Implementing a light source along with proper shading and shadows are important components of making your artwork and illustrations look as realistic as possible. However, perhaps the most vital technique that makes any piece of art stand out is how seamless the blending is. Good blending can make an ordinary piece of art turn into something incredible and for that, the right tools are clearly needed. Here’s how to blend markers like a pro.
If you’re pulling up to read this with an entry level set of water based markers by your side, you won’t be achieving the results you’re looking for. That’s because it’s alcohol based markers that are king in the world of art. It’s their versatility and unique capabilities, such as the ink drying quickly and being able to achieve smoother blends, which makes them far superior. So, if you want to take your artwork to the next level, consider investing in a professional set of alcohol based markers.
As you’d expect, we’ll be offering advice on how to blend our very own Chameleon Pens, which are designed to work with other alcohol pens and not replace them entirely, so blending is just as seamless.
Let’s get onto how you can achieve similar blends to these.
Regular marker use
The most basic technique to try is using a Chameleon Pen like a regular marker. If your illustrations don't need any blending using the unique Mixing Chamber, a block color throughout a particular section can still look great.
Here, all you’d need to do is grab the color you want and begin coloring your artwork into a solid color. This is good practice for those who are new to using markers before stepping it up a level and utilizing some other blending techniques.
One pen blends
The beauty of Chameleon Pens is that you don’t need to continue switching back and forth between markers to get some amazing blends. Chameleon Pens and the incredible Mixing Chamber allow you to change the tone and color at the pen's source, so you don’t have to keep swapping pens.
If you’re working from light to dark, pick one of the nibs from the pen and infuse it with the Mixing Chamber to dilute the color.
Then, begin coloring in a section and you’ll begin to see that you’re getting multiple tones going from lighter shades to darker to make it look a lot more realistic.
The number of tones available goes into the hundreds and you can check out the chart below to see an example of some blends you can achieve , depending on how long you infuse the nib with the Mixing Chamber.
Blend two of the same color
Although you can achieve amazing blends with the same pen for the same color, that doesn’t stop you from getting blends of two similar colors.
For example, you might choose to grab a YG3 Spring Meadow and a GR3 Grass Green which are both green but are very different tones. After applying both colors onto your paper, simply blend over the lighter color with the diluted darker tone, vice versa and repeat this until you’re happy with the blend.
Creating new colors through blending
An amazing aspect of blending is that you’re able to create different colors, even if you don’t have that exact pen available. To do this, you need to do exactly what you did in the second technique - blending using only one pen.
Pick out a section on your illustration that’s already been colored in. What you need to do is grab a Chameleon Pen (different to the one you used to color the section in before) and repeat the diluting process. Infuse your nib in the Mixing Chamber for roughly the same amount of time as the previously colored in section.
You want to layer the translucent tone over the lighter tone and color your way towards the darkest tone. What you’ll notice is that the previous darker color then changes completely to this new color you’ve created. This is something that gives a massive burst of depth to your work.
Blending two opposing colors
This is something which catches many growing artists out: not only trying to blend two completely different colors together, but also making it look impressive at the same time. To do this, grab two completely different colored pens and infuse the first's nib with the Mixing Chamber. Again, you’ll have the lighter tone on one side and the darker color on the opposite side of your illustration.
Then comes the impressive part. You need to grab the other pen and do the same thing but from the opposite side. So, infuse the nib with the Mixing Chamber for a similar amount of time as before and apply the lighter tone over the darker tone of the previous color you used.
As you continue coloring, you’ll see the beautiful blends and just how easy it is for one color to seamlessly flow into the other. To achieve the best blends without any streaks, hold your pen more upright so the lighter color in the nib is laid down first.
That’s all there is to it.
And with Chameleon Pens, you need fewer markers to blend more colors. If you've been inspired to practice your blending skills after watching this video, share your efforts with us on #ChameleonPens over on social media. You never know, you might be featured in one of our "Best of Chameleon Pens" posts.
Want some more ideas, tips and tutorials?
After mastering how to blend markers, why not download our free guide? You can learn some more of the fantastic ways that Chameleon Pens can be used.