Tutorial: How to watercolor with markers!

Hi friends! Today I am going to show you how to watercolor with watercolor markers. You can follow along with any watercolor markers you have and I say watercolor instead of water-based because there are some acrylic and poster paint markers and pens out there too and technically they are water-based but not watercolor. That means you are good to go with any of your basic watercolor markers, even the kids kind. That said, I will be using the extremely lovely Spectrum Aqua pens that I got from Hallmark Scrapbook. They work with any of the other watercolor markers you have so if you are considering buying some get a set with colors unlike what you already own. It’s a great way to start out! The only other thing that is important is to use watercolor paper, it is essential for blending, Today I am working on the same 140lb Strathmore cold pressed cards I use for most of my watercolor tutorials.

When you are choosing a brush you want a synthetic. A natural sable/camel/pony hair brush will hold too much water for this technique and not be stiff enough to push the color around and a natural hog hair brush is too rough and can damage your paper. A waterbrush is a synthetic but any nylon round in the #5 to #8 range will suit you just fine. Don’t stress about it, if you want to learn how to paint you have to put that brush to paper!


  • Sketch with the fine point to avoid depositing too much color on the paper.
  • Work on small areas at a time, it is easier to blend if the ink is wet.
  • For larger soft washes with no streaks scribble the markers on a plastic palette, plate or tile and add water and use a brush to apply it.
  • Wet the paper before adding the wash for a smoother blend.
  • You can vary the line (aka stroke) of the brush marker by working on the tip for a tiny line or applying more pressure for a thicker line. Practice this technique to get experience with your markers!
  • For extra control when water-coloring stamped images (make sure to stamp them with waterproof ink) use a brush tip blender pen, many companies make them but I enjoy the Stampin Up and Tombow brands. The Dove Blender can also be used, I have not tried it but it but many stampers I trust love the it plus it comes with extra nibs and a bottle of blending ink so you might be set for life there! The blenders for alcohol markers will not work for this. To color with a blender you need to scribble the marks on a palette or dish and pick up the ink with the blender pen then start to color your image, start at the darkest area because it will gradually fade as you color with it. It is a great way to get a soft blend. Hot press (aka smooth) watercolor paper is best for this but cardstock can also be used pretty successfully. *If your blending pen goes dry or you run out of blending solution you can make your own by mixing equal parts glycerin and water.
  • Play. You won’t learn unless you use your markers. You will not harm them or use them up… well, if you do use them enough to use them up you deserve another set LOL! You buy supplies to use them so make sure you don’t let them become too precious to use!

I hope this tutorial helped you get more from your watercolor markers! Thanks to Hallmark Scrapbook for sending me the new Spectrum Aqua markers, I am having quite a bit of fun with them. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

9 Responses

  1. You are so fun to watch!!!!!

    Thank you for all you do. Love your videos whether they are on crafting, tours of your studio, the ask a crafter segments, it doesn’t matter. You are a bright light with your sunny disposition, your great sense of humor, not to forget your talents that cross over many areas.

    Thank you for all of your dedication.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lindsay that is very pretty and purple is my favorite color. Love to watch you paint you make it look so easy. Have a good week. And maybe we will have spring before long. I think everyone is ready for it.


  3. Thank you for the videos utilizing the Spectrum Aqua markers. After the first one I ordered the full set from Hallmark simply based on your opinion. I’m impatiently awaiting delivery, hopefully tomorrow! I will be referring to your videos often as I get acquainted with my new toys and hope you will have more in the future. You are such an inspiration and blessing, thank you.


  4. You make it look so easy!


  5. Here on the west coast of Canada, the crocus are already in bloom as well as the cherry trees. It’s paradise here! I hope your winter ends soon! Thanks for the tutorial.


  6. hey lindsey🙂 i’m on the crafter’s companion international inspiration team, so i asked the PTB a few of the questions you’ve posed in your Spectrum Aqua videos, so here goes:

    are the spectrum aquas refillable? the aquas are not refillable
    do the colors match the aqua tints? since the aqua tints aren’t available in the US, i haven’t heard anything definitive, however, i think they do not
    do the brush nibs for the alcohol pens fit? the spectrum noir nib replacements, of any kind, do not fit the aquas
    is there a lightfast rating for these guys? lightfast ratings have not been established, thorough testing takes quite some time

    love your videos, hope i was helpful🙂


    • Hi Mary, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I am really enjoying these pens! What a fun job you must have!


  7. Awesome!


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