Alcohol Marker Tips on Watercolour Paper - Art Supplies Australia

Alcohol markers have gained significant popularity among artists due to their vibrant colors, versatility, and blending capabilities. While they are traditionally used on marker paper, many artists are now interested in exploring the possibilities of using alcohol markers on watercolour paper. This blog post aims to provide valuable tips and best practices for artists using alcohol markers on watercolour paper effectively.

Understanding the Compatibility

A. Compatibility of Alcohol Markers with Watercolour Paper

Alcohol markers can be used on watercolour paper, although it is essential to understand the compatibility between the two mediums. Watercolour paper has a higher absorbency than marker paper, which affects the behavior and performance of alcohol markers. Therefore, understanding how alcohol markers interact with watercolour paper is crucial for achieving desired results.

B. Advantages and Challenges of Using Alcohol Markers on Watercolour Paper

  1. Advantages:
  • It has enhanced colour vibrancy and saturation due to paper absorbency.
  • Ability to create watercolour-like effects by incorporating water techniques.
  • Suitable for mixed media artworks combining alcohol markers and watercolours.
  1. Challenges:
  • Potential for ink bleeding and feathering due to the paper's porous nature.
  • Limited ability to layer multiple markers or achieve sharp, crisp lines.
  • Risk of paper warping or buckling when using excessive amounts of ink.

Choosing the Right Watercolour Paper

watercolour paper painted with flower

A. Importance of Selecting Appropriate Watercolour Paper for Alcohol Marker Usage

Choosing the right watercolour paper is crucial for optimising the performance of alcohol markers. Different types of watercolour paper offer varying textures, absorbencies, and weights, which can affect how alcohol markers interact with the surface. 

B. Comparison of Different Watercolour Paper Types concerning Alcohol Marker Performance:

  1. Hot-pressed Watercolour Paper:
  • Smooth surface suitable for detailed work and precise lines.
  • Limited absorbency, resulting in less ink bleeding and feathering.
  • Challenges with blending and layering due to reduced absorbency.
  1. Cold-pressed Watercolour Paper:
  • A popular choice for alcohol markers due to its balanced texture.
  • Offers moderate absorbency, allowing for better color saturation and blending.
  • Some minimal ink bleeding and feathering may occur.
  1. Rough Watercolour Paper:
  • Rough texture adds a unique visual element to alcohol marker artwork.
  • High absorbency leads to quicker drying and reduced ink bleeding.
  • Challenging for precise detailing and crisp lines.

Preparation and Techniques

watercolour paper with other materials for painting

A. Preparing the Watercolour Paper:

Before using alcohol markers on watercolour paper, preparing the surface to optimise its performance is essential. Consider the following tips:

  • Priming or prepping the paper with a light layer of gesso or a specific alcohol marker-friendly primer.
  • Allow the primer to dry completely before applying alcohol markers.
  • Testing different preparation methods on sample paper to find the best results.

B. Techniques for Using Alcohol Markers on Watercolour Paper:

  1. Layering and Blending Techniques:
  • Gradual layering to build up colours and create depth.
  • Utilizing a colorless blender marker for seamless blending and gradient effects.
  • Experiment with wet-on-wet techniques by introducing water to create watercolour-like washes.
  1. Exploring Effects and Styles:
  • Creating texture and patterns using various brush strokes and techniques.
  • Experiment with different paper wetness levels to achieve unique effects.
  • Combining alcohol markers with watercolours or other mediums for mixed media effects and visual interest.

Best Practices

best practice in watercolour painting

A. Tips for Achieving Desired Results:

  1. Controlling Ink Bleed, Feathering, and Crisp Lines:
  • Use a light touch when applying alcohol markers to avoid excessive ink saturation.
  • Test the paper's absorbency and adjust the amount of ink accordingly.
  • Practice using quick, confident strokes to minimize feathering.
  • Use fine-tip markers or brush markers for precise lines and details.
  1. Avoiding Paper Warping or Buckling:
  • Work on a flat, sturdy surface or use a drawing board to prevent paper warping.
  • Avoid excessive layering or saturation of ink in one area.
  • Allow layers to dry completely before adding additional colors or details.
  • Consider using heavier-weight watercolour paper to minimize warping.

B. Preserving and Protecting Artwork:

  1. Recommendations for Proper Storage and Framing:
  • Store alcohol marker artwork in a protective sleeve or portfolio to prevent smudging or damage.
  • Use archival-quality materials for framing to ensure longevity.
  • Consider using UV-protective glass or acrylic to prevent fading caused by sunlight exposure.
  • Seek professional framing services for valuable or cherished artwork.


In conclusion, using alcohol markers on watercolour paper opens up new creative possibilities for artists. By understanding the compatibility between alcohol markers and watercolour paper, selecting the appropriate paper type, and employing proper preparation techniques, artists can achieve stunning results. Following best practices such as controlling ink bleed, avoiding paper warping, and preserving artwork ensure the longevity of alcohol marker creations. Experimenting with different techniques and exploring various watercolour paper brands recommended for alcohol markers will enhance artistic outcomes. So, grab your alcohol markers, select quality watercolour paper, and let your creativity flow!

For trustworthy and quality art supplies, including a wide range of watercolour paper options, visit Art Supplies Australia. Explore their collection of watercolour paper, perfect for alcohol marker usage, and unleash your artistic potential.

Watercolour paper

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