Alcohol markers with pencils

by Beate Johns

Use alcohol based markers and colored pencils to color your image.


  • Stamps (Flourishes Peaches and Cherries used here)
  • Cardstock (Neenah Solar White used here)
  • Ink, (Black Soot Distress Ink used here)
  • Alcohol based markers (Copic used here)
  • Prismacolor™ Pencils, or other wax-based pencils
  • Gamsol, or other artist-grade odorless mineral spirits
  • Blending stumps


  1. Step 1

    Stamp your image on your cardstock.

    When working with Copic™ or other markers always test the ink and paper first to make sure the ink doesn't run and the paper doesn't make the markers bleed outside the image.

  2. Step 2

    Color your image with your alcohol based markers.

    No need to add shading, because that will be done with pencils. Think of this step as adding a base coat.

    When coloring with Copic™ markers, always place a clean piece of scrap paper under the cardstock.

  3. Step 3

    Apply a light amount color with a pencil to the edge of the image where you want it to look shaded.

  4. Step 4

    If you have Gamsol in a dauber bottle, turn it upside down to moisten the sponge top and set it upright. Dip the blending stump into the dauber to pick up mineral spirits on the tip of the blender.

  5. Step 5

    Blend the color with the side of the stump. Start on the edge of the image, pulling the color towards the center of the image in a small circular motion.

  6. Step 6

    For more depth, add a slightly darker pencil color on the edge of the image.

  7. Blend the pencil again with Gamsol and blending stump.

  8. Step 7

    To add more contrast, add a layer of pencil in a color that is lighter than the marker base color to the lightest spots. Again blend with blending stump and Gamsol.

    You can clean blending stumps by sanding them slightly with a sanding block or nail file.

  9. Step 8

    Color the rest of the image in the same way, using one or several pencil colors.

  10. Important:
    Once the image has been colored with Prismacolor™ pencils, don't go over the colored image with markers again. The wax in the pencils might damage the marker nib.

  11. Step 9

    Finish your project.



    Different looks
    Try different colored pencil types or leave off the gamsol blending for a different look.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Alcohol markers with pencils. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

gina k dfsigns no longer has the bottle with dauber cap. She however said she has a glass pump. Couldnt tell from the picture how this works. Is there any other source for the bottle with dauber cap? Thanks
marian  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 2:35 PM
Beate, your work is gorgeous as always. Thanks for sharing our time to answer all our questions. I believe the dauber bottles are available in many craft stores and at places like Office Depot in the area where they sell postage scales and shipping materials (used for postage stamp application)
Joanne Beck  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 2:56 PM
Beautiful work and informative tutorial! I linked to it from today's scrapbooking news article at smile Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Irene at  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 3:04 PM
Beate, thank you for another wonderful technique. I also want to commend you for taking the time to answer everyone's questions. That in itself always keeps me coming back for more.
Lisa S  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 3:29 PM
This is just wonderful!! I love my pencils but just today I went and bought a few copics and don't have enough to shade. This will be perfect!!!!
Thankyou for this idea.
Barbara Dwyer  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 9:12 PM
Hi Beate, I have all the prismacolour pencils, but use Sansodor as my blending solution, do you know if that will work with the Copics? I have been condsidereing investing in some, especially since I discovered your fantastic artwork using them.
Beth  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 9:49 PM
I never thought of using my pencils for shading with my copics! thank you!
Gail Bolander  |  Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:29 PM
I haven't tried that yet. But I think you can use any blending solution for your pencils with the Copics, as long as they don't contain alcohol. That might react with the marker ink.
Hugs and smiles
Beate  |  Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 4:09 AM
I notice your copics have a colored tag on the side of each one which appear to be the color of that particular pen. How did you do that? It is so difficult to identify the true color of the pens, that this would be a great help to me.
Linda  |  Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM
I was mesmerized! Great tutorial, Beate!
Kelly  |  Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 7:29 PM
thank you so much for this tutorial. I have a complete set of Prisma pencils and just starting to use an understand the copic. This was very helpful. One problem I do have is the copic goes out of the lines? is it the weight of the paper stock? Thank you for your help. I have learned a great deal from your teaching and have done some of your projects with good results, a blessing to a new stamper.
Pattie Jones  |  Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 10:01 AM
Hi Patti,
It's not the weight of the paper that is responsible for the marker ink feathering, it is the density of the paper. On softer paper the ink runs out faster. The denser/harder the paper, the less the ink feathers, but the harder it is to blend.
Test several papers and see which one you like the best. I LOVE to color on Neenah as well as the new XPress-it Blending card.
The XPress-It Blending card blends as well as Neenah, but the color doesn't run as much!
Hugs and smiles
Beate  |  Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 10:20 AM
You have spoiled me for any other tutorials. You are so easy to understand, and I love your attention to detail. I actually started doing colored pencil drawings several years ago, so that helps me with them for the stamping projects. I was doing all of my blending just with the crayons, but am going to get some gamsol. I love your work. Thanks so much for sharing your time and talent with all of us.
Happy Stamping!!!
Kathleen Ritchie  |  Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 5:57 PM
Curious. If you have the blender Copic markers could you get the same affect using those (instead of the Gamsol)? I'm new to Copics and am still trying to figure out when to use my blending markers.
Lisa  |  Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 6:09 PM
Hi Lisa. I am no expert on Copics, but I know that the blender pen is used to remove color. If you go out of the lines, you use the blender to "push" the color back into the lines. In other words, you are removing the color from where it doesn't belong and moving back into where it should be. Each time you finish pushing the color off the white area, you need to dab your blender on a plain piece of paper to make sure you are not putting more color back onto the white. I hope this makes sense to you...
Barbara  |  Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 8:37 PM
Will Crayola pencils work? I have some Prisma but not a lot. They are expensive. I thought maybe the Crayola wax based pencils
Yalova Anahtarcı  |  Mon Jul 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM
For the person needing a dauber bottle, I found them on Amazon. You can buy just 1 or a set of 12.
Karren  |  Sat Oct 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM
Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am just getting started with coloring and you have provided some much needed instruction. Thank you so much
Brenda Spiers  |  Tue Feb 3, 2015 at 9:37 AM

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