Markers have come a long way since you were a kid! if you haven’t incorporated markers into you artwork, you’re in for a wonderful surprise! They’re so fun to use, add interest and that special pop to all my work. Here’s everything you need to know!
I love using markers for all my art! And there are so many amazing options now. While they all have pros and cons, they have one thing in common, they add that wow-factor to any artwork.
I’m going to share with you all I’ve learned over my decades as an artist about makers including markers definition, alcohol markers, copic markers, crayola markers, art markers, markers for drawing, markers ohuhu, colored pencils, markers for coloring, markers organization, markers drawing, marker drawings ideas easy, and more!
With decades of painting and drawing under my belt, I can tell you first hand that no matter what medium you are currently using, markers can take your art game up a notch!
This post is all you need to know about markers.
1. Markers definition
We’re used to thinking of a markers definition as implements that contain ink, useful for labeling and marking things like cardboard boxes and file folders. Or the other kind of marker, a highlighter, with neon ink.
But in case you haven’t heard, markers have come a long way ba-bee!
The benefit of these latest markers is that they come in a huge array of colors and have different tips, therefore they make different marks than paintbrushes.
And interesting marks give your work that wow-factor that draws fans.
I know when I first started painting I never thought of incorporating markers, but I’ve learned that this is one of the best and simplest ways to elevate a painting.
I’m going to explain all the different makers and how you can use them to create paintings and drawings that people gush over.
2. Art markers
In this post I’m using the more general markers definition: any implement that makes a mark, and designed for artwork.
Art makers can generally be divided up into alcohol markers, crayola markers, pencils and sharpie painting pens.
There are of course dozens of other options of art makers these days, but these are the ones everyone’s talking about now.
3. Alcohol markers
Of all the markers on the market, alcohol markers are currently considered the gold standard, so I will mostly be discussing these.
Alcohol markers use alcohol to distribute the paint. The alcohol dries quickly, so you can easily move on with your work.
In descending order of reputation/popularity they are: Copic markers, Ohuhu markers, Sharpie art markers and Crayola markers.
[Here’s another post you may be interested in: 8 Pro Painting Ideas on Canvas Every New Artist Can Do]
4. Copic markers
Copic markers are alcohol markers and probably the most talked about right now.
Here are the pros and cons of these art markers.
The pros of ethonol-based copic markers:
- They dry quickly, the ethanol can be replaced if the pen dries out
- Copics can last as long as 12- 18 months of continuous use
- Considered by artists to be the most versatile, highest quality, and longest-lasting alcohol-based marker available
- The nib (the brush nib) is considered the best in this category.
- Extensive color choices, 180, more than any other brand
- It’s possible to mix inks to create custom colors
- They are free of xylene and non-toxic.
- Copic markers are not harmful to skin
- They can be refilled with Copic ink refills
- Copic markers are expensive, from $250 up to thousands of dollars.
- If left uncovered, they dry out quickly, which can be an expensive mistake.
- They do not work well on multimedia paper.
- They bleed through regular paper
- Nibs have to be replaced when they get soft
- Marking directly onto dry paint can clog the nibs
The best surface for Copic markers:
- Copic Markers work well on watercolor paper. Watercolor paper is designed to resist buckling when it becomes wet with the alcohol base.
- Yes, you can use Copic markers on canvas. In my experience they work best on an acid free, coated canvas.
- Copics can be used on gesso. They start off a bit tacky to the touch but you can use this to your advantage and smudge the ink or blend colors for a unique mark. Gesso actually saves ink as it prevents the paper from absorbing it.
- Mixed media paper is especially bad for Copic markers, they work better on a smoother surface.
- Copic markers bleed through regular coloring paper. Use very thick paper, or marker paper.
Ohuhu markers are a good and less expensive alternative to Copic markers.
Plusses of Ohuhu markers:
- Have many colors including fluorescent and skin tone
- Effortless and smooth drawing
- Have different points
- Easy color and tip identification
- Great at blending
- Larger sets come with a color index included
Minuses of Ohuhu markers:
- They can leak through regular paper
- They have a strong odor
- Light tones run out fast
- The ink color doesn’t match exactly the color on the cap when it dries
- The smaller sets have no pastels
- Their tips are very rigid
- Expensive compared to other markers, but cheaper than Copic
Best Paper For Ohuhu Markers:
- X-Press It Blending Card. This is my absolute favorite paper for any kind of alcohol-based markers.
- Ohuhu Marker Pad Sketchbook.
- Copic Sketchbook.
- Bee Paper Bleedproof Marker pad.
- Strathmore Marker Pad.
[Here’s another post you may be interested in: Killer Guide To Painting For Beginners In Only 9 Steps]
6. Sharpie paint pens
The highlights of Sharpie paint pens:
- They are durable and very well made.
- Because of the fine points of the pen, they are great for calligraphy.
- These pens do not bleed on the other side of the paper.
- The pens dry quickly and with no smudges.
- They come with various choices of point shapes and colors.
- They do not have a strong odor despite being alcohol based.
The lowlights of Sharpie art pens:
- There are sample Sharpie pens but they are too small to judge.
- The thicker type of pens are too fat to easily store or put in your pocket.
- The prices are relatively expensive for a normal colored pen (but cheaper than Copic markers)
7. Crayola markers
Crayola markers come in alcohol and water based options, although these are not well marked on the packaging. The Signature Series markers and the Detailing Gel pens use water-based ink.
I’ll be talking about the alcohol-based Crayola markers in this post.
These have pretty much the same advantages and disadvantages as other alcohol-based markers: they bleed through regular paper, they have an odor and can dry out quickly if left uncovered.
Here are the advantages of Crayola art markers:
- The biggest advantage to the Crayola markers is their very reasonable price.
- The Crayola markers are attractive with clearly demarcated colors.
- These markers are thin, providing a comfortable grip in your hand and make for easy storage and carrying.
- The bullet-point tips offer precision drawing.
- The color options are limited to 14 with most of these being light. But you can blend colors for variability.
- The sets, such as the one shown below, come with blenders which is handy.
I want to end this section on alcohol markers with some other well-reputed options that are more reasonably priced:
8. Colored pencils
The benefits of colored pencils:
- Colored pencils give artists the ability to work in vibrant color and produce painting-like effects, without having to mix paints.
- There’s no lengthy setup or clean up time, only involves pulling them out then putting them away. This makes them ideal for artists that enjoy working outdoors.
- Those with a high pigment load giving artists the ability to produce intense colors that are typically only seen in paintings.
- Colored pencils can also be blended using turpentine to produce an effect that looks more like a painting.
- There are also ink-based and watercolor pencils that will allow you to create painterly effects in your work.
- Pencils allow you to work with a great deal of precision and a great deal of detail, more than most artistic mediums, including the markers described above.
- The art pencils don’t bleed through paper and their smooth lines are predictable and easy control.
- You can also layer colored pencils by using the complementary color of your primary color, you can create dark and warm shadows. and layer them dark to light or vice versa which makes them unique from the markers.
I’ve found that the high quality colored pencils have very few disadvantages. Those that are dull or short lasting tend to be low quality.
9. Markers for drawing
Since Copic markers are considered the best art markers of the bunch, I’m listing the best Copic markers for drawing here:
- Ciao-Copic Markers Set: Best for Beginners
- Secondary Tones Copic Markers: Best for Beginners
- Montana Rainbow Markers: Best for Doodling
- Copic Markers 6-Piece Sketch Basic Set
- Copic Multiliner Gray Pigment Based Ink
- SB24 Copic Sketch Marker Set
- Wallet B Copic Sketch Markers Set
- Tropical Garden Artist Alcohol Markers Set E – Altenew
- Ohuhu Double Tipped 40 Colors Alcohol Brush Markers
- Caliart Dual Alcohol-Based Tip Marker
- Prismacolor Art Alcohol-Based Markers
- Copic Markers
10. Markers for coloring
The Best Paint Markers for Canvas:
- Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip
- Mosaiz Fabric Markers Set + 36 stencils
- Crafts 4 ALL Fabric Dual Tip Paint Markers
- STA® Acrylic Permanent Paint Markers
- ARTOOLI Dual Tip Brush Pens
- STA® Acrylic Medium Tip Paint Markers
- EKKONG Permanent Paint Markers.
[This is another post you might enjoy: How This Amazing Planner Changed My Art Career And Life]
11. marker drawings easy
Both markers and colored pencils can be used to create amazing works of art or make existing are amazing. Both can also be used to paint and draw.
Try experimenting by mixing these to excellent artistic mediums. Colored pencils and markers were practically made to be used together.
Don’t sell yourself short by settling for one or the other. After using these tools for many years now, I find I can’t work without them!
How to start using alcohol markers:
First: It helps to start with a simple shape.
Then, try single color layering: The intensity of your colors shift as you lay down each marker. Lay down one color, then add a second layer of the same color to a portion of that image.
Lastly: practice coloring the shape with a light color. Gradually use the darker color on top using controlled flick-like strokes lifting the markers slightly at the end of the stroke
How to start using colored pencils:
High-quality colored pencils, have intense, vibrant colors. Don’t settle for low quality colored pencils which are often too light no matter what pressure you use.
Don’t be afraid to apply a little pressure on the pencil to put more pigment down. Colored pencils were meant to be layered to attain a deep saturation of the color, while still allowing a high level of control.
Another common mistake is failing to get a full range of values when shading. You have to put in dark shadows and bright highlights if you want a drawing to look realistic.
Also, artists tend to spend far too much time blending their drawings. If you blend your drawing too much, it will lose detail, turning it into a smudgy mess.
It’s okay to let some of the pencil marks show. If anything, it gives a drawing more texture and character!
12. Markers organization
Many of the markers discussed above come well organized in a container. But if you’re anything like me, you lose and add markers and pencils all the time. I always wonder if my studio has some kind of wormhole!
So, beside the original containers, here are some other ideas for your markers and pencils organization.
Art markers, including water and alcohol markers, should always be store horizontally. This is so the ink doesn’t flow away from the tip of the pen and dry out. This also prevents ink clogs when stored upside down.
I generally organize all my markers and pencils (and paints!) by color. All the blues in one spot, the reds in another and so forth. That saves me a lot of time when I’m looking for that one particular green.
Here are some clever and easy way to keep your art markers and colored pencils organized.
- Hang mason jars or plastic cups on a peg board.
- Glass jars arranged on a shelf.
- Multi-Drawer Storage Chest
- Wine rack
- An over the door shoe organizer
- A cube organizer with cross dividers
- Pen racks and holders also work!