How to Color using markers

How to color your fashion sketches? Which one is the best rendering technique to achieve professional-looking illustrations quickly and easily? In this tutorial, you will learn the basics of using markers for a smooth, clean and quick rendering of your fashion sketches. Enjoy!

How to color using markers

Step 1: Thinking in advance

Markers are permanent media. This means that once it’s laid down the color can’t be taken back and you are unable to cover it with a lighter shade. This is the reason you need to think of the lightest areas first. Grab a pencil and mark the light spots pressing very gently- the pencil lines should not be visible later.
If you haven’t decided on the direction of the light just mark the most bulged out areas.

Fashion sketching using markers. Coloring technique tips

Step 2: Base color layer

Start coloring the areas around the lightest spots. In order to fill everything with a nice, flat layer of color render the large spaces first and then fill in the parts that are closer to the ends.

For best results move the marker in circular motion – this will prevent your sketch from getting unwanted white gaps.

Coloring using markers - step by step tutorial for fashion designers

Step 3: First shadows layer

After you have the base color blocking of your fashion illustration you can move to draw the shadows. In general, these are the parts of your sketch that are either overlapping or are “sinking” volumes – placed deeper in the surface of the illustration. Check out the “How to draw skin shadows” tutorial to understand more about the placement of the shadows.
Remember to draw the shadows as shapes. Outline the shape of a shadow and then fill it in. The color needs to be a few shades darker than the base tone and preferably – cooler. The sunlight is warm and the shadows- cool.

Fashion design sketches coloring - using markers

Step 4: Second shadows layer

Your fashion sketches will look much more alive and dramatic if you add an extra layer of shadow.
This one is darker than the first shadows drawn, but be careful- you don’t want to make the contrast with the base tone too visible.
Place the second shadows layer at the spots where there is the most overlapping or depth. Again avoid blending, but rather draw the shadows as nice and smooth shapes.

Coloring fashion sketches and illustration using Copic markers

Step 5: Outlines

The fashion illustration might look not polished enough and somehow unfinished without outlining. Outline each color with a thin line of a slightly darker tone. Use black to outline dark brown and gray if you miss a better color choice. Check the tutorial “Outlines part 1” for more details about outlining your artwork and some useful tips.

Outlining and coloring fashion design sketches with markers. Step by step tutorial for fashion designers

Step 6: Color variation

Fashion sketches that are colored using markers can be quite interesting with their clean color statement. However, if the result is too contrasting for your taste – take a lighter shade than your base tone and start blending gently the base to the pure white. Remember to leave some white space in the center of each highlight.
Use color pencils or pastels to add blush, eyeshadows, and details to the design.

Coloring techniques for fashion designers. Free step by step tutorial on how to color using Copic markers
How to Color using markers 1 Fashion Croquis and Drawing Tutorials

Markers are wonderful media for coloring fashion sketches. It doesn’t take long to master the technique and your designs will look professionally made. Have fun and don’t forget to experiment!
The markers brand that I use is Copic Markers.

Fashion illustration drawing and coloring step by step tutorial: Using Copic markers

UPDATE: If you want to learn more about the coloring media I use click on this link: My Fashion Sketches Coloring Technique


  1. This is really amazing… i thought color pencil will be great to use in sketches but i just realize that color pens are better.. Thanks soooo muuuccchhh….. :D :D :)

  2. Hi! I’m just getting started with fashion illustration. I know really nothing about adding color. I would welcome any tips about what materials or mediums to try. I have basic quality colored pencils but that’s really it and am trying to decide what to buy. Should I invest in nice markers? Should I try gouache or watercolor?

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