How to Watercolor With Markers

Last Updated: October 11, 2022

Using watercolors to color is a popular technique among artists and paper crafters. After all, watercolor is a fun medium to use and a great way to add extra visual interest to your cards and scrapbook pages! 

Usually, traditional watercoloring is done with watercolor pans, tubes, and brushes, but another option you can use is markers! In this post, we'll show you how to watercolor with markers and share some tips on getting the best results. So whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, give watercoloring with markers a try – it's easy and fun!

Learning watercoloring with markers has never been more fun - thanks to Altenew's Watercolor Brush Markers!

How to Use Watercolor Markers in Paper Crafting

What Are Watercolor Markers, and How Are They Different?  

Watercolor markers are a type of watercolor medium that combines the best features of both watercolors and markers. They are highly pigmented and water-soluble, like the standard watercolor paint that comes in a tube or pan. So even in a different form, you can create the appearance and texture of watercolors with them.

At the same time, they are easier to control than traditional watercolor paint since they are markers. This advantage of having a tip makes them ideal for detailed and fine lines in watercolor projects. 

Whether for cards, journals, or scrapbooks, watercolor brush markers can be used in a variety of projects and designs!

Tropical Fiesta Essentials Bundle

You can learn watercoloring with markers by experimenting with different techniques. You can apply them directly on the paper, dilute them with water, swatch them on glass, or even use a brush to help you blend. From wet-on-wet to wet-on-dry watercoloring techniques, watercolor markers are versatile and can do the trick! 

  A cute cactus card with an enticing ombre-colored background made with Altenew's Watercolor Brush Markers - Autumn Festival Set.

Watercolor Brush Markers - Autumn Festival Set

Most watercolor markers come in various styles, including refillable, dual-tip, and brush-tip markers. Because most watercolor markers also come in a wide range of colors, they are an excellent option for both beginners and experienced painters.

So if you're looking for a watercolor medium that is fun, easy to use, and travel-friendly, then watercolor markers are the perfect choice for you. 

How Do You Use Watercolor Markers?

First and foremost, before watercoloring with markers, make sure that your paper is watercolor paper. Investing in a proper watercolor paper pad is essential as ordinary papers will not absorb and hold watercolor pigment. 

Once you have your watercolor paper, it's time to get painting! There are many different ways to use watercolor markers depending on the application technique you want to do! You can directly apply color or dilute it with water. For lighter shades, put the marker first on another surface. If you want bolder colors, use the marker directly and activate it with water.

A captivating winter card designed by Jen, using Altenew's watercolor brush markers!

Winter Watercolor Brush Marker Palette Bundle

For a wet-on-wet watercoloring technique, you can apply water with an empty brush marker and make the shapes you want. Afterward, you can use the ink from the watercolor brush marker to color in the pools of water. This technique is perfect for creating unique textures and ink flows.

Create endless possibilities for watercoloring with these empty brush markers!

DIY Watercolor Brush Marker

Watercolor brush markers are also handy for other watercoloring techniques, such as blending and bleeding. For example, you can apply the bleeding method if you want to create a simple one-colored flower with a dark middle part and light petals. Apply the color with the marker first, then activate and bleed them out with water using a separate brush. For the areas where you want it to be lighter, just add more water! 

To see how these techniques work with regard to card making, here is our designer Lydia to help guide you on three different ways you can color with watercolor markers:

What Designs Can I Do with Watercolor Markers?

Indeed, working with watercolor markers is a great way to add color and life to your projects. It's a fun experience to watercolor using a different tool! But what designs can you create with them? Here are a few projects to show you all the creative possibilities of watercolor markers: 

1. Blend and Emboss for Gorgeous Watercolor Cards

A creative and colorful way of using the Paint-A-Flower: Coral Sunset Outline Stamp Set with watercolor brush markers!

Paint-A-Flower: Coral Sunset Outline Stamp Set 

To achieve this captivating look with her card, Norine stamped and heat embossed her image before watercoloring with our Watercolor Brush Markers. She only used five brush markers to watercolor, but the card features a rainbow look due to the blending of the colors. Where two or more colors have touched, new shades appear! How amazing of an effect is that? 

2. Easy Watercolor Washes for Stunning Cards

A stunning floral card featuring a soft watercolor wash background.

2 Easy Floral Cards Using Watercolor Brush Markers & Refills

For a quick and easy technique that gives impressive results, try creating a soft watercolor wash as a background for your card panel. With this wet-on-wet technique, you can freely experiment with creating various color blends and combinations! To complete the look, just stamp over the watercolor wash with a beautiful stamp set, like the Paint-A-Flower: Anemone Outline Stamp Set, which Therese used for this inspiration.

3. Spray Watercolor for Extraordinary Cards

A gorgeous card featuring the embossed World Map Stamp Set in gold, made by Erum with watercolor brush markers!

 A Unique Look For Your Cards - World Map Stamp Set

A fun and creative technique would also yield innovative results! Take a look at Erum's unique use of the World Map Stamp Set with watercolor markers. The embossed gold design of the world map complements the vibrant and intense blue watercolor background. To achieve this design, you start by directly applying watercolor brush pigment to the paper. Then, spray the colors with water generously - this will help distribute the watercolor ink with a striking texture. You can also add more watercolor splatters for a more incredible effect. 

Some Tips About Watercoloring with Markers

Watercolor markers are a great way to add color and life to your watercoloring projects. They're a versatile medium, so you can surely use them in various ways!

Take note of the following tips to help you make the most of using watercolor markers in your future craft projects:

  • Clean your markers' nibs by brushing/swatching them on a piece of scrap paper 
  • Try coloring strokes in the same direction for a more polished look
  • Build up the depth in your colors by experimenting with different hues
  • Use a paper towel for dabbing and absorbing excess pigment
  • For more realistic watercolor looks, do not outline your image
  • Play with highlights and shadow areas by controlling the concentration of pigments

All in all, the most important thing to remember is to have fun watercoloring with markers because it's essential to grow as an artist with other mediums!  

We hope these tips have given you some inspiration on how to use markers to do watercoloring in your crafting projects. Be sure to check out more information and ideas from our All About Crafting page, where we constantly share new techniques and projects. Happy watercoloring!

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