Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

UKS Sponsor Hop – Colouring With Alcohol Based Markers

Today is a big UK Scrappers sponsor blog hop!  I’m excited to be taking part in what is sure to be a popular event, and am definitely looking forward to checking out the other sponsor posts.

If you are visiting from the UKScrappers Sponsor Blog Hop you may have come here from PAPERMAZE.  After commenting (and BE SURE TO MENTION YOUR UKS USER NAME in your comment) hop on to SCRAP 365.  If you lose your way, hop to the UKS post to see the whole linked list. Be sure to reply in that thread when you complete the hop!

Make sure you reach the bottom of this post because I have a prize to give away and a special offer for hoppers!  Details at the end!

Note: Comments on this blog are moderated, and will be checked and approved regularly throughout the day.

Colouring With Alcohol Based Markers – Basic Colouring Step by Step

I have created a basic tutorial for some fairly simple colouring with alcohol based markers.  The step by step photos below cover colouring the whole image, from skin through to grounding the image.   Bear with me, there are lots of photos!


  • Use a light hand and lay colour down gradually.  It is easier to add more colour than it is to take colour away, and you don’t want to over saturate the paper.
  • Colour in light feathered strokes/flicks rather than in a circular motion.  This will help you to avoid over saturating the paper and will make blending easier.  Practice your strokes on a piece of scrap paper and try to find a grip you are most comfortable with for holding the marker while doing this.
  • Choose a smooth uncoated paper.  My preference is for Make it Colour Blending Card.
  • Don’t give up too quickly! An image will go through stages of looking messy or a little weird.  Persevere and keep colouring, the image will start to take shape and come together.  Most mistakes can be fixed – this will be easiest if you use a light hand as mentioned above.
  • When assessing your colouring and evaluating areas that need more work, hold your colouring at arms length.  Don’t judge your image from very close up.
  • Use an object or a pencil mark on your paper to help you remember your chosen light source.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Stamp your selected image on a suitable paper/cardstock using an ink that is compatible with alcohol markers. My personal preference is for Make it Colour Blending Card, as it stands up well to a lot of layering. I also use Memento Tuxedo Black ink with all alcohol based markers, as it will not smear.

The image in this guide has been coloured with ShinHan Touch Twin Markers, but the same technique applies for other brands such as Copic.

I have chosen a relatively simple image – Sweet Thinkin’ Mae from the Some Odd Girl Stamps clear stamp range.  The Some Odd Girl images are a great size with plenty of space for colouring, and as the details aren’t too fine they are great to practice on and develop your colouring skills.

Before colouring, decide which area to tackle first.  On a character image I usually begin with skin, followed by hair, and then clothing.  This is firstly because the skin tends to be the most “routine” area to colour, especially if you often colour stamps of a similar style. The last thing you want to do is spend a significant amount of time colouring an image, only to spoil it with a mistake on one of the less time consuming areas.  Secondly, as you colour the image it can go through stages of looking messy and a bit strange – as you build up the colouring the different areas come together.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Choose your light source (in the above image I have chosen to have the light coming from the left hand side), then begin mapping out the areas you envisage being the darkest using your LIGHTEST shade.  This will give you a nice base for the darker markers to sit on and allow you to create a nice blend.  Plus, it helps to have a guide.  Leave plenty of white space at this point – you will be gradually building up colour and layering, and you don’t want your highlight areas to be too dark.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Lay down your MEDIUM shade over the areas you mapped out in the previous step, covering them completely.  Do this with a light touch, taking care not to lay down too much ink.  Remember – build the colour gradually.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Add your darkest shade sparingly where you feel the shadows would be deepest.  Again use a light hand and this time only lay down a fine line of colour.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Take your MEDIUM shade again and blend the dark colour out towards your light areas.  Use a light feathering or flicking motion.  Don’t colour too far into your light areas.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

With your LIGHTEST shade continue to blend out towards your highlight areas, still using a light hand and a feathering/flicking stroke.  Try and avoid going over your darkest shade, as the light shades can start to remove some of the colour, and depending on the markers you are using this can lead to a speckled/patchy appearance.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Repeat the above steps until you are happy with the result.  Just be careful not to over saturate your paper or you may end up with a shiny or blotchy appearance (Make it Colour Blending Card stands up to quite a lot of punishment in this respect, which is why I love it).

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

At this stage I like to colour in the rest of the facial details – eyes, cheeks, lips.  TIP: Sometimes on a stamped image the solid areas such as the pupil of the eye can have a slightly grainy appearance.  I like to use a dark grey marker (e.g. CG8) to go over the pupil area.  This can really help to lift the face and make it pop.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Tackle the hair in much the same way as the skintones.  The main difference is that if you want to achieve a vaguely realistic hair effect, you should colour in fine strokes, following the direction of the hair.  Use your lightest shade first to create the base.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Now take your medium shade and start to build up the colour and the strokes, so that you get a strand like appearance (this will be fairly bold, we’re not trying to colour individual strands here, rather creating the suggestion of hair).

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Then take your darkest shade and add more fine strokes over the top, maintaining a light touch and not covering too much of the previous shade.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Return with your medium shade and soften the strokes a little.  Don’t blend out too much as the strokes will disappear and you will lose the texture.  Depending on the image and the scale of the hair you have to cover, you can repeat these steps until you are happy with the result.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Your character’s outfit can be tackled in much the same way as the skin and hair, applying the same colouring techniques to build up colour and depth.  Pay attention to the detail in the image, as often there will be clues that help guide your colouring.  For example on Sweet Thinkin’ Mae’s dress there are little crease lines – follow these and add in a few of your own to build up the detail in the dress and create interest, as with the hair and skin, do this gradually and with a light hand.

When colouring an outfit that has different elements with different colours, concentrate on one colour area at a time.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

With your light source in mind, use grey markers to create a shadow on the floor to ground your character.  This really helps to finish it off.

Some Odd Girl Stamps available at

Finally, give your image a once over and pick out any deep shadows and cast shadows with greys i.e. where the hair goes behind the head, underneath the bow in her hair, along the hair hanging over her face, under the hem of her dress.

Use cool greys over cool tones and warm greys over warm tones.

You can also use a white gel pen or white acrylic paint and a brush to create the highlights in the eyes if applicable!  The Some Odd Girl characters are great for this with their large manga style eyes.  I leave this step till I have completed colouring as you should avoid colouring over paint with your markers.


That’s that!  I hope that this post has been useful in some way, and perhaps given you some encouragement to get to grips with your markers.

If you are looking to improve your marker skills, and indeed your colouring with any medium, I highly recommend studying the work of people you admire and trying to emulate their results.  Study carefully to see where they added shadow detail and how they approach colouring hair or folds in clothing. Check out their notes to find new marker combinations.

Above all else – practice!  The more you practice and play with your markers the more comfortable you will be with them, how they behave and what they do!

I do have some colouring videos available on my Youtube Channel, which may also be of interest!


Today I am giving away a 25 sheet pack of MAKE IT COLOUR BLENDING CARD  to one lucky commenter on this blog!  I will draw a random winner from the comments left.  Draw closes at MIDNIGHT tonight, so be quick!  Make sure you leave your email address in the appropriate box when commenting (it will not be displayed to the public) so that I can contact you.


As a special offer for today’s hoppers I am offering FREE P&P for UK based orders over £10!  Simply enter the code UKSBLOGHOPJUL2012 in the coupon box at checkout and you will enjoy free P&P!



100 thoughts on “UKS Sponsor Hop – Colouring With Alcohol Based Markers

  1. Karen

    Elaine – I love your cards and colouring – mine will never be like that ! lol but a fab tutorial, thanks. Kitty Crafts (UKS)

  2. Joannepink

    Thank you for such clear instructions I’ve not used many stamps so this is useful thank you Joannepink UKS

  3. anita

    thank you for such an indepth tutorial, really easy to follow( my colouring will STILL never look that good though lol)
    Fab work.
    UKS anita m

  4. Rebecca

    I ditto the above. I have always struggled to get to grips with colouring but I’m hopeful that your lovely tutorial will halp me improve. Thank you so much. UKS scrap3d

  5. new2this

    I am a digi scrapper, but that tutorial had me fascinated! I am sure it will inspire those who stamp and colour to make their own designs as “professional” as yours. UKS new2this

  6. Gill

    Some great tips and tricks there, thanks for taking so much time and trouble to share. Mole – UKS

  7. lizzylou

    excellent tutorial I really needed this perhaps now I might dare have a go and im going to bookmark you blog for future reference thankyou for a great blog uks lizzylou

  8. Sian

    What a fab tutorial – I love to use pens for colouring so this is right up my street! Thanks for a fab post! Sian – UKS Violaceous

  9. Lousette

    Fabulous tutorial. I love my markers but am still not confident with flesh tones – will definitely try this out. UKS Lousette

  10. Jimjams

    Very useful tips and tricks – will share this with DD as she is the Promarker owner (and lender-outer) in this house!
    Jemma aka Jimjams x

  11. Suzanne

    Wow impressive colouring, thank you so much for the step by step tutorial. I might get somewhere with those Promarkers I collected a while back. fruitysuet.

  12. Lynne

    Great tutorial and maybe my technique can now improve! Some very handy tips! UKs name retired nana x

  13. Suzie Hart

    I’m still getting to grips with my ProMarkers, many thanks for the tips. TFS, UKS Weaselwise

  14. Glen

    You have put a lot of effort into making your tutorial Elaine, so thank you for sharing your talents. *Ü* Lots of details and I love to colour. TFS. UKS ArtAngel

  15. Niki

    Great tutorial, I will be back to study it in more detail xx (ScrapHappyNiki) ps Love your shop BTW xx

  16. Helen S

    Excellent tutorial – that really told me some stuff I didn’t know, thanks. Hopefully my colouring will be a bit less rubbish next time, lol!

  17. Claire Viney

    Gorgeous – thanks for taking the time to put together such a great project – UKS Minty Magic

  18. SharonS

    What a fantastic tutorial, I’m off to practice some more with my copics! Thank you very much! UKS Sharon1973

  19. Lindsey

    Not my cup of tea but always appreciate what other crafters create. Thanks for sharing. Loving the blog hop! Uks Flossyjamba

  20. Dee

    Thank you, my colouring never looks good but your tutorial has given me courage to have another try.

    UKS Dee100

  21. Claveh

    I just love colouring although I am not brilliant and have a long way to go to get to any level like this. Thank you for the tutorial. xxxx Claveh

  22. Pingback: Thinking of You – Quixotic Cards

  23. Pingback: My Aquamarker/Promarker pins | Jenna Makes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.