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What You Need to Know before Drawing with Markers and Ink

Drawing with markers offers almost instant gratification—markers are simple to use, require little prep time and dry quickly. Because the marking material is fluid, the smooth marks are unlike those made by dry drawing mediums.

Drawing with markers will offer you a range of brilliant colour that surely will excite your creativity. They’re ideal for creating loose lines, calligraphic designs and precise technical illustrations.One drawback to using them is that it’s not easy to correct mistakes. To work successfully, you need a bit of confidence and some drawing experience.

The many different types of markers go by various names, such as art markers, marker pens, artist pens, brush pens and paint markers. Art pens and markers come in every colour you can imagine and can be purchased in sets to save money. They vary in size and tip shape and are further distinguished by their colourant, which can be dye, ink or paint, and water- or solvent-based.

Different Types of Markers

When learning how to draw with markers, it’s important to consider the different types. Three common kinds of markers are listed below: water-based and solvent-based. Knowing the different qualities of each will help you choose which markers are best for your drawing needs.

Water-Based

Because they are odorless and safe to use, water-based markers are the best choice for children. But adults can obviously make good use of them, too.

Some have brush tips made of foam or dense fiber. Others are chisel-shaped or have nylon brush tips that distribute the color.

Water-based paint markers, such as Sakura Permapaque markers, are opaque, generally quick-drying and water-resistant when dry.

Most brush pens and markers are water-based and have flexible nylon or foam tips shaped like traditional brushes. They make marks similar to small round bristle brushes and have a similar feel in the hand.

Many brush markers are double-ended, with a fine point on one end and a wider tip on the other. Brush pens and markers often use acid-free ink, which is ideal for calligraphic work, art journals and book arts. Try Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo, Pitt Artist Pens, Pentel Brush Pens or Marvy Brush Markers.

Solvent-Based

This type of marker creates brilliant color and is waterproof and long-lasting. A popular solvent-based brand for design and drawing is Chartpak Ad markers, whose solvent is xylene.

The solvents in markers can be xylene, methyl isobutyl ketone or butyl acetate, all of which can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea. Markers with these solvents should be used only in studios with excellent ventilation. Solvent-based markers aren’t suitable for children.

Many paint markers are solvent-based and opaque. You can use paint markers on porous and nonporous surfaces. They’re generally waterproof, but not necessarily permanent.

Paint markers are most useful for craft or decorative projects and signage. Shake them to mix the paint inside, and ensure your workspace has proper ventilation. This marker type, which come in many colors including metallics, can be blended with Turpenoid or other solvents.

Using Dip Pens

Long before markers hit art store shelves, artists drew with pen and ink. Dip pens have been made from reeds or quills since ancient times. The simplest is a Japanese hand-carved bamboo pen that has its shaft shaped into a tip that can be dipped into a pot of ink.

A bit more refined is a pen with an interchangeable metal nib held in a simple wooden or plastic handle. Drawing nibs are pointed metal tips that are somewhat flexible so the lines produced are thicker or thinner depending on the pressure of the hand.

Similar nibs are also available in pens that hold a reservoir of ink inside the handle, like a fountain pen, obviating the need to dip the pen into a pot of ink. The reservoir can be a disposable or refillable cartridge.