How to Color with Markers Without Streaks.

A 6 Step Guide To Streak Free Success

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Quick Introduction – How to color with markers without streaks

Coloring with markers is one of the most creative things you can do, but sometimes the colors come out in streaks. This guide will show you how to color without any streaks! Follow the tips below and soon you’ll be a coloring pro.

Helpful guide – Color with markers without streaks

What causes streaks in coloring?

The most common cause of a streak is when the marker is too dry. If you are using markers, try to not use them for too long and replace them if they are old or dried out. Another cause of streaks can be the paper you are coloring on; if the paper is low quality, it will soak up too much of the marker and cause streaks.

Another common reason for color streaking can be that you’re applying too much pressure when coloring in an area. The pen can also be smudging from much pressure or shaking it will take off some color which will lead to a streak.

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Prevent streaks

Here are our 6 Steps for marker coloring without streaks.

How to color with markers without streaks Steps 1 – 3 …

1: Marker Paper Quality.

When choosing the best quality paper for markers, one of the best choices is to select a thick sheet because this surface doesn’t absorb much ink. I have found that the best paper to use for markers is Strathmore Marker Paper. This quality paper is luxurious and is thick and smooth which allows the markers to glide easily making coloring more enjoyable. Bristol board is another great choice to consider.

Thin, uncoated papers (usually cheap options) will absorb the marker ink and create uneven coloring and can even tear. You want to avoid using paper with a lot of texture as well because the marker will drag across the surface, creating more ink than desired. A matte paper rather than a gloss will avoid any smudging.

2: Don’t buy/use cheap markers.

Cheap markers are made with a lower-quality ink formula that will streak more often. It is also good to use your best/favorite markers because you are more likely to get frustrated with cheap ones, which will not lead to great results.

Alcohol vs a water based marker

Personally, I prefer to work with alcohol-based markers for most projects rather than water-based markers. Water-based markers as you’d expect don’t provide a bright and vibrant finish, which is of course fine if that’s the style you are after.

Alcohol markers are best for the bright, vibrant finish that they provide. If you are going for a vintage/muted look, water based markers are a good choice to use. Alcohol markers are quick-drying, which means they do not bleed and will avoid streaks more easily.

Here is a round up of the best markers for adult coloring books

Copic Markers

Copic markers are refillable and hold the most ink out of all the markers tested. If you are into using Copic Markers or want to know more, here is some great information and top professional tips to help you:

  • Here are the best Copic Markers to use – Available in an amazing range of colors including skin tone packs.
  • Other alcohol based markers – Copic’s are not the only alcohol based markers out there. Others brands I have tried and tested can be seen below in more detail:

    Copic Marker Alternatives

    Use a Colorless blender with alcohol based markers

    A colorless blender is a great way to smooth out any unwanted streaks. You’ll need to blend before the ink dries fully. Rubbing alcohol can also be used as a blender.

    Top Copic Markers

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    3: Technique – avoid streaks with same direction strokes, circular motion & fluid motion

    Work in smooth close-together strokes, coloring in the same direction with each stroke. alternatively, you can use a circular motion. Use fluid movements, confident fluent strokes (whether in a lateral or circular motion) – don’t go back over the same area as this will cause smudging or streaking.

    Practice coloring up to speed so that you master control. Building colors from light to darker colors will help – adding a slightly lighter shade of the same color to smooth over any streaks or joins.

    Learn techniques that will help prevent streakiness.

    How to color with markers without streaks Steps 4-6

    4: Pressure

    Using light pressure strokes and shaking the pen regularly can help you color with markers without streaks. Light pressure will allow the pen to move more freely while applying the color, this in turn will give you a smoother finish.

    5: Prevent streaks using Speed

    Don’t mess about – color in quickly. Speed is very important. If you move slowly, the ink has time to dry and a streak may form whereas working quickly will enable the ink to spread more smoothly.

    6: Use colored pencils!

    Using pencils along with your markers can really help to eliminate any streaks in your coloring. Colored pencils will add a nice layer of color (let the ink dry first) and will smooth over any pen strokes & joins in the marker lines.



    The end result should look even, with consistent color & of course no more pesky streaks!

    So why not get creative and make your own streak free masterpiece with the tips from this article 🙂 Hopefully, it will help you on your quest to become an awesome artistic person with less streaking in your life! – as always thank you for reading 🙂

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    Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

    His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adam's wealth of knowledge and experience enables him to consult and advise artists and illustrators all over the world.