art instruction and tutorials artist supplies education
art instruction and tutorials artist supplies education

The Magic of Markers: How to Draw with Markers

Drawing with markers is not for everyone, but when you want to use them, it's important to know how to use them well. Whether you use them to draw Manga, comics, fine art, and other illustrations, or whether you use them for scrap booking, technical drawings, fashion sketching, or graphic design at work, learn the best practices, and use them right.

Light to Dark
When you are working with markers, work from light to dark. This means you should first work with the lightest colors and move gradually to the darkest.

When you are using markers, you must first learn to use them appropriately. Markers, like most drawing and painting mediums, utilize a build-up technique. If you want more depth in single areas of color, create this depth by building or not building color with the marker. To create differentiations in the same color from shadow to highlight areas, use layers of color. The lightest highlight areas within a color should be one smooth, even layer, and the darkest areas will have multiple layers, with the midtones falling somewhere in between.

Wet Blend
Markers, like watercolor, will blend with each other if they are still wet enough, so use this characteristic to your advantage. If you want to blend two colors, lay down a nice wet layer with the first color and then proceed quickly to your next color.

Color First, Ink Last
If you are combining markers with ink, then make sure you ink over the top of the marker. Markers on top of ink lines will make them bleed or smear, so for the best line precision, marker first, ink last.

Marker and Colored Pencil
The look of markers and colored pencils together is a very nice one, but make sure you marker first, and then use your colored pencils. Good quality artist's markers, like Copic or Prismacolor, are more expensive than cheap kids markers (like Crayola), and using them on top of colored pencil can mess them up. So, marker first!

Test Strokes
Most markers will vary with how much color they lay down with every pass, so test your markers and learn them before you start working on an important piece.