How to Color With Markers Without Streaks Like a Pro

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to color with markers without streaks

It’s mesmerizing to see artworks that seem to capture beautiful sceneries or objects like they are high-quality photographs. To achieve these flawlessly colored illustrations requires knowledge of practical techniques and a lot of practice.

Well, the practice part is up to you, but you can count us in on giving you ideas on how to color with markers without streaks.

While other artists view streaks as a style that adds character to their work, we assume you have a different view since you are reading this post so let’s start.

Ways to Avoid Streaks

What to prepare?

  • High-quality papers
  • Markers that are slow to dry
  • Colorless blending marker

1. Use High-Quality Papers


There are a lot of paper brands out there, but make sure to choose the best ones! However, how can you tell if a paper is of high quality?

The first feature to look out for is the paper’s thickness. Thick papers are preferable because they absorb ink better than thin drawing pages.

Moreover, thin papers are more likely to bleed. The stubborn ink it leaves is not an inviting sight, especially on a sketchpad or coloring book with other pages.

When in a bookstore looking for papers to use on coloring with markers, go for smooth and matte textured papers.

They are best to use because the ink will not dry quickly, giving you more time to blend Sharpies on paper.

2. Purchase Markers That Do Not Dry Quickly


Suppose you already got a hold of high-quality papers; you will now need your reliable markers! You should know that there are three types of markers: alcohol-based, water-based, pigment-based, and oil-based.

Furthermore, it is easier to use water-based markers for beginners since they take longer to dry compared to alcohol based markers. You will have more time to blend.

Expect the ink to dry up faster with alcohol markers. On the contrary, it doesn’t mean you cannot use alcohol-based markers to achieve impeccable blending.

High-end alcohol-based ink markers like Copic markers blend well with enough practice of the needed control and speed.

3. Do Circular Strokes


This method is infamous when you need to shade with markers and on other coloring materials like oil pastels and streak markers.

If you are a beginner, coloring in a circular motion is the way to go. Just make sure that the edges are overlapping consistently. Also, limit the overlaps to three coatings.

Since there will surely be more than one coating when making circular strokes with colouring pens, choose a two to three shades lighter marker.

4. Make Consistent Strokes

Consistency is a must if you are aiming for spotless illustrations. The first thing you need to be consistent about is the direction of your strokes.

If you start coloring in a circular motion, you better stick to it and avoid coloring with vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines. Follow this or risk getting streaks everywhere!

It would be best if you avoided a sudden shift in pressure to certain areas to be darker than other surfaces. Moreover, do not lift your hand until the whole area is colored.

5. Color Quickly: Blend While the Ink is Wet


Learning that art has wet and dry drawing mediums is essential to know how to make the most of your art materials.

In line with this, markers are wet mediums. They work well when wet, so you have to be quick to blend the colors perfectly without streaks.

There may be no such thing as an instant in the world of art, but one thing’s for sure! Be like The Flash when shading those wide areas!

6. Try the Flicking Pattern Technique


Professional artists commonly use this technique, but why not give it a try? You can do this by starting with the areas that you want to be darker.

Consequently, flick your marker to get lighter shades. Then, start with the lighter areas to flick to the darker shades for a smooth transition.

The flicking pattern technique requires excellent control, shading, and blending skills. It also works well if you want to explore without lineart projects.

7. Choose the Right Color Shades


One of the marker coloring techniques that can help you is choosing the right color codes. You can try this if you want to color with Crayola markers or other markers.

Marker manufacturing companies aced up their game by offering color coding systems like the Copic Color System in Copic Markers.

In blending to prevent streaks, use a transitional color if you want to combine light and dark shades. The transitional color is the medium shade between the two.

Moreover, ensure you pick the shades closer in the color coding system. It is because selecting color shades far apart in the color codes will more likely cause streaks.

8. Start Coloring with the Lighter Shades

Visual artists aim for proper shading to produce more polished and realistic outputs. It is attainable by knowing more about the value property color with markers.

Value is one of the fundamental properties of color, which pertains to the amount of light reflected or how light or dark a color is.

Thus, we highly advise starting with lighter shades when shading. Streaks are more expected if you start with the darker colors and then coat them with lighter ones.

It is much easier to darken light areas if you start with lighter shades than to lighten dark areas if you start with darker shades.

9. Practice!

Reaching this part means that you really care about improving your work, and cheers to that!

You also probably know that to master these coloring techniques with markers requires a great deal of practice. We guess we’ll remind you either way.

Seeing better results depends on your determination to practice until you are not just satisfied but rather delighted. You can do this!

Helpful Tips to Avoid Annoying Streaks

  • Always prepare scratch paper so you can practice before doing it directly on your work.
  • You can also print photocopies of your drawing to practice shading on specific areas if you want to achieve perfect blending.
  • You can try using Copic Wide markers with broad nibs specifically designed to avoid streaks when coloring vast spaces.
  • Play with your imagination, and never be afraid to think outside the box—experiment with different ways to achieve flawless outputs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my markers look streaky?

Your markers look streaky because of the uneven coverage of ink on the paper. It can happen every time the ink overlaps when you do your strokes.

The imprecise application of the marker causes more than one coating through every stroke, leaving darker and lighter areas on the paper.

What are the best markers on the market that are less streaky?

Art markers are susceptible to streaks no matter their brand. Indeed, many factors are involved, but we have your back if you’re looking for markers with outstanding blending capabilities.

You can check out Copic Markers, Blick Studio Brush Marker, and Prismacolor Premier Markers.

How do you color evenly with markers?

If you are a beginner, we highly suggest doing fluent circular strokes. Apply consistent pressure and do not lift your hand until you cover the whole area.

How do you make markers less streaky?

Use smooth thick papers so the ink won’t quickly dry, giving you more time to blend.

Choosing high-quality markers that don’t streak will also produce better results than cheap ones.

How do you color without leaving lines?

You can try the flicking pattern technique. Start shading on the area that you want to be darker, then flick the nib to create lighter shades.

Consequently, even out the colors by pointing the marker nibs on the lighter areas, then flick the marker to the darker shades.

You can also use this technique with colored pencils when blending wide areas.

How to correct streaks in my drawing?

The streaks in your drawing may not be permanent as you can do some remedies, such as using a colorless blender marker.

A colorless blending tool works well with alcohol-based markers in blending and creating light illusions.

Nevertheless, note that it can be tricky to use as it can lighten marker on paper.

You can also choose a lighter tone to apply beside the dark streaks to even it out.


They say that change is the only constant thing in this world. People might look at it negatively, but you should not!

Along with change comes growth and learning, so be thankful for change because you get to learn how to color with markers without streaks.

Some are using quality materials, practicing your stroking technique, and choosing the right colors. Likewise, we won’t mind you sharing other ways you discovered.

We sincerely hope that you learned a lot by reading this post. We wish you all the good things so you can keep pursuing art!

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