How to: Color shading With Alcohol Sketch Markers in 5 easy steps - Art-n-Fly

Gradient Coloring With Alcohol Markers in 5 easy steps

by Anisa A. Claire

Alcohol sketch markers

Looking for a fun way to spice up your coloring and not have it cost a fortune?  This is a simple way to really use your alcohol-based markers to their fullest potential and create a neat effect in the process.  Let’s quickly look at what you’ll need to try this great technique…


  • Two blank sheets of paper
  • Alcohol-based markers. Any brand will do.
  • A coloring page with small to medium size spaces


You’ll need one blank piece of paper to test your colors on and the other one you’ll use to slide behind the image you’re coloring just to catch any possible bleed through to the next page.  It’s always a good idea to do that when you’re using a wet medium.




Pick two colors you think would look good blending into each other.  You can choose colors in the same family or go a bit outside the box and pair up colors that aren’t in the same family.  That’s the great thing about this technique, there really aren’t any rules as to what colors should go together. It’s all up to you as the colorist. 



Alcohol sketch markers Hold the lightest color marker with the tip facing up.  Grab the darker color marker and hold it face down.  Touch the two tips together to infuse the colors.

The top marker is the one doing the infusing, so be sure to use the darker one as the top marker rather than the lighter colored one.




Keep them held together for about three seconds.  Three seconds is a good amount of time to do a test and see how much coverage you’re going to get.  If you’re using a dark pink to a light pink, for example, you’ll likely find you’ll need to infuse them longer.  Whereas, if you’re going from orange to yellow, a quick three second infusion is plenty. In fact, colors like orange to yellow or dark purple to pink you won’t want to infuse much longer than that because the darker color can be quite dominant and you would have to color a fairly hefty area to see the gradient effect take place.



Alcohol sketch markers Color on your test paper until the dark color fades out into the light color.  That will give you an idea of the size of space you can cover on your picture.



Repeat the steps above, but this time apply it to your actual coloring sheet! It’s that easy.  Fun stuff, right?


One other thing, you don’t need to infuse to cover the whole top half of the darker color.  You can pick a starting point, halfway, and start working your way down. Then when you’re done, simply cover the top half with the darker color.  It will line up with the darkest part of your infused section.


Hope this article was helpful!


4 Responses


June 07, 2017

Does this ryin the markers?

Fran Ragnone
Fran Ragnone

June 04, 2017

A good article on markers which I really need to learn more on. This is a great job on blending. Thanks


October 05, 2016

Cleo Fraser Which markers do you have? If they don’t say on the box what the ink base is you can always run a search on the manufacturer’s website

CLeo FRaser
CLeo FRaser

October 02, 2016

Anisa, these are Great tutorials! Thank you for them. Always like to read/try out new techniques.
How do I know if the markers I have are alcohol based?

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