Everything You Need to Know About Watercolor Markers

On Saturday night, I hosted a live watercolor marker workshop over on Youtube.  We talk about different types of waterbased markers, some techniques to use them, and together we use watercolor markers to paint a vibrant waterlily.

If you couldn't make it Saturday, you can check out the livestream here:

Watercolor markers come in two main ink types- pigment based inks (Winsor and Newton watercolor markers, Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor markers) and dye based inks, with dye based inks being the majority.  I talk about watercolor markers a bit more in this blog post!: https://nattosoup.blogspot.com/2018/02/watercolor-markers-watercolor-basics.html

Dye based watercolor markers don't really differ from regular waterbased markers like Crayola Supertips- what differs most is the tip and the way the markers are marketed, so if you have Supertips around, you can use these as watercolor markers!

In fact, here's a couple tutorials that show how to use Crayola Supertips as watercolor markers!

Crayola Supertips Watercolor Hack:

Love Beam: Crayola Supertip Tutorial

Undersea Mermaid

There are a few stand out great dye based watercolor markers though- Ecoline's (love the brush tip, and they're refillable!), and brushpen style watercolor markers like Mermaid Markers and Pentel's dye based brushpens.  Keep reading for embedded videos of those reviews!

Here's a video to help you understand the differences between pigment and dye based watercolor markers.  This should help you figure out which markers might be best for you!

The Best Watercolor Marker ?!- A Watercolor Marker Demonstration:

The difference between dye and pigment is important- it's going to drastically change how you handle these markers, and change what techniques you use.

In general, dye based watercolor marker art is going to have no granulation, it may have color separation as the dyes separate out into water, and how you actually handle the markers will differ, as dye based inks are often prone to reactivation AND staining.

In the end, your dye based watercolor marker art will also have a color gamut similar to alcohol markers, although they handle quite differently.

Pigment markers (including those that utilize India Ink) tend to be more permanent when dry, so you may not be able to blend or lift color.  With direct application, they may stain the paper, and may be more difficult to blend using direct techniques.

So something you're going to want to consider when working with watercolor markers, regardless of ink type, is the fact that your tips will probably abrade the paper.  Unlike alcohol marker ink, which dries almost immediately, waterbased and watercolor markers take longer to dry, leaving the paper vulnerable.

Watercolor markers, when applied to the paper, don't blend out as nicely as tube and pan watercolors, and you may not be able to blend out at all.  This is why you may also want to work with a ceramic plate or non porous work surface and watercolor brushes or a waterbrush.  This is also helpful for color mixing, and creating diluted version of your colors.

So now that we've talked about the basics, I'm going to share a few reviews for watercolor markers I like, in case you're in the market for markers!

Ecoline Watercolor Markers- Foam rubber brush tip, dye based, refillable

Blog Post: https://nattosoup.blogspot.com/2017/07/ecoline-markers-and-liquid-watercolors.html

Mermaid Markers- Brush tipped, dye based

Blog Post Review: https://nattosoup.blogspot.com/2018/02/mermaid-markers-watercolor-basics.html

Pentel Brushpens- Brush tipped, dye based

Kuretake Clean Color Real Brush Markers

Blog Post: https://nattosoup.blogspot.com/2015/11/watercolor-marker-review-zig-clean.html

Winsor and Newton Watercolor Markers (these are going to be discontinued soon):

Blog Post: https://nattosoup.blogspot.com/2014/10/mini-review-winsor-newton-watercolor.html

Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers:

Karin Brushmarker Pro- Reviewing Polish Markers

And now some tutorials to help inspire your art!

Watercolor Marker Workshop (Winsor and Newton)

Winsor and Newton Watercolor Marker Tutorial

In the Name of the Moon! A Great Alternative to Alcohol Markers:

Painting Vibrant Succulents with Arrtx Watercolor Markers:

Mermaid Markers Field Test:

Paint a Pumpkin- Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers on Strathmore Toned Blue:

Succulent with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers:

Pentel Brushpen Watercolor Field Test:

Succulents Step by Step with Ecoline:

Colored Leads and Clean Color Markers Tutorial:

Axolotl Illustration Tutorial with Zig Clean Color Real Brush:

In the Spirit of Friendship:

A Field of Flowers- Loose Watercolor Tutorial:

Here's a whole playlist of waterbased marker reviews and tutorials, if you want more!


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