Alcohol Based Markers – Learn To Create With A Step By Step Art Tutorial

Aspire Alcohol Based Markers Tutorial by

Alcohol Based Markers Introduction 

Alcohol based markers are great fun to experiment with and they are tremendously portable.  They don’t require any extra equipment and solvent to get a variety of interesting effects.

This is a great set of alcohol markers and comes with a blending marker and a fine point permanent black marker.  It’s a super price point and the quality spot on.

120 Colors Art Markers Set, Ohuhu Dual Tips Coloring Marker Pens

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

The only particular is that all markers that are using alcohol pretty much need special paper made for markers.  You can try using bristol board or watercolor paper, but your markers won’t give consistent results and will start to mush up the papers when you try and do any blending or layering.  Fortunately marker paper is readily available and you can purchase one of these great brands online:

Bee Bleedproof Marker Paper

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

This is what I used:

Strathmore 400 Series Marker Paper

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

Prep And General Instructions For Proper Use Of Your Alcohol Markers:

Start with the lightest lights in each section. If you want to blend any edges of colors that touch each other, then try layering the lightest color over the joining area of the two colors.  

Using a blending pen, is NOT a blending option… it is actually an inept form of an eraser. It won’t really erase any of the colors that you lay down, but it will lighten the color in varying amounts depending on which color is used.  

Like watercolor, some pigments in the markers are more staining than others and absolutely will not lighten once you lay them down no matter what you try. Some colors will lighten dramatically with a blending pen, so try a sample out on a scrap piece of paper and test your results before you commit on your working art piece.

Keep in mind that the paper will not hold an infinite amount of layers of color.  I’ve found that I can get a nice look with two layers. Beyond that it’s dicey, depending on the brand of paper and the pigments in each pen.  You can tell it’s not going too well when it gets granulated or bleeds through to the back excessively. In tricky areas it always pays off to try a sample of what you are trying to accomplish on a scrap piece of paper first.

For a complete guide to blending with alcohol markers, check out my great article here.

Lighthouse Tutorial

Using paper specifically made for markers, sketch the rough shape of the lighthouse, palm tree, house and shrubbery with faint pencil lines, leaving plenty of room on all sides for mounting and color testing. You don’t want a coloring book effect here, so feel free to use dashes or the smallest, least amount of lines possible just to  give you a general guideline of where to place your colors. lighthouse outline

Step One:

Using Aspire Color marker PB76 Sky Blue and the chisel end, color in the glass portion of the lighthouse, leaving about one half inch blank on the right side of the glass.  Fill in this side with Aspire Color marker PB 185 Pale Blue Light. An overall streaky look works well here to imitate the looks of reflections in the glass. lighthouse outline + some color

Color in the right section of the lighthouse roof with Aspire Color marker WG3 and then PB Pale Blue Light on top of it.  

Color in the left section of the lighthouse roof with Aspire Color marker CG4 Cool Grey.  

Draw in roof details with Aspire Color marker CG9 Cool Grey.

Color in the left rim of the lighthouse balcony floor and the right gutter of the roof with Aspire Color marker Y36 Cream as in the above photo.

Color in the right window with Aspire Color marker WG5 Warm Grey. Color in the middle window and door with Aspire Color marker BG7 Blue Grey.

Draw in Details with Aspire Color marker 120 Black.

Step Two:

Now for the body of the tower and railing: lighthouse outline + more color 1

Draw in the right railing with Aspire Color marker B67 Pastel Blue using the pointed tip end. Draw in the middle sections of the railing with Aspire Color marker CG Cool Grey.  Draw in the left section of the railing with Aspire Color marker B63 Cerulean Blue.

Draw in the lattice of the glass and the lines under the walkway of the lighthouse with Aspire Color marker CG6 Cool Grey using the pointed tip end.  

Using the chisel end of Aspire Color marker Y36 Cream, color with one swipe the top left corner of the lighthouse tower.  

Using Aspire Color marker CG1 and the chisel end, draw vertical lines down the center of the tower then expand the area into the upper right portion of the tower body, going directly over the right window.  Use this same color for one vertical stripe on the left side of the tower body.

With Aspire Color marker CG2 and the chisel end, color in the lighthouse tower on the middle left side using long vertical strokes and continue coloring towards the right  until it meets the pale first color of the tower body.

Now use Aspire Color marker CG4 Cool Grey with the chisel end and draw a wide darker stripe of shadow just to the left of center of the tower body.  Quickly blend the left edge into the middle tone grey with CG1 to soften the edge just a bit.

Using Aspire Color marker CG1 with the chisel edge color the bottom of the building. Then color the building and the roof over the grey shadow with Aspire Color marker YR27. Color the tile roof area with Aspire Color marker R131 Skin White.

Step Three:

House and beginning the palm tree and shrubs: lighthouse outline + more color 2

Using the pointed end, draw in the lines of the roof with Aspire Color marker BR96 Mahogany, leaving some areas untouched for a broken look.  

Color the doorway of the cottage with Aspire Color marker GG7 Green Grey and shade with 120 Black.  

Using the pointed end, draw in the roof shadow under the eaves of the cottage, the doorframe shadow on the left side and the right corner of the cottage  with Aspire Color marker BR95 Burnt Sienna.

With the chisel end, color the pathway using horizontal strokes with Aspire Color marker BR104 Brown Grey.

Scribble in the top edges of the shrubs with the chisel end of Aspire Color marker Y41 Olive Green.  Using the same marker and the pointed end, place some palm tree fronds on the right side of the palm tree leaves and a few in the center and left side, in a sort of starburst pattern.  Make sure it looks randomly placed, not picket-fence evenly spaced.

Using the chisel side, scribble in the placement of the shrubs with Aspire Color marker GY48 Yellow Green.  

With the pointed end draw in some palm fronds with Aspire Color marker GY Pale Green.

Reinforce the black areas on the left side of the roof, around the windows as shown above and on the left side of the glass tower lower band.

Step Four:

Shrubs, ocean and cottage: lighthouse outline + more color but no background

With Aspire Color Markers Y42 Bronze Green and G43 Deep Olive Green use the chisel end to draw flicks of palm fonds in a starburst formation using the photo above as a general guide.  Switch to the pointed end to give a few palm frond tips a sharper end.

Lay in the trunk of the palm tree with Aspire Color marker  with broad strokes of Aspire Color Marker YR Salmon Pink. Then use BR96 Mahogany with the tip of the marker and with jagged strokes cover most of the trunk, letting some of the pink peek through on the right side. Shade the trunk using jagged stroke and the pointed end of Aspire Color marker BR95 Burnt Sienna. 

Color the ocean with broad horizontal strokes using Aspire Color marker PB76 Sky Blue and immediately using B67 Pastel Blue to blend into a new color.  It will be blotchy, but that’s great because it imitates ocean waves and windy patches.

Reinforce the left edge of the lighthouse tower with a thin line of Aspire Color marker CG4 Cool Grey.

Step Five – Finishing touches:

Distant hills, sky, shrubs and small details:  

Shade the pathway using horizontal strokes and the chisel end with Aspire Color marker BR104 Brown Grey.

Scribble in some foliage with Aspire Color marker GY167 Pale Green Light, letting some of the background paper show through for sparkle.   

Add some variation in the shrubbery with Aspire Color marker GY47 Grass Green using the chisel side. lighthouse final

For the final touches, color in the hills in the distance using Aspire Color marker P83 with long horizontal strokes, not blending, as this hints at land mass variations.

Create a few small dots and flicks to hint at individual leaves in the shrubs with Aspire Color marker GY47 Grass Green and a few of G42 Deep Olive Green.  

Using the super fine black pen marker included in your Aspire Color set, draw a tiny thin line for the tower antennae and around a few of the window frames.  

Lastly, using the palest blue, Aspire Color marker PB185 Blue Light  and with the chisel edge, draw some horizontal stroke in the sky to hint at the sky peaking through clouds. Make sure you don’t create uniform strokes and shapes, as nature is not cookie-cutter and you will want variety in sizes of clouds and the distances between them.  

Matting and framing your artwork will really set it off and make it look professional.

Sign your masterpiece and enjoy!

Please see my in-depth article on markers here:

Best Papers For Markers and Why You Need It

Which Markers Are Best?

Copic Alternatives

Flower Tutorial With Markers



I hope you are enjoying this article! I really care a lot that you find what you are looking for. There are so many ways to go about creating and my goal is to help you. Thank you again for reading!

Our other useful articles