You finally bought those gorgeous markers to go with your coloring books. Yay! You’re finally taking your art and creativity to the next level— something you’ve been dreaming of for ages now.
But hold up…there’s just one teeny, tiny thing that’s blocking your path to ultimate creative success:
You don’t know how to use your markers.
The lines are streaky, the ink is bleeding out of the paper and blending one color with another seems like a pipe dream. Now what?
Well, don’t throw your markers out just yet. Like any other medium, markers can take a bit of getting used to, especially for beginners…which is why we gathered 11 of the best marker tutorials out there to help you on your coloring journey.
You don’t have to go far to learn how to color with markers; we’ve got them all here!
A Primer On Using Markers For Adult Coloring Books
Before we dive into the deep end, it’s important to get to know your markers first.
There are two major types of markers out there, namely water-based markers and alcohol-based markers. Here’s a quick run-down on their general traits and differences:
- Washable ink, so it’s not lightfast and not meant to last a long time
- Dry slower than alcohol based markers
- Usually doesn’t have a strong scent
- Usually non-refillable
- Leaves streaking
- Difficult to blend and layer
- Usually used by children and beginner coloring enthusiasts
- Not open stock so you have to buy a whole set
- Pigments last longer or are permanent
- Dries fast
- Enables blending and layering without streaking or damaging the paper
- Can be highly pigmented and can bleed through normal printer paper
- Preferred media of professional illustrators, artists and coloring enthusiasts
- Have a higher price point
- Usually open stock and refillable
- Some brands also have detachable nibs
Based on these general characteristics, it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to adult coloring, alcohol-based markers are the way to go. Water-based markers may be affordable, but they’re also near impossible to blend without streaking or doing damage to your paper.
That being said, the tutorials you’ll find in this post will focus on using alcohol-based markers.
Are you ready?
Here we go!
How To Color With Markers: The Basics
Okay, let’s start off by building your foundations. Every marker enthusiast started out with these basics: choosing the right kind of paper to use, how to lay your strokes properly, preventing uneven tones, and eventually, shading and adding highlights to your work.
This video is quick and straight to the point. Think of it as your welcome video to the world of markers. It doesn’t delve too deep, which is perfect for beginners who don’t want to be overwhelmed with too much information. Let this tutorial jump start your adult coloring journey using markers!
How To Choose Your Colors
Choosing the right combination of colors is important— but it’s also one of the hardest parts of coloring!
This is where the next tutorial comes in handy: it features an easy way to understand color theory, complete with fun little color wheels that you can make at home. Understanding big terms like “complementary” or “analogous” has never been this interesting.
The video also gives you practical tips, such as limiting your color palette and tying your colors together. Every beginner out there is guilty of choosing way too many colors for a single illustration…so take some notes!
On top of that, the video also talks about the importance of making color swatches for reference (the pigments can look different from the label!) and even getting color scheme inspiration from movies or TV shows.
Super Easy Tips and Tricks
Streaking and uneven blending has always been a challenge for those who use alcohol markers. Check out this tutorial to get some useful tips and tricks to get rid of streaking and achieve the perfect blend.
Super easy-to-remember tip: work wet on wet when adding layers.
Wanna learn three easy ways to shade and add depth to your work? That’s also discussed here, along with a primer on how to use colorless blenders.
What makes this tutorial special is that it also touches base on the different types of nibs and how you can use them to achieve your desired effect. It truly packs a load of information in just under 7 minutes.
A More In-Depth Tutorial On How to Choose The Right Paper
Markers are obviously more pigmented than pencils or gel pens— pick the wrong type of paper and you’ll risk ruining your art.
As mentioned on the last couple of videos, the type of paper you’ll be using when coloring is very important. It basically determines how the colors will turn out and how long the color would last on your illustration.
This tutorial breaks down the general criteria for choosing the right paper, namely:
- smooth and acid-free
- thick enough to allow layering
- only allows minimal bleeding
There’s lots of good types of marker papers out there, including Colorit’s very own artist quality paper, which checks all the boxes and then some. You can use this artist-grade paper to print free coloring pages!
How To Use The Chisel Tip
Working with a broad or chisel tip can be quite a challenge for both beginners and seasoned colorists alike. Some may find this tip unwieldy or difficult to manipulate, while others have trouble with blending and preventing streaks. This video shows you how versatile this nib actually is. With a bit of practice, you can achieve a lot of great effects, so don’t fear the chisel nib!
Top 5 Mistakes When Using Coloring Markers
Heads up: you might be committing some serious coloring mistakes.
In this short but super informative (and highly entertaining!) tutorial, you’ll know precisely what mistakes to avoid when using coloring markers. These mistakes include choosing the wrong paper (major mistake, as discussed in the previous tutorial), making a lot of streaky lines by laying down uneven strokes and bleeding all over the paper.
What makes this tutorial fun is that it not only points out how you’re wrong– it also teaches you the RIGHT way to do stuff, making coloring more enjoyable for everyone!
How To Color Skin
A lot of great coloring pages include illustrations of people in them. The challenge? Coloring skin!
How do you evenly distribute that preferred skin tone without streaking or worse, overdoing the entire thing? How do you layer and blend? And don’t even get us started on shading! Where’s the light supposed to go, and how does that affect the highlights and shadows?
These are just a few questions when you’re coloring skin. Thankfully, this comprehensive tutorial answers these queries very smoothly. While the tutorial uses a very expensive set of Copic markers, you can find great alternatives to achieve the same effect. The only difference is that you won’t have to break the bank in the process.
How To Blend Like A Pro
Blending is bliss when you’re coloring. Don’t you just love it when the markers seamlessly transition from one color to another?
Perhaps the only thing that’s coming between you and ultimate coloring bliss is that blending takes a lot of time to master!
First, you gotta know which colors blend well with each other. Sometimes you can decide after a single look, sometimes you have to swatch your entire set just to know which shades are compatible with one another.
It’s also important that you choose the right types of markers. Water-based markers, as mentioned earlier, do not blend well and will only leave streaks on your coloring pages. What’s worse is that they can even damage your paper, so make sure to use alcohol based markers when blending.
And of course, you gotta put in a lot of time practicing and perfecting your blending style. There are many techniques to avoid streaking and and achieve the perfect blend. This tutorial teaches you just that.
Blending definitely takes a lot of time and practice, but checking out a detailed tutorial like this should help you avoid trial and errors and buy you more time to enjoy your coloring.
How To Use Other Media Like Color Pencils
So, you’ve mastered using markers. What’s next?
Mix and match them with other media, of course!
What’s great about markers is that they do really well when used with other coloring materials, like color pencils. Mixing them together, as seen in this tutorial, can lead to interesting results that you can incorporate into your coloring style. If you want some additional oomph into those coloring pages, or want to learn a new technique, look no further than this tutorial.
Using Texture To Create Shade
Here’s another nifty technique that can elevate your coloring experience.
If you’ve already mastered the basics of blending, why don’t you take it up a notch by using texture to create shading in your artworks? Featured in this tutorial are texture styles like stipling, cross hatching and even using small circles to achieve a unique effect. Try some of them out on your next coloring session!
How To Rescue Your Dry Alcohol Markers
Last but definitely not the least is a smart little hack that can extend the lives of your alcohol-based markers, if only for a bit. This trick can possibly save you a lot of money in the long run and it’s very simple.
All you’d need are your markers, a dropper and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol. If your markers have dried out, a few drops of alcohol could breathe new life to them. Check out the full tutorial for the nitty gritty details.
Using markers is a fun coloring experience. A lot of enthusiasts love using alcohol-based markers because of their vibrant pigments and ability to cover large areas without stressing the wrists and fingers.
Starting out can be a challenge, but hopefully, with these tutorials and enough practice, you can use these markers to seamlessly blend colors and achieve beautiful artworks. Which video did you find most helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to share this guide to your friends who want to learn how to use markers.
As always, free your creativity and happy coloring!