7+ Reasons Why You Should Use Alcohol Markers

Image of alcohol markers. Reasons why you should use alcohol markers

What makes alcohol based markers so good? Alcohol based markers have a lot of advantages over other art mediums. In this blog you'll find 8 reasons why you should try alcohol based markers and what makes them better than other mediums.

What are the benefits of alcohol markers?

1. Dual-ended tips

Imager showcasing the different nibs available on alcohol markers: Bullet nib, brush nib and the chisel nib
The different nibs that alcohol based markers can have.

Almost all brands of alcohol markers have 2 tips. Often they have a broad chisel nib and a fine bullet point or a chisel nib and a brush nib.

The chisel nib is really good for coloring in large areas very quickly. The bullet nib make it easy to draw the smaller details. And brush nibs can do both good. Brush nibs allow you to easily color the smallest details, but they also make coloring larger areas a lot faster, though not as fast as the chisel nib. The brush nib is also excellent for blending as it is so soft. Many artists love the brush nib as it is so versatile.

2. Get rid of white of paper

This was one important thing for me when learning about alcohol markers actually. It might sound so obvious, but I was used to colored pencils and I really hated the grainy look. And most of all I really hated that you could see the white of the paper through the pencils.

But alcohol markers were a game changer for me. You just color and the ink will cover every white bit of the paper. That's why I often use alcohol marker to block in the colors and later refine it with colored pencils.

3. Unlimited layering

Alcohol marker are capable of layering unlimited times. This allows you to create a lot of different colors with just a few markers. You can layer the same marker over and over to make the color a lot darker. You can also create a new color when layering 2 or more markers of top of each other. This is something that you can't do with water based markers.

Layering alcohol markers results in darker tones of the same color
Layering makes a color darker: 1 layer of a green marker on the left, 4 layers of the same green on the right.

4. Quick color blocking

As markers have a big chisel nib it makes it really easy to color very quickly. Unlike with pencils where you often need to move back and forth a lot of times to fill in an area, with alcohol markers you only need to do that a few times. This saves a lot of time compared to other art mediums. This allows you to make a drawing, sketch or render in a lot less time.

5. Very even coloring

Difference in streakiness and application of water based markers vs alcohol based markers
Alcohol markers color very evenly: water based marker on the left, alcohol based marker on the right.

Coloring very evenly is very easy with alcohol based markers. The best way is to color in small circles. On thing that can be a little difficult is to make sure the ink is still wet otherwise there might be a harsh line. But when done right the ink will evenly spreads throughout the area you have colored making it look very even without any darker or lighter spots.

6. Easy blending

Blending of two different alcohol based markers to show smooth blending
Blending green and blue alcohol marker.

Alcohol markers are the easiest blending markers there are. Because the ink is based on alcohol it blends and mixes with other colors really easily. To blend 2 colors you just color over the edge between the 2 colors with the lighter marker of the 2 and the colors will blend. It's that easy.

Using thicker paper will make it a lot easier to get it even. You can read more about what paper is best for alcohol markers in this blog I wrote.

7. Easily mixable to create new colors

Mixing alcohol mmarkers results in new colors
Layering green and purple results in a third color: a blue-ish grey.

Alcohol markers make it so easy to mix colors. Unlike water based markers that lay more on top of the paper, alcohol marker ink soaks more into the paper so you can layer and mix many colors together to create new ones. If you don't have an orange for example you can easily create that color with red or pink and yellow.

When drawing with markers you can easily change the color temperature by going over it with a light blue or light orange marker. The same goes for color corrections in general. If a part or a color in your drawing isn't green enough you can just layer some green on top of it and it'll mix with the colors that are already on the paper.

You can read more about this in this blog I've written called How to use alcohol markers - a beginners guide.

8. Refillable

There are a few brands of alcohol markers that are refillable. The most well known are Copic markers. Refilling makes the markers a lot more durable as you don't need to buy a new one every times one runs out. And refilling is often a lot cheaper than buying new markers. Copic Inks, for example, are capable of refilling a marker more than 7 times and costs only 5.50 USD.

Different brands of markers have different benefits, just like that Copic markers are refillable other markers might blend easier. You figure out which marker is best for you in this blog I wrote about the best alcohol based markers.

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