Alcohol Ink Markers: What You Need To Know Before You Start

Are you thinking about investing in artist alcohol markers? Have you been on the lookout for the best alcohol ink sets? If you are a beginner looking to create beautiful alcohol ink painting and other projects, this blog has everything you need to know before you get started!

Whether you’re into abstract art, mixed media projects, or papercrafting, alcohol markers are a must-try! Alcohol ink is one of the most versatile inks readily available for both beginners and professional artists. Its transparency, vibrancy, and durability make it easy to try a wide range of techniques and create gorgeous artwork instantly.

artist alcohol markers

What are alcohol inks and how do I use alcohol ink markers?

Alcohol inks are fast-drying, acid-free inks which are highly pigmented and often used on non-porous surfaces. These dye-based paints are waterproof and transparent, making it easy to create free flowing mixtures. With its durability, alcohol inks can help you create stunning color combinations on your handmade creation. Moreover, a small bottle of alcohol ink can be used for a long time since a little goes a long way.

Alcohol-based markers, as the name suggests, are filled with alcohol ink and dye pigment. Unlike water-based markers, alcohol-based markers are more permanent and will produce less lines and streaks. It is perfect for blending colors seamlessly and doing mixed media art projects. Since these markers are acid-free and lignin-free, it is ideal for alcohol ink painting techniques like shading, tinting, and even creating ombré.

What makes alcohol markers better than other markers?

Before you invest in your first alcohol ink supplies, it is essential to learn the difference between alcohol ink markers and other types of markers. Although each type of marker has its own charm, you have to take your pick and decide which one fits your needs the best. Knowing the pros and cons of using artist alcohol markers will help you decide whether or not this art tool is for you!

alcohol ink supplies

Pros of using alcohol markers:

  • Alcohol ink markers are available in a wide range of colors. Most companies offer their markers in sets of 12, 24, 40, or 72. Having too many choices might overwhelm you at first, especially if you know nothing about these types of markers. The important thing to remember is to choose a decent, high-quality, and affordable alcohol marker set that can withstand daily use since you’re going to need to practice a lot as a beginner. Altenew offers an Artist Markers Primary Essential Set which has 12 basic and must-have primary colors. Most of Altenew’s artist alcohol markers come in sets of handpicked colors that coordinate well with each other. This is a game-changer since you don’t need to find the right colors for mixing and matching.

  • Alcohol markers usually have two different types of nibs: a brush nib and a chisel or bullet nib. The brush nib is used mainly for blending while the bullet nib is great for detail work. This is one of the reasons why artist alcohol markers are super versatile as an art tool. You can practice different kinds of strokes and experiment on various techniques using these nibs.

Alcohol ink markers
  • Alcohol ink markers dry fast, especially on porous surfaces such as paper. This is a big advantage if you prefer to craft and create your artwork quickly and easily. You don’t have to worry if you accidentally touch or graze your work right after using the markers. There won’t be any smudges. Since they are permanent and waterproof, they will last longer than other markers too.

  • You can layer different colors by using alcohol ink on non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, metal, and varnished wood. Creating depth and overlapping colors is fun and easy when you use alcohol ink on these types of surfaces.

  • Artist alcohol markers are easy to blend. Although water-based markers are great for hand-lettering and other freehand techniques, alcohol markers get an edge due to their blendability. Artists prefer them because of how smoothly they blend and how predictable they are.

  • Alcohol ink markers are easily refillable. Did you run out of alcohol ink? Are your markers suddenly dried out and streaky? Or are you having difficulty blending different marker colors? Good news! You can easily refill them! Refilling your artist alcohol markers is more economical and sustainable than buying new ones. Altenew offers refills that come in easy-to-use alcohol ink sets for every alcohol marker color available in their store. You can find their alcohol ink refills here.

  • Marker nib refills are also available in most arts and crafts stores. In case you break a nib or you feel like changing your old nib, you don’t need to buy a new marker.

Cons of using alcohol markers:

You might want to take note of these cons before you invest in these markers.
  • Just like other alcohol ink supplies, these markers have toxic solvents which are dangerous when directly inhaled, especially in very small and confined spaces. Make sure to use them in well-ventilated areas and avoid inhalation or ingestion.

  • You need to use good quality paper because normal copy paper or printer paper are too rough and won’t produce the best results. A good quality cardstock, marker paper, smooth Bristol paper, mixed media paper, or any uncoated, smooth paper are highly-recommended since they won’t fray or damage the nibs. Having good quality paper is essential if you want your marker nibs to last for a long time. Also, markers can bleed through paper so avoid using double-sided pages. To avoid bleeding, it is recommended to buy paper that has over 120 gsm thickness.
use alcohol markers
  • It might be challenging to use alcohol markers as compared to other types of markers so there is a learning curve. You have to make time and exert effort to get used to them. Remember, practice makes progress!

  • Compared to other markers, these alcohol-based markers are relatively more expensive. Copic alcohol markers are the one of the most expensive brands in the market today, with a basic 12-marker set costing around $80. Altenew’s Artist Markers, on the other hand, are great if you’re on a budget. They offer high-quality and affordable markers with prices ranging from $16 to $44.
Investing in some decent alcohol ink supplies, getting to know your alcohol-based markers, and learning the basic techniques are crucial before you can start creating beautiful alcohol markers art. We hope this blog helped you figure out if these markers are indeed the best ones for your crafting needs.

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