How to Color With Sharpies?

There are countless methods to use for coloring, but some may not expect Sharpies to be a common method. However, Sharpie markers can make an excellent method to use for coloring. If you’ve never used Sharpies before to color, you may not know where to begin, or you may feel slightly overwhelmed by the steps. To help you get started, we have created a step-by-step guide on how to color with Sharpies.

Pick the Type of Sharpie You’ll Use

Sharpie makes multiple types of markers for their customers to use. The different types of Sharpies available to use include Ultra Fine Point, Fine, Super, Chisel, Fine Point, Twin Tip, Super Twin Tip, Magnum, and King.

Fine and Ultra Fine Point Sharpies come in the widest range of colors and will likely be the markers that you use the most when using Sharpies to color. Both of these types of Sharpies come in over 40 color options for you to choose from.

When picking the type of Sharpie you want to use, you mostly need to consider the size of the marker that you’re looking for. Ultra Fine Point will have the smallest tip when it comes to Sharpie markers. Fine Point markers have a slightly larger tip and make an excellent choice for a wide range of artwork.

The Chisel Sharpie is another great option when you’re creating art since the tip can be used in three separate ways. You can create broad, medium, or fine strokes when using the Chisel marker. However, you do need to keep in mind that this marker comes in limited color choices. It has 12 available shades (which is much less than the Ultra Fine and Fine Point Sharpies which have over 40).

Sharpies like the Magnum and King will have much larger tips. These markers are best to use when you are creating large artwork. If you are coloring in smaller designs, we recommend staying away from these types of Sharpies since you won’t be able to color as precisely with the larger tips.

If you’ve never used Sharpies to color before, we recommend purchasing a single marker in the various styles and then testing out each style. This will help you get an understanding of what style of Sharpie you like to use the most. It will also help teach you how each different tip size works and what you can achieve with each size.

Draw Your Design

The very first step involved in coloring with Sharpies is drawing your design first. We recommend drawing your design with either a pencil or a pen, so you can still make slight changes. If you start by drawing your design with a Sharpie or other type of marker, you will have a much more difficult job making any changes and will likely have to start over.

If you are new to drawing, you should start with softer lines. If you draw in your lines lighter, you will have an easier time making any changes to your artwork. Once you start coloring with Sharpies, you will not be able to make any changes (once the marker has touched the paper that you’re using). Therefore, it is essential to make any changes to the actual layout of the design during the drawing process.

Protect Your Surface

Sharpie markers are alcohol-based markers, not water-based like some other markers. The most important fact you need to know about alcohol-based markers is that they have a very wet consistency. Therefore, it is always recommended to protect the surface under your paper. Sharpies are known for bleeding through the paper and onto the surface below it.

You can use any method you like to protect your surface. You could use a piece of smooth cardboard or a thicker piece of paper below the paper that you’ll be drawing on. If you are using a pencil or pen, as we recommend, you aren’t required to protect your surface until you’re ready to color.

We highly recommend getting protection for your surface before you place any marks on your paper with a Sharpie. Alcohol-based markers like Sharpies can be extremely difficult to get off a surface once it’s been marked. Most alcohol-based markers are permanent.

Pick Your Colors

Once you have your design completely drawn and you’ve protected the surface under your paper, it’s time to start picking the Sharpie colors you want to use in your design! You may not think to pick your colors before you start coloring, but we recommend picking your colors first to make the actual process of coloring a lot smoother.

If you wait to pick the colors you want to use for your design until you’ve already started coloring, you may start to feel overwhelmed during the coloring process. If you are using Ultra Fine or Fine Point Sharpies, you can have over 40 colors to choose from! This can take up a lot of time if you stop to pick a color when switching to every area of your artwork.

By picking out the main colors for your design first, you will already have a good understanding of what colors you want for each area. This will allow you to smoothly and easily go from area to area of the design when you are coloring, already knowing what colors will work best for each piece of your artwork.

Thinking through your colors also helps you ensure that your design will be cohesive. If you pick your colors spontaneously, the colors may not blend and go together as well. In our opinion, you can never go wrong by picking your colors first.

Start with Solid Colors

To begin coloring in your design, you want to start with the sections that will have solid color first. The great part about using Sharpie markers is they provide a very solid and vibrant amount of color. When you use Sharpies, your color will be solid all the way through. It’s also easier to get the same amount of color throughout the design when using Sharpies.

We recommend coloring each piece of your design that will have a solid color first. By coloring in all the places that have solid color first, you will have a clearer idea of where you want your texture and shading to go once you are done with your solid colors.

If you jump around from solid colors to shading instead of doing all your solid colors first, you can get easily confused. Jumping around between solid color and shading can also make your coloring take much longer to finish.

Some artists choose to only use solid colors when coloring with Sharpies. There is nothing wrong with skipping on blending colors and adding texture. The great thing about coloring and art is that your artwork is completely up to you! There is never only one correct way.

However, if you do want your coloring to look more realistic, then we recommend continuing to the next steps and adding texture to your design. By using only solid colors, your design won’t have as much dimension. If you blend your colors and add texture to your artwork, it will add dimension and make your artwork come alive!

Blend Your Color

Blending your color is a great method to add dimension to your artwork when you are coloring with Sharpie markers. You can blend in multiple ways. You can blend using one marker, two markers, or three markers. Each way will be different.

To blend using one marker, you will want to start coloring the area you’re working on with your base color. Completely color in your area with this base color, ensuring that everywhere has a solid and equal amount of ink. Once the area has a solid amount of color, begin adding more color to the places that you want to appear darker.

For example: If you are coloring in a flower petal, add more strokes towards the bottom of the petal. You want to use a light feathering motion. The pressure on the marker should be light during this process.

You can add light strokes to the places you want to be shaded until you can start to see a difference in the tones. You ultimately get to decide how much blending you want to achieve for your artwork. Once you have achieved a blended and shaded look that you are satisfied with, your work in this area is complete!

To blend using two markers, start with coloring in your area completely with the lightest color that you are using. Similarly to using one marker, you want to ensure that the area has been completely covered with a solid amount of ink.

Once the area is completely colored in, use the second color (which should be darker) to start blending and adding shading. For our example, you would start at the very bottom of the petal and then make light strokes towards the middle of the petal. To increase your shading, you can also add extra strokes of ink at the bottom of the flower petal to give it more depth.

Once you have added the amount of the darker shade that you like, you’ll want to use the lighter shade again to complete the blending. Start at the middle of the petal where the darker shade ends and make your strokes go toward the top of the flower petal. This will blend the two colors and bring them together.

The last popular option for blending is using three markers. Similar to the first two options, you want to start with coloring in your area completely with the lightest color of the three. Once you have a solid amount of ink throughout the area, use the second marker (which should be in the middle of the three when it comes to the tone).

With the second marker, shade in two-thirds of the flower petal, using light strokes. Similar to the previous method, you’ll want to use light pressure and start your strokes at the very bottom of the flower petal and work your way to about a third from the top.

When you are using three markers, you will not need to add extra strokes at the bottom of the petal with the second marker. Your third marker will help you achieve the extra depth that you are looking to achieve. With the third marker, you only want your strokes to go to about a third of the way up on the petal. It should focus on the bottom.

After you’ve used all three markers, take your second marker and start your strokes where the darkest marker ends to blend the two colors. Then, the last step is taking your lightest marker and adding additional strokes from where the second color ends to the top of the petal. This helps you blend all three colors and get a cohesive look!

Add Texture to Your Design

Another popular way to add more dimension to your artwork is by adding texture, which is slightly different than blending! There are multiple methods that you can use to add texture to your design with Sharpie markers.

The first method of adding texture to your design is stippling. Stippling is a method that includes using very small dots to add texture. Some artists even create entire designs using the stippling method alone!

To use stippling, you will begin adding tiny dots to the section that you want texture. By using our previous example of coloring in a flower petal, you would likely want to start with stippling at the bottom of the flower petals.

The dots should be closer together and also more frequent towards the bottom of the petal. Then you will spread out your dots as you get towards the middle of the flower petal. This will give your petals more dimension and make the drawing look more realistic.

One thing to keep in mind when you are stippling is that you’ll want to use very light pressure when you are adding your dots to your design. We love using the stippling method because it is very relaxing, very easy to learn if you’ve never used a shading method previously, and it’s also a very quick method to add texture.

The second method that you could use to add texture to your design is called cross-hatching. This method involves marking small areas on your design where you want to add texture and shading. Similar to stippling, the X’s should be closer together and more frequent where you want the shading to be more prominent. This would be towards the bottom of the flower petal when looking at our previous example.

As you get toward the middle of the petal, you can start making the Xs farther apart and placing them more randomly. If you’ve never used cross-hatching, we recommend giving it a few tries first to see how you like your texture to look.

If you’ve never used any texture methods before, we recommend playing around with both of the methods we’ve mentioned here to see which one you like more. Both methods work excellently to add more dimension and realism to your artwork. It is up to you to decide what method you enjoy using more. Creating artwork is all about finding what you like the most!

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Shawn C

Hi! I’m Shawn and I Love Coloring and Art and the people in it! I created this website as a resource to help those who are considering getting into adult coloring. My website is your one-stop destination for all the inspired instruction and resources you need to start and grow your adult coloring hobby. From geometric to floral to zen doodles and from time to time even mandala’s when I am in the mood. I have researched and gathered the information to help you in your goal of starting your adult coloring hobby.

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