How to Make Your Marker Sketches Pop

Sometimes I get the questions how to make your marker sketches pop or stand out more. I know it’s a common issue amongst designers and students and I think I know what the problem is caused by.


Or in other words, LACK of contrast. You see, I used to have this problem too. This was when I was starting out with marker sketching. Why did I have this problem? I was scared of messing up my sketch. And because I was scared of messing up my sketch, I stayed away from adding too much contrast and deep colors/black in my sketches. This resulted in a sketch that looked “washed-out” and shallow. There was no depth to it.

What I would like to encourage you to try, if you feel you have a similar problem, is to add black to your sketches. Like full on 100% black marker where it’s suppose to be black such as the wheels, air intakes/outlets, grille, baseline etc. Just try it one time and if you don’t like it, just go back to your old ways of sketching. But I can almost guarantee that if you use black properly, the sketch will “pop” more. Because it simply adds a stark contrast.

Once you have the black down, add a few highlight using white ink or gouache. By doing this, we are using the entire spectrum of shades in our sketch – from the black marker to the white ink.

I hope this will help you in getting your marker sketches to pop.

Let me know if you have any experience with this yourself in the comments below!

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