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Beginners Guide: Alcohol Markers

Alcohol Markers are one of the most versatile mediums for art and colouring. Offering smooth coverage and amazing blendability - you can do so much with just a few of these markers.

But if you’re new to the world of art and colouring, picking up an alcohol marker for the first time can seem daunting. This guide will get you started with some simple techniques so you can begin your creative journey with confidence!

Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers

Spectrum Noir offers a range of dual-tipped markers which can be used to achieve different styles and effects. Classique Markers are a great all-rounder with a classic broad and fine nib combination for colouring and design.

For a more expressive, artistic result the Illustrator Marker features a fine nib and premium brush nib combination. You can learn more about Spectrum Noir markers here.

Shading and blending with Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers

The ink in Spectrum Noir Classique and Illustrator Markers is an alcohol based dye, which means the colours will apply very smoothly so that they appear more like paint or print. The ink is also slightly translucent which makes them perfect for layering and blending.

Before you get started

To achieve the best results with alcohol markers you need the right paper! Alcohol-based ink is likely to bleed on thin paper which can make colours go over the lines or appear dull.

A heavyweight, smooth and uncoated paper will minimise bleeding and keep your colours bright and punchy. Spectrum Noir’s Premium Marker Paper has been designed to work perfectly with alcohol markers. It’s also a good idea to pop a spare sheet underneath your work for extra protection.

Basic shading

The translucent quality of the  ink means that it gets darker with every stroke. This is great for shading because by layering the same colour over itself you can add depth.

Experiment with layering to produce a beautiful gradation of shade from light to dark. Alcohol inks blend best when wet, so apply your ink liberally and try to work quickly for a smooth transition from one shade to the next.

Layering with different shades

By gradually layering and blending a selection of darker shades in the same colour you can create deeper shadows and natural, realistic gradations. Layering wet ink on dry ink will create a more dramatic step-change in shade.

Transitioning between colours

With alcohol markers you can overlap and transition seamlessly between two colours. Choosing colours similar to one another such as blue and green will offer a more natural transition.

Mixing new colours

The translucent ink means that Alcohol Marker colours can be laid over the top of each other to create a new combined colour. This works by allowing the base ink to show through, for best results allow your base colour dry below layering your new colour on top. 

If this guide has inspired you to experiment with the stunning blended effects of Classique or Illustrator Alcohol Markers why not try this step-by-step colouring project?

You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve with just a few markers, and for even more advice,tips and inspiration why not pick up a Spectrum Noir Discovery Kit?