FAQ TOPICS

PLEASE ALLOW TIME FOR PAGE TO LOAD

Colouring FAQs

Marker Brand Comparisons (inc. different types of Copic)


There are many different brands of markers available on the market. This page will go through some of the most common brands that stampers and colourists use. Please note there are many more you may come across in your travels but these are the most widely used and easy to find. We cover a wide range of brands. In our Markers classes we cover Copic, Spectrum Noir, and Promarker. We cover a wider selection in our Monthly Classes including Copic, Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Graph It, and Mepxy. If you don't have these brands, you can still learn from our classes with your favourite blends. Techniques do not change if colours do and I am always available to help with colour selection and alternatives if you don't have a large stash of supplies or prefer different colours. Alcohol Markers To get the smooth blending and vibrant colour tones like the samples here, I use Alcohol Markers. Alcohol Markers have alcohol ink inside which allows them to blend seamlessly between the colours. The most common brands that are used are: Copics
(pronounced Co-pick)
- Most expensive and typically regarded as the top of the range professional art marker
- Widest range of colours available (358)
- Known for being the smoothest and easiest to blend
- Available in a wide range of styles; Original (bullet and chisel nibs), Ciao (super brush and chisel nib), Sketch (super brush and chisel nib), and Broad
- Refillable and nibs can be replaced
- Most colourists use a mixture of Ciao and Sketch. Both have the exact same nibs, however the Sketch holds more ink and is more ergonomically designed hence why it is a higher price. The Sketch is also available in more colours than the Ciao. Spectrum Noir
- More economical than Copics but considered to be a more middle of the range in terms of quality (you can still achieve beautiful results once you learn some techniques :)
- 168 colours available
- Bullet and Chisel Nib - the new markers come with a brush nib available for purchase separately. The brush nibs are typically favoured for colouring for fine details and fine lines (eg. hair)
- Refillable and nibs can be replaced Promarker
- More economical than Copics but considered to be a more middle of the range in terms of quality (you can still achieve beautiful results once you learn some techniques :)
- 150 colours available
- Bullet and Chisel Nib - The brush nibs are typically favoured for colouring for fine details and fine lines (eg. hair)
- Non-refillable
- Nibs can be replaced - ultra fine nib available but no brush nib
- Letraset, the markers of Promarker, also create Flexmarkers that have a brush nib, and Tria Markers which have 3 different nibs Graph It's
- More economical than Copics but considered to be a more middle of the range in terms of quality (you can still achieve beautiful results once you learn some techniques :)
- 176 colours available
- Bullet and Chisel Nib - The brush nibs are typically favoured for colouring for fine details and fine lines (eg. hair)
- Non-refillable
- Nibs can be replaced - brush nib available Watercolour Markers To get a softer look, watercolour markers are also available. These are an alternative to watercolour paints and are used to achieve a similar look. Rather than blending these markers together like alcohol markers, these markers are laid down in small amount on the page and then blending out with water. Distress Ink Markers - The most common brand used for stamping/colouring
- Available in 58 colours
- Brush and bullet nib
- Best stored horizontally

Spectrum Noir Aqua Markers
- Available in 48 colours
- Brush and fine tip nibs
- Purchase in packs rather than single stock




Starting with Alcohol Markers


Here are some common questions asked about starting with Alcohol Markers and my personal opinions :) There are many opinions based on these so please feel free to use these as a guide and still choose what you feel is best. I have used my experience as a crafter and colourist to give the best answers. Should I buy a cheaper brand or go all out? I really recommend when starting to try and test out a few markers at your local store before diving right in. I've seen a lot of people start collecting with one brand only to feel they like a particular brand more and want to switch over. You can get good results with many different brands cheaper or more expensive, but it's important to find one that you like compared to others before diving right in.

Should I start with single markers or sets? Most Alcohol Marker brands sell their markers in both sets and singularly. From my experience with Copics, I would recommend against buying a set if you are beginner. I find that sets come with "incomplete" blend sets, encouraging you to purchase more markers straight away. If you aren't 100% comfortable with mixing and blending your colours it may be a bit overwhelming when starting to learn. Instead, I would recommend choosing a few blend sets that you like from our Colour Blends page and starting knowing that you have good blends that incorporate Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows. Which colours should I start with? One of the most important things to know is that there are no "beginner" colour blends. With our classes at Kit and Clowder, I want you to learn the correct way right from the start to help you improve the quickest. Our colouring here is based on the style of realism and to portray this we use Lightsource (eg. the sun) to show light and shade with our colouring. When we choose the colours to use to create a colour blend, we choose a minimum of three markers to show this; one light marker to show the lightest part of the image, or "Highlight", one medium tone marker to show the "Midtone", and one darker marker to show the "Shadows". So you can see there will be a minimum. of 3 markers to create one colour blend. Sometimes there are more than 3 markers used and that can be to create a different tone in the colour, or to make it easier to blend (more markers may fill large gaps between colours so it blends more seamlessly). Don't worry if this all sounds confusing just now... it will make much more sense when you get started with your colouring :) *View the Copic Numbering System section for more details on how to create blends A great place to start is: - Skin Blend
Copics: E000, E00, E21, E11, E04, R20 (Blush) Spectrum Noir: FS2, FS4, FS9, FS3, TN4, FS8 (Blush) Promarker: Almond, Satin, Sunkissed Pink, Coral, Spice, Pastel Pink (Blush)
- Hair blend (basic brown is a good start)
Copics: E21, E25, E29 Spectrum Noir: TN3, EB3, EB8 Promarkers: Vanilla, Cocoa, Walnut
- One Outfit Blend
Take a look at our Colour Blends section below to pick your favourite! You can do a lot of practice with just these colours and this is all you would need to start one of our technique classes aswell. We once had a lady do the whole technique class in just blue markers so don't feel like you have to have a lot of markers to learn :) Do I need the expensive paper straight away? Yes - the right paper is so important for your colouring. I know it can seem like an expensive outlay especially if you are only just starting, but the wrong paper can cause issues with bleeding outside the lines, blending not working seamlessly (making you feel like you aren't doing it right), and it sucks up your ink very fast as the ink disperses through the paper quickly. Ink is more expensive than paper so make sure you are using right tools to help with your colouring :) Ready to go? Once you have your supplies then you are ready to get started! Check out the companies that we work with for some digital images to colour, and don't forget to check out one of our classes so you can get colouring and learning straight away! :) **A quick reminder - colouring has a perception that it is super easy as it is something we all did as children. The colouring that you see most colourists do is much more advanced and uses art fundamentals. This is going to take time to learn and practice :) Don't be discouraged if it takes you a few goes before you start to feel happy with your results - half the fun is in the learning and we've all experienced the exact same progress as you will during the start. Help is here for you to guide you along the way :)




Pencil Brand Comparisons


There are so many different brands of pencils on the market and it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. All of the techniques that you will learn for pencils are transferrable across all of the brands, however a better quality pencil will be easier to blend and contains higher amounts of pigment so is brighter. When looking at which brand to try, it is best to buy a few singles in some of the brands so you can see how everything blends. It is good to look at a colour chart for each brand aswell and make sure you like the colours. When purchasing, I recommend to buy the biggest set you can afford. Buying singularly is the most expensive, and if you buy a small set and wish to upgrade then you will end up with a lot of doubles. We cover a wide range of brands. In our Pencils classes we cover Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir, and Polychromos. We cover a wider selection in our Monthly Classes including Spectrum Noir, Prismacolor, Polychromos, Derwent Artist, Derwent Colorsoft, Caran D'ache Luminance, and Lyra Rembrandt. If you don't have these brands, you can still learn from our classes with your favourite blends. Techniques do not change if colours do and I am always available to help with colour selection and alternatives if you don't have a large stash of supplies or prefer different colours. Take a look below at some of the most popular brands of coloured pencils used for colouring: Prismacolor - 150 colours available - good range of pastels, earths, and brights
- Available in sets and singularly - Wax based = soft and creamy blend - Don't hold the point as well as oil pencils and need sharpening often for detail work - Need to learn how to sharpen properly as can break inside the core from pressure - My personal favourite as I like the finish and colour range
- Also available as Scholar (cheaper range but lower quality pigment) and Verithin (harder core made more for sketching and detail) Polychromos - 120 colours available - good greens and blues but lacking in pastels/low value earths
​- Available in sets and singularly - Oil based = harder core - Hold the point better if you are colouring and needing detail work, eg. i find them better personally for people and things like hair as the prismas lose their point too quick. - Lay down a strong pigment, typically considered to have the brightest result Spectrum Noir - 120 colours available - good greens and yellows lacking in purples and pastels
​- Available only in packs of 24 and not singularly - Wax and Oil Blend - Harder than the Prismacolor, but not as bright as the Polychromos Derwent Artist and Studio - 120 colours in Artist (4mm round core) and 72 in Studio (3.4mm hexagonal core) - Clay based = considered to be the hardest grade of pencils - Holds a point well for fine detail work - Typically known for good range of greens and browns (landscape work) - Low lightfast quality and typically considered not as bright as Prisma or Polys Derwent Coloursoft - 72 colours available - same range as Studio - Wax Based = Derwent's answer to the Prismacolor, however my experience is these aren't as creamy (good or bad depending on your preference) - Soft pencil for creamy blending - Some colours at risk of fading Derwent has two colourless blender pencils; Hard burnisher and Soft Blender (speculated one from the coloursoft and one from the Studio range).




What brands do you cover in class?


We cover a wide range of brands in our classes! In our Markers classes we cover Copic, Spectrum Noir, and Promark, and in our Pencils classes we cover Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir, and Polychromos. We cover a wider selection in our Monthly Classes including Copic, Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Graph It, Mepxy, Prismacolor, Polychromos, Derwent Artist, Derwent Colorsoft, Caran D'ache Luminance, and Lyra Rembrandt. If you don't have these brands, you can still learn from our classes with your favourite colour blends. We have a very large number of members successfully doing this :) Techniques do not change if colours do and I am always available to help with colour selection and alternatives if you don't have a large stash of supplies or prefer different colours. Please contact me via Facebook Messenger (Alyce Keegan) or email alyce@kitandclowder.com for colour selection help.




Paper for Markers and Pencils


Alcohol Markers

When using Alcohol Markers it is important to use a Bleedproof cardstock for blending, otherwise the ink disperses through the fibers of the paper very quickly making it not only hard to blend but it uses up your ink very quickly (and ink is more expensive than paper!). It is important to note that there is blending cardstock and blending paper - typically for this style of colouring and layering of the ink we use the cardstock, whereas the paper is more for washes of colour like for graphic/industrial design.
There are many different ranges available on the market and it is important to try a few as it can greatly impact on your colouring result.

Here are a few of the most popular
- Xpress It Blending Card - my favourite as I find it holds the most layers of ink
- Cryogen Iridescent
- Neenah Solar White 110lb
- Heavenly White 80#
- Heavenly White 100# - Heavenly White 120#
- Ultimate Graphic 160gsm (available here)

A great place to purchase your papers is Paper Temptress in the USA. They ship worldwide and even sell a Copic Sampler Pack which includes a few different shades of different blending cards for you to try and choose your favourite. Use code Alyce20 to receive 20% off your purchase!

Watercolour Mediums

For watercolour mediums it is best to use a watercolour paper so that the paper doesn't "pill". A few common types are:
- Canson XL Watercolor (economical and good quality)
- Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Press Extra White
- Langton 140lb Extra Smooth (Hot pressed) Water Colour Paper

​Pencils
There are two different types of paper that you should consider when colouring with pencils and it depends on your blending method. For typical pencil to pencil blend (or using a colourless blender pencil), it is recommended to use a paper with a "tooth" (texture). This is because when you layer up multiple colours to create a blend, the pigment sits in the texture of the page and the eye reads the two colours as blending together. If you are blending using a solvent (eg. Gamsol or Odourless Mineral Spirits), it is best to use a smooth cardstock as you are breaking down the pigment into a paint-link surface. In this case we could just use our standard marker paper.

There are so many different types of drawing papers that will work well for pencils. Keep in mind that a watercolour paper, even though it has a tooth, is considered a bit rough for pencil work and will take longer to blend. Below are a few common paper types:
- Canson Mi Teintes in Pastel White
My personal favourite. It is a double sided paper so suits a large variety of pencil types. The smoother side for pencils and rougher for pastels and hard pencils.
- Canson Drawing 220 (or Canson C A Grain in some countries)
More economical but a bit rougher. Make sure you get Drawing 220 (220gsm) as there is a thinner one available. - Strathmore Color Pencil Good economical paper easy to get around the world
- Stonehenge
100% cotton - good quality but more economical than some of the other cotton blends
- Illustration Board
More rigid and durable for heavy layering and burnishing
- Artagain by Strathmore
Good smooth surface but may not hold as many layers as other brands
- Arches Hot Press 140#
- Bristol Vellum
More expensive but well regarded smooth paper. Personally I don't recommend a Bristol Vellum for our layering techniques as they are not textured enough to hold the pigment. Would be better suited for use with solvents.




Printers + Troubleshooting Tips


Alcohol Markers If you are using digital stamps or images to colour you may run into problems where your printer ink is not compatible with the ink of alcohol markers. - Canon Pixma - typically the most used and compatible. Very cheap printer. I've had mine for about 5 years now.
- Any Laser printer as it heat sets the ink itself - Epson workforce (prints up to 180gsm well but struggles with over 200gsm) - HP Photosmart If your printer ink bleeds, you can try the following tips below to see if it will help. If none of the below work for your printer, it may be good to invest in a compatible one :) - Leave overnight to dry
- Try heat-setting the ink with a hair dryer or heat gun
- Print in draft or fast mode to use less ink on the printout

Watercolours Epson makes the only waterproof ink on the market on a selection of their printers. If you are using a different printer, take a peek at our tips below to stop your ink from bleeding:
- Print in Fast Draft / Fast Grey Scale (lays down the least amount of ink to the paper) - Change the opacity, (this will give a fainter line and less ink) - Leave to dry overnight
- Use an eraser over the dried image to remove excess ink - Heat set it using a Heat Gun, if you don’t have a heat gun you can iron or use a hairdryer. - Create a sandwich using two sheets of cardstock and add the digi sheet in between as your filling - Heat set and leave overnight to dry - Try a different water colour paper - Try using a fixative spray - Tracy's tip: For my HP Printer, I buy a compatible BLACK ink and only use this to print the digi’s. There is something in the pigment of the original ink that makes it run when water is applied.

Pencils

Any printer should be fine for standard pencil blending. if using solvent you may need to try the above troubleshooting methods to make sure your ink doesn't run.




Inks for Rubber Stamping and Colouring


Alcohol Markers It is important to make sure you are using the right brand of stamping ink so it doesn't react with the ink in your markers. You will know if they are incompatible as the stamping ink will start to "bleed", that is it will smudge over your page and can ruin your markers.
Some of the inks that work best with alcohol markers are: - Tsukineko Memento or Brilliance Ink
(a personal favourite of most is the Memento Tuxedo Black) - Ranger Distress Inks - A Muse Dye - Stewart Superior Palette Noir. If your ink is bleeding, try the following tips before colouring: - Try heat-setting your image before coloring. - Add clear embossing powder to protect inks from bleeding. Avoid colored powders since they react with the markers. Alcohol Markers are not compatible with solvent inks like StazOn, or Stampin' Up! inks Watercolour Markers - StazOn
- Stampin' Up!
- Ranger Archival Ink
(ink must be permanent and water-proof) Pencils If you are using dry blending techniques with your pencils you can use any ink. For solvent based blending use any of the inks that are compatible with alcohol markers above.




Marker Colour Blend Charts


Check out our new colour blend sheets over on our Colour Blends web page via the tab above <