarious as an interdimensional portal created by H2O. In the video above, animator Butch Hartman — the creator of the animated TV shows "The Fairly OddParents" and "Danny Phantom" — demonstrates the trick using some glass, a few dry erase markers and sketches from his programs.

It's pretty wild watching these tiny sketches come to life, but it's just science at work. Certain agents in the dry erase ink prevent the ink from sticking to non-porous surfaces, like glass, and that's why you can remove them with an eraser. If you toss in a bit of water to the mix, the water will just lift the ink off the surface because the ink and water's polarities are different. Or as Hartman reminds us, oil and water don't mix.

So the next time you're waiting for a meeting to start, and someone won't mind if you mess with the glass table in the conference room, you can show off this trippy trick.