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Most alcohol-based marker sets include a colorless blender marker. Yet, most sketchers have a very vague idea of what it is meant for and how to use it. This post will demonstrate two ways you can use a colorless blender marker in your sketches.

What is a colorless blender marker?

It is an alcohol-based marker, the same as all your other markers, but it has no pigment.

How can you use the colorless blender marker?

In this article, I will demonstrate two different techniques for creating smooth gradients, but colorless blender markers can also be used to:

  • fade colors to white

  • add textures and patterns

  • add highlights

  • create new colors

  • fix mistakes and clean up edges

Technique #1. Mixing Colors with the Help of a Colorless Blender


Trying to apply two colors first and then trying to mix them with the help of the colorless blender.

The blender cannot bring the colors together. All it does is dissolve them.


Apply the colorless blender marker first, then apply the colors, starting with the lightest tone. The colorless blender creates a wet layer, which allows the colors to blend smoothly and gives you a beautiful gradient.

To learn more about blending and creating beautiful gradients with alcohol-based markers, read my post How to Blend Alcohol-Based Markers: Step-by-Step Instructions and Tips.

Technique #2. Creating a Gradient Using a Blending Palette

The video below is fairly self-explanatory, but here are the steps just in case:

  1. Put some color on the palette with the chosen alcohol-based marker. You can use a real palette or any piece of plastic.

  2. Pick the color up from the palette using the colorless blender marker.

  3. Apply it on paper.

You can use this technique in a number of ways:

  • to create a smooth gradient

  • to do flat coloring (no gradient, just one tone)

  • to create tones that you do not have in your marker set: use one color and the colorless blender, and you will get lighter than the original color, or use two or three colors and the blender, and you will create a very different hue (e.g. red and yellow will produce orange).

Other resources:

I also have a range of Skillshare classes devoted to sketching with alcohol-based markers. Click on the images below to join these classes.

Alcohol-based markers for beginners:

If you are not on Skillshare yet, use my referral link to get your first month free.

Alcohol-based markers in urban sketching:

Creating expressive sketches with alcohol-based markers:


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