How to Blend With Markers Like a Pro? – Beginners Tutorial

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to blend with markers

Art conveys one’s soul through different mediums. In terms of visual arts, portraying realistic drawings is vital through art blending. Blending is transitioning different colors so that the image will mimic the smooth transition of hues, just like in real life.

Did you recently get a hold of a fantastic set of markers? Perhaps you are tired of somewhat dull illustrations and want to try blending.

We got you! We will share techniques on how to blend with markers. Helpful tips and answers to frequently asked questions also await! Let us get started!

Methods to Blend With Markers


What to prepare?

  • Smooth cardstock paper
  • Art markers
  • Colorless blender
  • Non-porous surface, e.g., glass
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft paint brush

Choosing Colors with Closer Codes

One of the reasons why it is easier to blend alcohol markers is that they have color coding systems. Unlike in painting, it takes time to mix colors to come up with the right shades.

Moreover, choosing the appropriate color codes will make blending manageable. The closer the codes are, the smoother the transition will be.

You should also take note that if you are trying to blend a light and dark color shade, you will need a transitional color between the two.

In this manner, a color will bridge the shade gap between the two contrasting colors.

1. Coloring from the Lightest to the Darkest Shade

One easy marker blending technique for beginners is starting with the lightest shade.

Suppose you want to blend four shades of blue in the Copic Color System, such as B04, B05, and B06.

It is advisable to start with B04, then proceed to B05 while the ink is wet. Consequently, blend B06 with B05 while it is still wet.

If you are wondering why you have to shade while the previous shade is moist on paper, it is because markers are wet mediums. They blend better when wet.

2. Feathering or Flicking Technique

If you are aiming for a textured finish, you can try feathering. It involves flicking your pen to achieve feather-like strokes. Like the previous method, starting from the lightest to the darkest shade is advisable. This method also works well when coloring hairs or fabrics.

You should also note that to blend Sharpies in this technique, you will need to use the brush nib instead of the chisel tip.

3. Using a Colorless Blender


Did you try to color with markers without blender but failed miserably? Don’t lose hope because you can blend markers with blender.

A colorless blender, in particular, is a clear solvent that works like magic in blending colors and highlighting details. It is like a marker without color that helps shade with markers without streaks.

There are mainly two ways to use a colorless blender. The first is applying it before the colored markers, while the latter is using it to cure streaks.

4. Palette Blending

Have you tried the previous ways, and you’re still unsatisfied? Maybe palette blending is the perfect technique for you!

You will need a non-porous surface that will serve as your palette. This technique also requires the help of a colorless blender.

Transfer some ink from a Copic marker, for example, to a non-porous surface such as glass. You can do this by dabbing the brush nib on the surface.

Don’t worry about the ink drying off because tapping the colorless blender’s nib will reactivate the moisture. Then, use it to blend Crayola marker on the paper.

Moreover, you can use a colorless blender to mix two different colors on the non-porous surface.

5. Using Rubbing Alcohol or Water


Just a friendly reminder, only use thick paper if you want to try this method. Likewise, rubbing alcohol proves to be a useful solvent with art markers.

To blend Prismacolor markers, you will need a soft brush that will serve as an applicator for the rubbing alcohol.

First, apply the colors you want to blend on the paper. Consequently, brush the streaks or the overlap between the two colors with rubbing alcohol.

Furthermore, use the added moisture to blend the colors to produce the right shade you are aiming for.

Hence, you can also use this technique with water if your art markers are water-based.

6. Tip to Tip Blending

If you don’t have other tools like a colorless blender, perhaps you should try the tip-to-tip technique.

It is as simple as letting the darker shade touch the tip of the lighter shade. Then, use the marker with a lighter shade to color the surface you intend to have a darker color.

In this manner, the darker ink will first come into contact with the paper. Thus, leaving a smooth gradient look.

Note that using this method to shade with alcohol markers on smaller areas is practical, as doing it on larger drawings is time-consuming.

Helpful Tips During Blending

  • Invest in the best quality papers if you aim for a perfectly blended illustration, such as smooth cardstock papers.
  • When blending with markers, it is necessary to shade quickly before the ink on the paper dries. In this manner, the colors will blend smoothly.
  • If you are trying new techniques, always test the process on scratch paper before applying it to the illustration.
  • Do consistent direction of strokes and apply even pressure to avoid streaks.
  • You can always make adjustments and re-apply the shades on the surface if you think it is needed.

You don’t have to leave it as it is after trying to blend the colors.

  • Practice! If you want to improve your work, it is a must to try it several times to perfect the technique.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions


How do you blend markers for beginners?

You must know what colors blend well together if you are a beginner. Furthermore, practice blending with circular strokes, as this is easier than starting with straight lines.

Likewise, we advise coloring from the lightest to the darkest shade. It will be easier to correct a lighter tone than to lighten a dark tone by shading it again.

Watching drawing tutorial vlogs on Youtube can also help you gain insights and tricks to improve your work.

How do you blend with Sketch markers?

You can blend Copic Sketch markers in the ways mentioned above, such as choosing closer color codes and coloring first with the lightest shade. Besides, trying a colorless blender to prevent streaks and highlight particular areas will also help.

What type of markers are best for blending?

Alcohol-based markers are ideal for their vibrant look. They are meant for blending, but speed is necessary when using these markers.

On the other hand, water-based markers, such as watercolor markers, dry more slowly than alcohol-based markers. Therefore, giving you more time to blend.

In terms of brands, Copic, Prismacolor, and Ohuhu markers are known markers for blending. Azure markers are also easy to blend.

Can you use rubbing alcohol to blend markers?

Well, using rubbing alcohol is included in the methods above, so yes. You can dab just the right amount of this helpful solvent on the streaks to give you more moisture to blend.

Note that this technique is advisable on alcohol-based but not water-based markers. Alcohol and water do not work well together, especially if ink is involved.


Colors are meant to blend together to create an artwork with vibrancy and depth. That’s why knowing how to blend with markers is an essential skill.

Some of the tips are choosing the right colors, coloring from the lightest shade, and using a colorless blender.

We hope that you learned a lot from this post. Cheers to your artistic endeavors! It is a pleasure to be a part of your journey in your pursuit of arts.

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