7 Tips for Working with Alcohol Markers

What’s not to love about drawing with alcohol markers? They require no prep work and can be used while sitting in bed or hanging out at your favourite coffee shop. The colours are vibrant and versatile so you can create anything from portraits to anime. However, they can also be an intimidating medium for artists because alcohol ink is permanent, so once you’ve drawn something, there’s no going back!


We recommend using a paper made specifically for Alcohol markers. These papers tend to be thin and smooth and coated on the opposite side. An added bonus is the colours of the markers will be brighter and it will be easier to practice skills like blending! Bleedproof Paper or Pads will be your best bet. These pads can also be used for incorporating pencils

Look for a paper that explicitly states it’s for use with markers/ink for the best results, but you can also try Bristol board and illustration board. 


The trick here is to move SLOW…..this ensures even coverage. Using a colourless also helps blending the colours together and creating that special printed effect.


Create a colour chart with all your markers on the bleed proof card, as this makes its easier to pick complementary colours. Another thing to consider is that the colours are lighter when dry. Testing the colours in advance will make sure you choose the correct shade for your drawing


Most markers are duel tipped and comes in a Chisel, brush and small bullet nib. Brush nibs are flexible like a paintbrush and lend themselves to creating beautiful soft lines. These nibs can go from a very line to a broad line. All Copic Marker pens nibs can be replaced.The chisel nib on the opposite end of the marker is great to fill in large areas. 


In addition to fine line pens, markers combine well with a variety of media. Coloured pencils and markers go together like coffee and doughnuts, but markers also work well with watercolour and watercolour pens as well as gel pens (sukara) on top for highlights. 

Its typically best to start with the permanent media first and build your layers with waterbed media and erasable media and top off using gel pens for highlights


We recommend you start with the lightest tones first, start with at least 2 shades lighter than what you had in mind and gradually add richer ones as you go along as you can always add pigment but with markers, you can’t take any away. You can leave white spaces to create highlights or add them later with white gel pen. You can then use a colourless blender to soften edges and blend colours together. 


Fine line inking pens can create your initial drawing to take off the pressure of getting the edges right. Use permanent markers or Sakura Pigment liners for edges that don’t budge, or if you want softer edges you could use one that’s water soluble.

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