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How to Color with Markers Without Streaks: 7-Step Guide

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to color with markers without streaks

It can be a bugger when your work comes with streaked colors that ruin its overall quality, right?

I have countless artworks that came to waste because of my previous inability to color well. However, I’ve figured out how to avoid streaks. And it is about time to share the techniques with you.

Some causes of streaked colorings are low-quality surface papers, quick-drying markers, and poor coloring technique. In this guide, you will learn how to deal with these problems and how to color with markers without streaks.

So, stick with us, and you will surely learn a unique technique that minimizes streaks upon coloring.

To Start Off, You Will First Need the Following


  • Thick and good quality paper
  • Markers that don’t dry quickly

You see, you do not need many tools to add streak-free color to your work. Because technique is the biggest factor for it.

How to Color with Markers without Streaks Step by Step


Get ready and follow these simple steps to make your artwork come to life.

Step 1: Choose Thick and Good-quality Paper

You have to build a firm foundation to produce good results. That’s why the first step is to prepare yourself for triumph with the best paper in town. Take this conscious step before you sit down at the table.

This will help you lessen the chances of streaks appearing on your page. If you ask what types of paper show little to no streak, then the answer is thick paper.

You have to ensure that the ink does not soak down the paper instantly because that’s one cause of pen streaking. Soaking also makes the pen strokes overlap and therefore result in darker colors.

Thick papers can absorb colors slowly yet more effectively and consistently, leaving no room for streaking. The primary target in coloring is to keep the ink pooled on the paper’s surface for a brief period, as it allows oil or water molecules to merge for an even look.

A downside of having thin paper is its tendency to bleed. So, it is always best to avoid thin papers.

Aside from thickness, having a tight weave also plays a part. If you’re graced with excellent eyesight and can easily notice small details by looking closely at a certain angle, it will be easy for you to spot gaps in paper fibers that are the primary cause of streaking.

You will likely see loose fabric weaves in homemade and recycled paper. Better stay away from them if you want to make your color smooth.

Matte paper is the best option for marker coloring as it has a bit of coating. The coat slows down the paper’s ability to absorb the ink.

Refrain from uncoated papers that absorb ink too quickly and glossy ones that never absorb inks at all.

Step 2: Get a Marker that Won’t Dry Out Quickly

It’s best to know the two types of coloring markers before coloring. These are water-based and alcohol-based. These two markers work depending on your preference, whether you want to blend, whether you are a slow or a fast worker.

If you are a fast worker, go for alcohol-based markers because they dry quicker than water-based ones. For an alcohol-based marker, one good option is the Copic Marker 72-Piece Sketch Set. Artists prefer Copic because of its stable quality.

On the other hand, water-based markers dry slowly, which results in ink pooling inconsistently; how the ink pool depends on the amount of ink present on the paper. This feature makes water-based markers ideal for artists who love to blend.

It is best to experiment first on blank papers to know whether you want an alcohol-based or water-based marker.

Experimenting also allows you to know if the ink is quick-drying or not. This will help you move your hands quickly, know how the ink looks when overlapping, and determine if the marker is ideal for blending.

Step 3: Color your Work in Circular Motion or Strokes

After you bought a good quality paper and a marker that does not dry quickly, it’s time to start coloring.

For starters, use circular motion or strokes that effectively prevents streaking. Creating consistent small circles is a nice way to build up thick color paint.

Another tip is to overlap the edges uniformly and redo them until you obtain two to three coatings of color. However, it is best to remember that colors tend to be darker when overlapping. So, choose lighter shades when overlapping to get the color you want.

Step 4: Color Quickly

It is not a good idea to slow down once you start coloring any part of the drawing because it is one known factor for streaking.

Lifting your marker for an extended period without making a single stroke creates a high chance of streaking.

Step 5: Use the Flicking or Brushing Technique

Flick your marker in areas where you want dark colors. Start from the outside of the shape you’re drawing and flick towards the inside.

Continue doing this step until you surround the shape with color.

Afterward, blend a faintly lighter shade into the dark-colored area of the pattern. You will see that the colors will overlap beautifully.

Flicking involves control, the strength of the marker tip, direction, and skills in shading and blending.

This technique is known for giving a professional look to your artwork. That’s why most professional artists use the flicking style. Know more about this technique by watching this video.

Step 6: Create fluent Strokes

For the best output, create fluent and smooth marker strokes. And as I have mentioned before, it’s never a good idea to let the ink dry out. So, it is always good to apply another stroke when the ink is still wet.

Also, emphasize the drawing’s contours with a fine marker that creates larger strokes in the end.

Step 7: Be Consistent in Coloring and Work on Your Style

Keep on coloring until you achieve the color shade you want. And never lift your pen until you finish a part of your drawing. Coloring consistently is an effective way of slowing down the appearance of ugly strokes.

Finally, work on your style or technique that minimizes streaking.

No marker produces a completely streak-free result. So, if you want to make your coloring as consistent as possible, it’s a good idea to practice your style.

It’s unlikely for streaking to occur in a small coloring area, compared to large white spaces of your artwork.

Pro Tips:

  • If you colored your artwork and it already resulted in streaks, the best thing to do is to color over it.
  • Remember that if you use similar colors in one portion of your artwork, it will turn one shade darker than the usual color.
  • When you use a different color from another family, the overall tone changes. This is a good option if the first color you chose is not the one you needed in the first place.
  • If you plan on using a colorless blender when coloring over your work, remember that a colorless blender makes the shade lighter.
  • If you want to use a color that comes a little lighter than the original one, go for one or two shades lighter because it is known to smooth out colors and even bring it out to the nearest color you want.


Did you find the right way on how to color with markers without streaks?

If yes, start coloring and let your art have the best-colored texture. After all, artwork colored without streaks will definitely look stunning.

Markers, like the Copic Marker 72-Piece Sketch Set, are known due to their vivid shades. Mix them with the techniques mentioned in this article, and everything will go well with your artwork.

We hope you find this guide helpful; help us by spreading it to your loved ones. We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments, too.

To an incredible artwork!

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