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The Unique Advantages of Alcohol Art Markers

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Alcohol markers have some very special qualities that appeal to artists.  The most important is how different shades of colors can be blended together.  This helps to create a gradient between the shades, thus creating shadow and highlighted areas in the image.  By applying a darker shade of a color to a lighter shade of the same color and using the tip of the markers to mix the two together, a colorist can achieve a smooth blend between the lightest and darkest colors in the grouping.

Alcohol markers allow artists create smooth blends between light and dark colors

Another important quality is related to the ingredients of the alcohol marker.  An alcohol marker contains alcohol and dye ink.  The alcohol, which evaporates after application, floats the dye ink onto the paper, reducing coloring lines.  A blending pen, filled with clear alcohol solution, can also be used to smooth the gradient between colors or “erase” color in order to lighten or subtract it completely.  Unlike watercolor markers and watercolor pencils, alcohol markers do not react with paper which reduces or eliminates tears in your work surface.

Alcohol markers are also permanent on most surfaces including paper, metal, wood, and fabric.  This allows the artist to alter and customize the supplies they used. 

Alcohol markers can be used by artists with wide range of abilities.  They look equally good when colored in without blending, as in the case of coloring a simple image using only one color, or colored with many different colors and shades of those colors in a more realistic and complex image with blending techniques and skills that have to be learned and practiced to achieve.

Alcohol markers can be used by artists with wide range of abilities.

As you can see there are numerous reasons why alcohol markers have been “adopted” by artists.  Their ease of use, blending capabilities, wide color ranges, and permanency make them a well loved and must have tool in any artist's tool box.

By Christine Ousley

This article as first published at

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