Here is a step by step tutorial on using alcohol markers as a realistic art medium.
The most important thing to remember when using alcohol markers is to get the right paper. Please read my article devoted to the best paper for markers here.
1. Make a color swatch
My first steps with alcohol based markers is to assemble my colors by swatching out samples or using the handmade swatch chart that I made with each set that I own. I’m going to plan from lightest to darkest application sequence.
I make a labelled chart and lay my pens out on my table top for easy grabbing.
2. Sketch a rough outline
Lightly sketch the rough outline shapes of the flower and the stem. I originally sketched in some abstract background shapes for the background, but after finishing the flower, I decided to eliminate a background all together. Use the lightest possible touch with a non smearing pencil.
3. The lightest lights
Using Aspire color Y36, color the central section of the petals and a few of the left petals with the chisel end.
Now with Aspire color R131 color the palest part of the left petals.
Color the lightest part of the right petals with YR25.
4. Fill in the petals
Using YR27 fill in the rest of the petals with the chisel end, blending edges if you wish with the first colors used.
5. Now start with the pink colors
Color the mid pinks of left petals with RP9 and the chisel end.
Color in the mid pinks of the right petals with RP17 with the chisel end.
Using chisel end, color the central head of the flower F122 then mottle on the darker YR32 on top of that, leaving some of the lighter yellow to peak through.
6. Color the stem
Base the stem color GY172 making ragged edges on both sides to simulate ‘hairs’ using chisel end.
7. Shading the right petals
Color the right petals closest to the flower head F122, then darken it with R3.
On the right petals, go over the entire petal again with RP17 and while it’s still wet add F122 to blend.
On lower edges of all petals using chisel end of P84.
8. Shading the left petals
Color the left petals with PR89 on the midtones and blend overall with RP17
Darken the darkest darks with F121
9. Petal lines
Using fine tip of marker, draw petal lines using R3 for the darkest lines and R22 for the lightest lines.
If you own a Copic W3 (very pale warm grey) stroke over the left petals everywhere EXCEPT the lightest lights.
If you own a Copic C4, (very pale cool grey) stroke over the right petals everywhere EXCEPT the lightest lights.
10. Center core of flower
Using a broken stroke, make short jagged lines with the fine point of R22 in a fan shape pattern.
On the lower edge do likewise with R2.
Halfway up the core add a few green strokes using GY59.
Using R1, begin coloring the ‘negative space’ around the individual filaments of the core. I did this by first using the fine point end of the marker and drawing little oval circles around the bottom section, making sure that I left enough room in the center of each oval to let the yellow show through. Go slow enough to control your oval size, because once you cover up the yellow, it’s gone for good. Try to make your ovals point outwards in a fan shape…this will show curvature of the ball shape of the core. Make little ovals over the lower one third of the core.
Using short little strokes and the fine tip of R1, make fan shaped vertical strokes on the middle third of the core, using progressively shorter and shorter strokes as you go up the core, eventually just making a few dots.
Go back into the lower third and begin carefully coloring in the negative areas in between ovals.
11. Final Step — Stem
Using GY47 color with jagged lines and squiggles the central mid-tones of the stem, leaving the two outside edges as is.
Shade the stem up under the petal with G43 and more squiggle lines.
Continue down the center of the stem with dots and small squiggles, but leave plenty of the lighter green showing.
Erase any wayward sketch lines and enjoy your creation!