Prismacolor Marker Tutorial – Guide for Beginners

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

prismacolor marker tutorial

So, you have just gotten a beautiful new set of Prismacolor markers. You are probably super eager to search for marker drawing tutorials and create your very own art project.

However, before that, there are things you should know to make the most out of the markers. So, in this Prismacolor marker tutorial, we will tell you everything you need to know. Read on!

How to Use Prismacolor Markers


1. Coloring

  • Paper
  • Prismacolor Markers


To color with Prismacolor markers, you must have ones with medium or thicker tips.

Those with extra fine or fine tips are not suitable. They should be used for adding details only.

  • If you have double-ended markers, use the wide end. Start laying down ink in strokes. You should use short strokes for small areas and longer ones for larger areas.
  • Alternatively, you can use circular motions. Begin with the lighter colors, then add layers of other darker shades. Make sure that you move quickly to avoid patchiness.

Note: Do not go over a single spot too many times, as you may oversaturate it. If this happens, the color of the spot will appear darker when it dries. If your paper is too thin, it might also bleed through, or cause the paper to rip.

2. Shading

  • Brush Illustration Prismacolor Marker
  • Double-Ended Prismacolor Markers (A 10%, 30%, and 50% one)


What you should do:

  • Begin with the 10% marker, on the wide end. Saturate your shading subject with it using moderate pressure.
  • Then, add shadows with the 30% marker, also with the wide end.
  • Finally, use the 50% marker to outline dark parts of the shadows. Use the wide end’s tip to lay down precise lines.

Note: If the ink of the double-ended markers comes out as streaky while you shade, all you need to do is press down harder.

  • Add the finish touches to bring out your shading with the brush illustration marker and complete your Prismacolor marker artwork.

For visualization, watch this Youtube shading with Prismacolor markers tutorial of a horse.

3. Blending

  • Paper
  • Prismacolor Markers (At least 2)
  • Prismacolor Colorless Blender
  • Rubbing Alcohol (Optional)
  • Brush / Cotton Swab / Cotton Ball (Optional)


What you should do:

  • Get two markers of the same color but in different shades, for example, light and dark blue. Use the darker marker to make several short strokes.
  • Then, right under or beside those strokes, use the lighter marker. Make sure the dark and light strokes touch.
  • Now, grab your Prismacolor colorless blender marker. Use it to go over the dark and light strokes that you have just made. Blend the colors, focusing specifically on the portion where they meet. It is most effective to use back-and-forth swipes.

Note: Remember to clean the blender as you go. You just need to use some scrap paper for this. If you want additional details, check out our other article on

Also, try to blend light to dark colors, then dark to light colors.

If you do not have a colorless marker for blending, you can try the tip-to-tip Prismacolor marker technique. Follow the steps below:

  • Again, start with a light-colored marker and a dark-colored marker. Uncap both.
  • Bring the two together and transfer some of the dark ink to the tip of the lighter marker.
  • Then, use the lighter marker to color or letter something.
  • Observe the blended gradient effect.

This works best for colors of the same family, or entirely opposite colors, like yellow and purple.

If you dislike this approach, you can use a brush and some rubbing alcohol as an alternative for the colorless blender. You can switch the brush with a cotton swab or cotton ball, too.

Tips to Use Prismacolor Markers

Pointer #1: Be aware of the bleed space

These markers have ink that will “bleed” and spread when laid down onto paper. And the amount of space this happens is called the “bleed space.” Always remember that there is this space when you are coloring, shading, or blending your artwork.

Pointer #2: Be aware of how quickly the ink dries


If you take too long to lay down more ink after it has dried, your overall piece can look uneven and patchy. On the other hand, if you apply more ink too early (while it is still wet), you can smudge or smear your work.

So, try using the markers on some scrap paper first to get an estimate of how quickly the ink dries. This might be different for different types of markers.

Pointer #3: Swatch your colors beforehand


It is essential to test the colors first. This “testing" process is also referred to as “swatching.”

You should use the marker on a piece of scrap paper, the same as your drawing one, to see how it appears and know what to expect in your actual artwork.

You can choose to do this each time you create a piece or keep these swatches for reference. Many artists dedicate a few pages to swatches in their sketchbooks.

A good tip for this is to note the code featuring letters and numbers for each tone and shade.

  • To avoid smearing:

Fresh ink can smear easily. Therefore, after laying down ink, give it some time to dry. Do not go at it with another ink layer, erase, or blend it, but let it dry first,

  • To avoid streaking:

This is a common problem for beginners. To minimize it, you can use circular motions or limit the number of times you lift up your marker. Sometimes, streaking will still occur if your marker is close to drying out. In this case, the best solution is to get a new marker.

  • To clean up edges:

To clean the borders of a shape on any easy drawing with markers from Prismacolor, you can use the colorless blender. It will function in the same way as an eraser. You will just need to use it to go around the outlines. But do not forget to clean the blender as you go.

  • To even out coloring strokes:

When you color in a single direction, there might be visible strokes that make your artwork appear unappealing. To fix this, simply color another layer over it in the opposite direction. However, you need to give it enough time to dry before applying the second layer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Are Prismacolor markers as good as Copic?

Prismacolor markers are considered quality markers like Copic. This is evident when you open a Prismacolor marker set. However, both brands have their own “cult fans.”

What kind of paper do you use for Prismacolor markers?

Your best bet is marker paper and bleed-proof paper. Thin papers are suitable for sketching, but not great for coloring and blending. For these, you need thicker papers that should still be fairly smooth. Cardstock is ideal for swatching Prismacolor markers.

Note: You can also use these Prismacolor markers on canvas.


Now that you have finished reading this Prismacolor marker tutorial, you should be ready to start your artistic journey and make the most out of the markers! The three key skills you need to master are coloring, shading, and blending.

And keep the tips we have mentioned in mind to elevate your art from good to great. Which tip did you find most valuable? Are there any other tips and tricks you would like to add? Share them with us in the comments down below.

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