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!

Tips!

  • 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!

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New Marker Play! I Got Spectrum Aquas!!!

Hi Friends! Have you heard the buzz about the new Spectrum Aqua watercolor markers yet? Well, I had not until about 2 weeks ago when several viewers asked me what I thought about them and if I would do a review or demo with them. I was curious. I didn’t really NEED new markers but when the nice folks at Hallmark Scrapbook (who stock the markers at a 30% off retail discount) asked me if they could send me some I said “sure!” all for the sake of science you know:)

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They sent me the full range of 48 colors and a storage rack. The markers are sold in 12 color collections based on what you like to color (nature, floral, essential and primary) and there are no duplicates within the packs so you can collect one set at a time to see if you like them or as your budget allows. That is one thing I really like about all of the Spectrum products, you can collect as you go without buying duplicates. Today I will show you a few rubber stamping techniques with the markers. Feel free to follow along with whatever watercolor markers you have at home because these techniques will work with any watercolor type markers. These markers will also work well with your current collection so if you want to try them you can chose a set of colors that us different from what you have because they will play nice. I hope you find this video helpful!

I got a few questions from viewers:

  1. Are the markers refillable? Hmm, I did not see anywhere on the Spectrum Aqua website where it said you could refill these BUT none of the other watercolor markers are “refillable” and I refill them with reinkers or liquid watercolors. I wonder if the new Spectrum Liquid Watercolors are the same colors and if the Spectrum Noir (alcohol marker) replacement nibs are compatible? I’ll try to find out!
  2. How light fast are they? Again, I looked for this info on the Spectrum Aqua site but did not see that info so I suspect they are not but then again, most markers aren’t unless you are buying an $8 a piece watercolor marker.
  3. Are they comparable to the Tim Holtz Distress Markers? Actually, I prefer the Spectrum Aqua, I have a few of the TH sets and singles bought at different locations and I have had problems with a couple of them from different vendors being dry or leaking (and that was without my hardscrabble reinking techniques LOL!) Now, Ranger is great at replacing faulty products, don’t get me wrong, but I think the Spectrum Aquas are higher quality and more consistent.

I love watercolor markers and I rate these up there with my favorites (Tombow and Memento) but you can’t beat the price and quality of the Spectrums. The fine tip is much like the tip on the Memento and the brush end is similar to a Pitt Big Brush pen but the ink in the Spectrum Aqua is watercolor, not India ink, you can go over it with water after it is dry and soften the lines. I am also a big fan of using what you have and I am glad you can use these with the watercolor markers you have. Bottom line, if you have watercolor makers you love keep using them, if you want to add to your collection these are great and if you are just starting out this is a very great set to start with. I was not paid to write this review but I was given the markers for free to share the review with you. If you have any questions just ask in the comments section and I am happy to help. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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