Pencils vs Markers: Why Markers Create Quality Colorings


Colored pencils may be the most popular tool to use in coloring books but there are very valid reasons why you should consider setting aside your pencils and using a pack of markers instead. Below you can find an in depth pros and cons breakdowns of using markers to color your designs.

Markers are easier to color with


Coloring with markers is an absolute joy because of how smooth they are. Colored pencils use graphite which basically scratches the the paper and as it breaks apart the debris it leaves behind is the color. While this happens on a microscopic scale if you are coloring for several hours, which many coloring pages require, you will definitely start to feel the side effects of this “friction”. Markers on the other side use liquid ink which is much smoother and easier to apply.

Markers provide better color application

Another huge benefit of liquid ink is that it can fit into all the little cracks of the paper and create a much higher quality coloring. Although you can’t normally see it, all paper has “ridges” and “valleys”. Since the graphite in colored pencils is hard it will only color the tops of the ridges and leave the valleys blank. If you have ever colored with pencils and noticed lighter colored streaks across the space you colored, you have experienced this before. The liquid ink in markers on the other hand can flow down the valleys and color those as evenly as the ridges which creates a much more professional looking finish.

Blending colors with markers is possible


Source: www.imaginationinternationalinc.com

If you ask a group of artists what the downfalls of markers are, one of the most cited things will be that they do not blend well. While this is true for regular alcohol free markers, ones that do use alcohol in their ink allow for much better blending. Alcohol-free markers can leave blending streaks which occur in the area where the first layer of color and the second layer overlap, this produces a darker color and can look unprofessional. Since alcohol based markers take slightly longer to dry they allow layers of color to blend seamlessly producing a high quality uniform color.

No need to sharpen


Some coloring books have lots of detail for you to color. The only way to get color into those small spaces is to use either a very well sharpened pencil or fine tipped markers. The issue with using a colored pencil for these highly detailed spots is that they will quickly lose their sharp point and will need to be resharpened again. Fine or extra fine tipped markers on the other hand will not lose their sharpness and can be used on detail after detail.

The truth is…

That both colored pencils and markers aren’t perfect. They each have their benefits and downfalls. The only way to know which is best depends on you. For some people markers may be the clear winners and others will find that pencils are their calling, it is up to you to try both and decide.

In our opinion however the best option is to use both. You can use markers to lay down a base color and then go in with your pencils to add more texture and depth for a much more realistic and professional looking coloring. You can also just switch back and forth depending on how you are feeling, or what the design requires, that's the beauty of coloring and art, there are no rules.

Do you have a clear favorite? Let us know in the comments :)


Kathy on March 08 2017 at 11:59AM

Thanks for the tip. I just got some sharpies so far I do like how they flow. I really love my pianos tip gel pens the glitter ones are my favorite

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