A Beginner's Guide to Using a Marker Pen

A Beginner's Guide to Using a Marker Pen
6 min read
28 September 2023


Fabric permanent Marker pen are versatile tools that have gained immense popularity among artists of all skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned artist or just starting on your creative journey, marker pens offer a gateway to vibrant and expressive art. 

In this beginner's guide, we'll explore the basics of using a marker pen, from understanding different types of markers to mastering techniques that will help you create stunning artworks.

Types of Marker Pens:

Before delving into techniques, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the types of marker pens available:

  • Water-Based Markers: Water-based markers are known for their ease of use and versatility. They're great for blending and layering, making them an excellent choice for beginners.
  • Alcohol-Based Markers: Alcohol-based markers offer vibrant colors and smooth blending capabilities. They're widely used in illustration and comic art due to their rich pigment and quick-drying properties.
  • Permanent Markers: Fabric permanent marker pen are ideal for projects that require long-lasting and fade-resistant results. They're commonly used on surfaces like plastic, glass, and fabric.

Essential Supplies:

  • Quality Marker Pens: Invest in a set of high-quality marker pens to ensure consistent and vibrant results.
  • Paper: Choose a paper specifically designed for markers to prevent bleeding and achieve optimal color saturation.
  • Blending Tools: For water-based and alcohol-based markers, blending tools like brushes or blender markers are crucial for creating smooth transitions.

Basic Techniques:

  • Line Work: Start by practicing different types of lines - thin, thick, curved, and straight. Experiment with varying pressure on the pen to control line thickness.
  • Hatching and Cross-Hatching: Create shading and depth by layering parallel lines (hatching) or intersecting lines (cross-hatching).
  • Color Blending: Experiment with blending colors using either water or a colorless blender marker for alcohol-based markers. Gradually layer colors to achieve a smooth transition.
  • Texturing: Experiment with stippling, scribbling, or creating patterns to add texture and dimension to your artwork.

Basic Techniques for Drawing and Coloring:

Once you've chosen your marker pens, it's time to start drawing and coloring! Start with a light touch. It is easier to add colors than it is to take it away.

  • Build up color gradually. Apply multiple layers of color to achieve the desired intensity.
  • Blend colors together. Use a blending stump or your finger to blend colors together for a smooth, seamless look.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to using marker pens. The most important thing is to have fun and be creative!

Creating Simple Artwork:

  • Basic Shapes: Begin by drawing simple shapes and filling them with solid colors. Practice controlling the marker's strokes for even coverage.
  • Still Life: Set up a simple still life composition with objects around you. Focus on capturing the shapes, colors, and shading.
  • Basic Landscapes: Try your hand at basic landscapes, focusing on elements like the sky, mountains, and foreground. Experiment with blending to create depth.

Tips for Success:

  • Start Lightly: Begin with light strokes and gradually build up the colors and intensity.
  • Practice Blending: Blending is key to achieving a professional look. Practice blending different colors to see how they interact.
  • Experiment with Surfaces: Try using markers on different surfaces like fabric, wood, or ceramics to explore their versatility.
  • Study Color Theory: Learn the basics of color theory to understand how colors interact and complement each other.

Choosing the Right Marker Pens

The first step to using fabric permanent marker pen is choosing the right ones for your project. There are two main types of marker pens: alcohol-based and water-based.

  • Alcohol-based marker pens are the most popular type of marker pen. They offer vibrant colors and sharp lines, making them perfect for drawing and coloring. However, they can also be more difficult to blend than water-based markers.
  • Water-based marker pens are a good choice for beginners. They're easier to blend than alcohol-based markers, and they're less likely to bleed through paper. However, they don't offer as vibrant colors as alcohol-based markers.you'll also need to consider the tip size of your marker pens. Different tip sizes are better suited for different tasks.
  • Chisel tip markers are the most versatile type of marker pen. They can be used for drawing lines, filling in shapes, and lettering.
  • Fine point markers are best for drawing small details and lettering
  • Broad tip markers are perfect for filling in large areas of color

Here are a few additional tips for using marker pens:

  • Store your marker pens upright. 
  • Cap your marker pens when you're not using them. This will also help to prevent the ink from drying out.
  • Shake your marker pens before using them. This will help to distribute the ink evenly.
  • Test your marker pens on a scrap piece of paper first. This will help you to see how the colors look and how the markers perform.
  • Clean your marker pens regularly. 
  • With a little practice, you'll be using marker pens like a pro in no time! So what are you waiting for? Start creating today!


As a beginner, using a marker pen can be both exciting and rewarding. By understanding the types of fabric permanent marker pen, essential supplies, basic techniques, and practicing simple artwork, you'll be well on your way to creating impressive marker-based art. 

Remember that practice is key, and with each stroke, you'll gain confidence and develop your own unique style. So, pick up your marker pens and embark on a journey of artistic exploration and self-expression!

Read More: 10 Creative Ways to Use a Fabric Marker Pen

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