How to Color Skin With Alcohol Markers? – Detailed Steps

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll


Looking for a step-by-step guide to learn how to color skin with alcohol markers? Well, you are in the right place. Below, we will walk you through the entire process. Plus, we will offer you insider tips and tricks to make your skin-coloring process easier. Let’s get right into it!

A Few Things to Consider Before Coloring Skin With Alcohol Markers

#1 – Swatch the Colors

The tricky thing about alcohol markers is that they do not always appear on paper as on their caps or labels. As such, it is always necessary to test them out first.

You can create a color swatch on a separate piece of paper. However, make sure you use the same type of paper. The ink can look different depending on the paper you use.

During this step, you can mix and match colors and choose the ones you will use later. This can take some time, but it is a very important step. It will ensure that when you blend alcohol markers, it will be seamless.

#2Pick the Perfect Paper


Alcohol markers work best on thick, heavy-weight paper. They might bleed and tear through thin paper, such as those used for sketching and watercoloring. So, be sure to choose the appropriate type. We recommend 80-pound, bleed proof paper.

If you are using Ohuhu markers, feel free to get the brand’s marker pad.

#3 – Practice a Draft Version

Before you go ahead and work on your final piece, it helps to practice with a draft version. If you are using a template, consider printing a smaller copy of it and coloring it first.

You will have to invest extra time and effort, but it will guarantee you do better on your final piece. It is a chance for you to practice blending, get an idea of how the colors will look, and test the positions of shadows.

A Step-by-step Guide to Color Skin With Alcohol Markers


What to Prepare

  • Thick, heavyweight paper (Ideally, 80-pound and bleedproof)
  • At least two to three skin-tone markers
  • A reference photo (Optional)

To help you with the color selection process, here are some skin color combinations to consider:

With Ohuhu markers

  1. YR209 + Y9
  2. YR91 + YR10
  3. YR10 + YR5 + YR20
  4. YR91 + R27 + R26 + R29
  5. Y145 + YR148 + Y12
  6. R26 + R29 + WG-05
  7. R27 + R26 + R30 + WG05
  8. R29 + R19 + WG05
  9. YR95 + YR10 + BR2 + YR20
  10. R26 + R29 + R18
  11. R18 + YR20 + R27
  12. Y145 + YR5 + YR91
  13. R24 + R26 + YR148
  14. YR91 YR5 + R18
  15. R26 + R27 + R28
  16. R18 + YR20 + Ỵ
  17. R29 + YR14 5 + Y145
  18. R26 + YR10 + YR91
  19. YR2C + Y 145 + Y12
  20. Y12, YR209 + R18
  21. R29 + R26 + R27
  22. YR148 + R28
  23. Y20 + BR2
  24. R18 + R24 + R26
  25. BR2 + YR5 + YR16
  26. R28 + YR95
  27. WG05 + R29 + BR2 + YR209
  28. YR10 + YR91
  29. YR107 + YR148 + YR91
  30. WG05 + YR209 + Y9

With Arteza markers

  1. A601 + A603 + A610 + A612 + A428
  2. A602 + A605 + A609 + A613 + A428
  3. A604 + A608 + A611 + A632
  4. A603 + A604 + A625 + A632

With Copic markers

  1. YR0000 + YR000 + YR01 + R00 + R01
  2. E000 + E00 + E01 + E02 + E95 E11 + R20 + R21
  3. E51 + E53 + E33 + R01 + R02
  4. YR000 + E21 + E53 + E33 + E15 + R20 + R21
  5. E53 + E33 + E15 + E17 + RV34 + RV85
  6. E13 + E15 + E17 + E18 + E79 + R22 + RV66

Step 1: Fill in the face


Begin by coloring in the face. You should use the lightest tone first. If you color skin with Ohuhu markers, do not lay down too many layers. Since the ink is richly saturated, the result will turn out more vibrant than desired.

Step 2: Add the first layer of shadows


Next, pinpoint where you will add shadows. To do this properly, you must envision the source of light and where it falls. Typically, shadows can be added:

  1. Under the eyebrows, eyes, nose, lips, and neck
  2. Around the frame of the face
  3. Along the hairline and sides of the nose

Use the same color as the one in the first step. Don’t worry about it not offering enough depth. It will still appear darker because it goes atop.

Step 3: Add another layer of shadows 


Now, grab your mid-tone skin color markers to go over the shadows again. These skin tone markers will be the ones ​​shading colors for skin.

Step 4: Blend all three layers

Blend the mid-tones you have just laid down with your base color using the lightest marker. Just go over the layers lightly. The added moisture will prompt the colors to melt together.

Step 5: Add a third layer of shadows and blend everything


Continue adding depth to the shadows. This time, use your darkest tones. Once you have gotten them where they should be, blend them in with mid-tones using your lighter markers.

Step 6: Repeat for other skin parts

Repeat this process for skin on parts other than the face!

Some Other Tips for Coloring Skin Tones With Alcohol Markers

  • If you have never colored faces and skin tones before, you should study reference photos first. Doing so will give you a rough idea of what will be realistic in terms of color choice, where shadows will be, how shadows add depth, etc.
  • To get soft shadows, blend the colors while they are still wet. Constantly switch between your tones to get the job done smoothly. If you want hard shadows, you can wait until the ink has dried.
  • To help with blending, you can use a colorless blender or blender marker. It is possible to use rubbing alcohol as well.
  • To color a face realistically, you can add other details like blush, freckles, etc. Add these after completing the skin-coloring process.
  • The hairstyle accompanying a face affects the shadows’ positions. So, make sure you take into account how the strands cover and fall over the skin.
  • When coloring, make sure you are not pressing down on the tips of your markers harshly as it can cause damage and lead to smudges, ruining your piece.
  • After using your markers for coloring, store them away properly. They should be laid flat on the sides, tightly capped, and in somewhere that is not too hot or humid.

Types of Markers for Coloring Skin Tutorials

You should use alcohol markers. They make blending different skin tones on the face, neck, and other parts easier. They also render smoother, more realistic results.

These markers are pretty easy to find. There are plenty of alcohol marker brands in the market. If you don’t already have one in mind, consider the following:

  • Ohuhu Skin Color Set Markers


  • Prismacolor Skin Tones Markers
  • Copic Skin Series Markers


  • Arteza Skin Color Markers


  • Art-n-Fly Skin Markers

With Copics, you can make your own tones. The brand’s custom ink capacity enables you to make skin color with markers.

Alcohol markers can come in several tip shapes and sizes. In this case, the practical ones include medium points, chisels, and brushes.

Fine point markers are not recommended for blending and shading, which makes up the bulk of what we will be doing. However, they might come in handy for adding details like freckles.

If you do not want to use markers, you can also think about coloring pencils, crayons, watercolor pens, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I color skin with Crayola markers?

Yes. Crayola actually has a set of skin tone colors called “Colors of the World.” However, do note that these are not alcohol markers. There are two packs to choose from. One includes 27 shades and one includes 34. They are available at online retailers, including Amazon and Blick.

Read more: Ways to get crayola marker off skin easily.

What options are there for skin tone alcohol markers cheap?

In the paragraphs above, we named Ohuhu, Prismacolor, Copic, Arteza, and Art-n-Fly as brands you can visit for skin tone alcohol markers. But some of these are rather expensive. If you do not have a generous budget, your best option out of these is Ohuhu.

Ohuhu has a set of 24 skin tone colors and a set of 36. These come in dual brush- and chisel tips.


Learning how to color skin with alcohol markers takes time, effort, and resources, but rest assured that it is worth it. It is a good skill, particularly if you intend to go professional with your art. It is definitely not an overnight task, but this detailed guide should help you get started.

The last tip we want to leave with you is practice! Remember the saying practice makes perfect? Be diligent, and you will be able to comfortably use alcohol markers to color skin in no time! You can bookmark this and pull it back up whenever you practice.

If you have any other thoughts to share or questions to ask regarding this topic, do not be afraid to reach out to us in the comments. We are always glad to hear and reply to our readers.

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