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What are Chameleon Pens & How do Alcohol Markers Work?

By Chameleon Art Products
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You may have heard of Chameleon Pens, the sensational, award-winning, unique marker pens that blend color.

If you haven’t then, wow, be prepared to have your minds blown because these pens will revolutionize the way you color.

Keep reading to learn everything you could want to know about these innovative marker pens, discover amazing coloring techniques, and grab yourself some free coloring pages.


1. What are Alcohol Markers?

2. What is a Chameleon Pen?

I. Breakdown of the Chameleon Pen

II. How to use your Chameleon Pens

III. Help, I’ve Infused Upside Down

3. Built to Last – Refilling Pens & Replacing Nibs

I. How to Replace Chameleon Pen Nibs

II. How to Refill Chameleon Pens

4. Storage of Alcohol Based Marker Pens

5. Surfaces you can Color with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

6. Coloring & Shading Techniques with Alcohol Marker Pens

7. Different Coloring Techniques Using Alcohol Marker Pens

8. Downloadable Coloring Pages

What are Alcohol Markers?

When it comes to marker pens, there are a variety of different options available. Not only do you have multiple nib options – brush, bullet, chisel, and broad but you also have different ink types such as alcohol, water, and paint.

Basically, alcohol markers are pens that use alcohol-based ink.

There are pros and cons to each ink type, but for this guide, we will be focusing on why you need alcohol markers and how you can take your art to the next level.


What is a Chameleon Pen?

Being one of the best marker pen options available today, Chameleon Pens are high-quality, versatile, and unique. Plus, they are alcohol-based so, the inks are fast-drying, vibrant, and permanent on most surfaces.

Breakdown of the pen


How to use Chameleon Pens

Creating amazing color-gradations with one pen is easy and fun, thanks to the innovative Chameleon system.

But how does it work? Well, thanks to this blog, you’re about to become a Chameleon Pen expert.

Chameleon markers come in two parts; you’ve got a double-ended marker pen (which features a Japanese Brush Nib and a Japanese Bullet Nib) and the Mixing Chamber. It’s this chamber that allows you to create stunning one-pen blends.

Both marker pen and Mixing Chamber are refillable, and the nibs are replaceable.

How to use Chameleon Pens

Using the Chameleon system is super easy to do!

Here’s how to create color gradations with Chameleon Pens.

1. Place the Mixing Chamber on your pen so the two nibs are touching.
2. Hold upright (vertical) with the Mixing Chamber on top of your pen.
3. Infuse - The longer you infuse for, the longer your color gradation will be.
4. Remove the Mixing Chamber and color.


Also, don’t forget you can also use these marker pens as a regular marker.

Borja Burgueno - Midoriya From Boku-1


For specific coloring techniques, you’re going to love our shading and coloring section further down.

Help, I've Infused my Chameleon Pen Upside Down 

Don’t panic these things can happen.

If you only briefly infused upside down or if there is only a small amount of colored ink on your Mixing Chamber Nib, just put the pen back in its correct fuse position (pen upright with the Mixing Chamber on top). Infuse until the color has transferred back into the pen (This process can sometimes take a few minutes, and the Mixing Chamber Nib can be left with a stain).

Remember to color out your infusion. 

If the Mixing Chamber Nib is completely saturated, you can try the above method but, it’s probably quicker and easier if you replace the Mixing Chamber Nib.


Built to Last - Refilling and Replacing Nibs

That’s right, Chameleon markers are refillable, and the nibs are also replaceable. So, these unique marker pens are designed to last a long time.

How to Replace Chameleon Pen Nibs?

Shop Chameleon Nibs here.

How to Refill Chameleon Pens?


Shop Chameleon Inks here.  

Fun fact: your Chameleon Alcohol Inks are for more than just refilling your Chameleon Pens.

Because the ink is artist-quality, these inks are a fantastic medium on their own. We love how you can use the inks to create fun backgrounds.

Scrapbooking Backgrounds with Alcohol based marker pens - Carolina Ghelfi

Ink Stamping with Alcohol based marker pens - Cathy Andronicou


Storage of Alcohol Based Marker Pens

As your Chameleon Pens are double-ended, we recommend storing them horizontally (flat) as this will ensure the ink doesn’t sit in one end of the pen. 

When storing the markers make sure that:

- All the caps are firmly closed
- All components are put back together properly
- They are placed out of direct sunlight and high temperatures

Surfaces you can Color with Alcohol Based Marker Pens 

Being permanent markers, your Chameleon Pens can be used on a multitude of surfaces. Here’s a selection of our favorites.

Paper & Card Blending with Alcohol Based Marker Pens 

Your Chameleon Pens are fantastic to use on a large range and variety of paper and card-stocks. If you’re worried about the ink bleeding through, we’d recommend using a paper/card that’s designed for alcohol marker pens.

Showcasing what you can do with one marker pen and one piece of Bristol Smooth Paper is Ian De Jesus with his cute chibi mermaid coloring page video.


Download the coloring page here

Mirrors and Glass decorating with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

Etch your way to fabulous DIY projects. Learn how you can decorate and color on surfaces like glass thanks to these tutorials by Cathy Andronicou.



Fabric Decorating with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

Teaching you to not only master decorating fabric but also calligraphy is the amazing Louise Collins.


Wood Crafts with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

As these markers are permanent on most surfaces, they’re great for decorating wood. Take a look at how you can jazz up your stationery supplies with Cathy’s tutorial.

Like what you see and want to know more? Check out our decorating wood blog here.

Clay Coloring with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

Want to learn how to decorate polymer clay with Chameleon? Watch our tutorials by Cathy Andronicou to see how you can create some cool, clay projects.



Candle decorating with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

Now, you don’t exactly use the pens on candles for this one. However, you can create your design on a piece of tissue paper and then melt it into the wax candle.

Watch this tutorial by Louise Dunbar to see how it’s done.


Coloring & Shading Techniques with Alcohol Marker Pens

Like with any medium, shading with marker pens can be a learning experience. Some popular tips include:

- Work slowly and take your time
- Always think of your light source and shape of your subject matter 
- Start lighter – it’s easier to darken an area than it is to lighten it


Different Coloring Techniques Using Alcohol Marker Pens 

Firstly, let’s cover a popular topic – avoiding streaks. 

A top tip for achieving smooth coloring and streak-free color gradations is slightly overlapping your pen strokes as this will help give you that even coverage. 

For more tips on streak-free coloring, check out this video.



We all know the Chameleon system allows you to create amazing color blends in small spaces, but what about large areas?

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that this too is achievable.
A few tips for working in large areas are:

- Infuse for a longer – you can infuse your marker pen from 1-35 seconds
- If the area you’re coloring is very large, split it into smaller more manageable sections

Jonathan Knight P3 IG


Tip: Time your infusions. By keeping track of how long you’re infusing the pen for you can easily replicate color gradation.

Download our infusion timesheet here.



Finally, let’s cover a few fun coloring techniques for creating different textures with marker pens.

Coloring Skin with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

Portrait by Ana Viegas.

Ana Filipa Art P7 IG-1


Eye by Kate Mur.

Coloring Hair & Fur with Alcohol Based Marker Pens

Hair shading with one pen by Warren Louw.


Detective Pikachu by Jessica Taylor.


Grizzly Bear by Nick Kakanis.

Violet the Bear by Dave Antram.


Coloring Fruit

Orange tutorial by Olesya Andreyeva.


Downloadable Coloring Pages

What will you create with your Chameleon Pens? Download some of our free coloring pages to kick-start your creative adventure.

Lady portrait line art coloring page Ian De Jesus

Floral Mandala line art design coloring page printable artwork illustrationChameleon animal line art coloring page design printable -1

Purple Lilac flower coloring page

Calligraphy lettering coloring page line art design eat sleep create repeat

Line Art Portrait by Ana Filipa Viegas

View all free coloring pages here!

Discover the Chameleon effect for yourselves by grabbing your Chameleon products here!

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