Marker Drawing Techniques to Improve Your Art
Table of Contents:
Fun & Easy Techniques for Using Markers
Using markers for drawing and coloring is so much fun! They’re easy to use, come in more colors than you can imagine, and there’s not a lot of preparation involved in using them — just pick one up and get started! Yet, it takes skill to master marker drawing. Here are some basic methods that will help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
Markers come in various bases. Some are based with alcohol, while others use water or strong solvents as a base. Alcohol-based markers dry fast, are waterproof, and have little to no odor. That’s why we recommend them over the other two types. Arteza EverBlend Markers are well suited for drawing in your sketchpads or other art making including decorative crafts. Besides their incredible range of colors, they have dual tips. One end features a medium 0.11” tip, while the other has a chisel tip of 0.24” for twice the options in one.
Marker Drawing Basics
Alcohol-based markers are semi-transparent and allow you to make smooth gradients that almost replicate watercolors. Since they dry quickly, you can repeatedly layer colors without causing tears or rough spots on the paper. Applying while the mark is still wet will offer the smoothest gradient.
TIP: By making layers of one color, you get darker variations of that color. Layering different hues will let you achieve unique colors or subtle gradients.
Using the Small Tip
A small tip draws a thin line with a consistent width. It works best for outlining or adding small details. Use hatching, or the continuous close placement of straight lines, for coloring an area.
Using the Chisel Tip
The chisel tip is a wider tip and is designed for quick color filling of broad areas. Also, by turning and using the side of the tip, you can achieve lines of various widths, some even thinner than a fine tip.
Color Filling — Single Marker
Here are four basic ways to fill in an area using a single color. Depending on the look you are trying to achieve, how you place or move the marker on the paper can make all the difference.
Smooth & Continuous
To fill an area evenly when drawing with marker, move it smoothly in a continuous motion without lifting it from the paper.
Lift the marker from the paper with each new line to form striped hatching (overlapping lines) that can imitate rough surfaces, such as wood.
By moving your marker unevenly in various directions, you achieve a chaotic filling suitable for adding random texture, such as you would use for foliage.
Create a contrasting darker shade of color for well-defined borders or shadows by repeating layers of the same color.
Color Filling — Two Similar Colors
The key thing to remember to make a smooth multi-color gradient is to choose markers in the same value range. This means choosing colors similar in intensity (i.e., lighter shades with lighter, darker ones with darker). The more contrast in tints or colors there are, the harder it is to make a smooth gradient.
We've added the color numbers for the EverBlend Art Markers in all of the following examples. Click here to get them.
Two Different Colors
Apply the lightest value. Here we’ve decided to use А9423.
Apply the next value of this shade as a second layer. We’ve used А422.
Once again apply A9423 to the border between the two shades to achieve a smooth gradient from one hue to the next.
Two Different Colors
Get fascinating combinations by combining hues located closely on the color wheel. Here we used blue and turquoise, А268 and А266, as examples.
The more tints you use, the harder each transition from one color to another becomes. For example, to convey the volume of an object fully, you should try at least 3 markers: one for light, one for midtones, and one for shadows. There are two ways to draw a gradient with these markers — from light to dark (the most common and recommended one) and from dark to light.
Extended Gradient - Light to Dark
Using А5959-А5947-А546 - grass green gradient.
Fill in the whole area using the lightest marker, А5959.
Then darken the midtone and what will become the darkest area with А5947.
Before it dries, blend and blur the border with the previous light marker, А5959.
Create the darkest area with the darkest marker, А546.
Blur it the same way as with the previous marker А5947 to achieve a smooth transition.
Extended Gradient - Dark to Light
Fill only the space that will be your darkest color with the darkest marker, А546.
Use a midtone marker А5947 over the dark part and then fill in the center section of the paper. Blend and blur the border between dark and midtone. After that, fill in the remaining area with the lightest marker, А5959, and blur the border between midtone and light tone.
HINT: To get smoother gradients, draw over while wet. Don’t wait for your last layer to dry. If it dries, you won’t be able to blur the lines between colors but will be able to see the lines separating the layers.
Create Some Textures
Apart from using parallel hatching and gradients, you can apply dot hatching for different artistic tasks, such as adding glitter. The key is having good contrast between the lightest tints and the darkest ones.
Draw the first layer of dots from the lightest marker, leaving white spaces for flares. We used A267.
Randomly add darker dots in А263.
Repeat the previous step using a darker marker in A8272.
To make your glitter really shimmer, use a white gel pen on top of the darkest dots.
Vary your hatching to draw different textures like grass, hair, or fur by using a mixture of parallel lines going in different directions or in assorted lengths, such as long diagonal lines or short curly ones.
Here we’ve mixed in colored pencil and white gel pen. Colored pencils add character and details and achieve an even smoother gradient. A white gel pen works for adding small flares, hairs, and sparkles. You can hide unwanted lines with this valuable tool, too!
Use a Blender
This colorless marker washes pigment out of paper. It can be used to fix small flaws or to make smoother gradients, as well as to achieve various effects, such as glowing.
Fill your surface using the lightest color (we used A949) leaving white spots to represent the light.
Use a midtone, such as A9423, to fill the shadow areas, and blur the edges using the previous marker.
Make shadows deeper by using A422 and A611 while also blurring them.
Use the blender for the edges of white spots to make them glow. Some of them may remain white, while others may be filled with the lightest yellow tint.
Fill the whole surface with А949.
As in our first method, make shadows deeper by using mid-tone marker A9423, while also blurring and blending them and leaving yellow circles of light.
Lighten your yellow spots, using blender to achieve a glowing effect.
Rub Two Marker Tips Together
Get a chameleon effect by pressing the tip of one marker against the tip of another until the color is transferred and then draw on paper. Here we used А268 and А884.
Beware: This technique stains each marker’s tip and it will take a lot of work to restore them to their original colors.
Use Household Supplies
Using items you have around your house will also help you discover unusual designs and textures.
Beware: These next techniques use a solvent. Solvents are toxic, have a strong odor and should only be used in a well-ventilated area by adults.
Paper Towel & Solvent
Apply a single color over your surface.
Dip a paper towel in solvent and press on and off the surface for these irregular shapes.
Cotton Swab & Solvent
Apply a single color to your surface.
Dip a cotton swab into a solvent, then dab across the surface to get these randomly shaped orbs.
The best substrate is marker paper as well as paper used for watercolor painting. It’s not recommended to use markers on gessoed canvas, as it will not adhere and only leave streaks.
Alcohol-based markers can be used on glass, metal, and fabric.
To make sure you’re using the exact color you want on your art, test each marker on a scrap sheet of paper first.
There you have it — some wonderful techniques to have fun and get inspired by trying Arteza EverBlend Markers. Whether you’re just learning how to draw with markers or you’ve been using them for a while, we hope these tips will help you on your artistic journey.
Once you’ve practiced the marker techniques shown here, you’ll be able to create an amazing drawing like this.