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OHUHU MARKERS: A POPULAR CHOICE FOR (URBAN) SKETCHING

I have been trying out a new 320-marker set by Ohuhu, a budget-friendly brand of art supplies that is becoming increasingly popular among my students. When you have been a fan of a certain brand, approaching a new brand with an open mind is not an easy task. However, I was inspired by my students' sketches and experiences. Read the post to learn what I think about Ohuhu alcohol-based markers.

Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Architectural sketch made with alcohol-based markers by Julia Henze, art teacher and urban sketcher.



What do you look for in markers? That usually depends on your sketching style, but most artists look at the following qualities:

  • the range of colors

  • the brightness of colors

  • the nibs (their shape, size, and flexibility)

  • blendability

  • price

We also hope for lightfastness, but let's be honest: the very nature of alcohol-based markers makes this impossible, regardless of the brand. Your sketch will fade in a matter of just a few days if you leave it in the sun. If you want to display your marker sketch on the wall, I recommend scanning it and having it printed (using high-quality ink), while keeping the original sketch safely away from light.


So let's look at what Ohuhu markers can (and cannot) do.


Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Color charts of a Honolulu set with some markers around it.


The Range of Colors

Ohuhu has a very large range. The 320-marker Honolulu set that I tested does not even include the entire Ohuhu range (481 colors total). This great variety can be a downside, as surprising as it may sound. Having so many colors is overwhelming. You sit down to sketch and you get stuck trying to choose the right colors.


Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Color charts of a Honolulu set with a marker cap. Color doesn't match the cap

To make matters even more complicated, the colors on the caps do not match the real colors of the markers, and the names of some colors are not very helpful either.


BUT:

This is actually the only issue I have with Ohuhu markers. I wanted to get this issue out of the way right here in the beginning, so we can focus on the things I loved.


Before we dive into all the great aspects of Ohuhu markers, though, let's talk about how to deal with this overwhelming range of colors.


To avoid feeling overwhelmed and confused by your new set of markers, the first thing you should do is make a chart of all your markers. This allows you to get to know the colors in your set and have a reference for every time you sit down to sketch.

Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Orange deep and red color

I recommend creating a smaller set of 20 to 30 markers of your favorite colors. You can't really bring more than that on your (urban) sketching adventures! When you use up some of the colors in this mini-set, you can replace them with some other shades from your larger set. This will push you to try new colors and not get stuck with the same 20-30 colors for years. It is a fun way to gradually discover all the colors that Ohuhu have created for you.


Create Your Own Go-To 24-Marker Set

This is important for any marker brand, not just Ohuhu. With so many available colors, you'll find it hard to decide what colors to bring when sketching on location. Or what colors to choose if you do not have much time. The solution is to create a 24-marker set that will cover most of your sketching needs.


Here's how you can do this:

  1. Make sure your set includes the basic colors: yellow, orange, red, blue, green, brown, and grey.

  2. Choose two or three tones of the same color: a lighter tone, a darker tone for shadows, and a medium tone if you like to make smooth gradients in your sketches.

Here’s what you can use the colors for:

  • yellows and oranges are great for walls

  • oranges are great for roofs (and for walls too)

  • pink is for light skin tones , flowers, and light objects

  • red can be used for houses and flowers

  • brown is for wood

  • greens are obviously for greenery

  • blues are for the sky and water

  • purples are for shadows

  • grey is for metal, stones, and sometimes the sky


Here's my 24-marker set.

Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Color charts of a Honolulu set with some markers around it. How to choose markers for your drawings. A small set of 24 markers is all you need. The perfect range set.

You may not have the exact same colors in your sets, and there's no need to. Use the principles outlined above and work with the markers you already have.


Ohuhu markers are mostly sold in sets, but some shops sell individual markers too. If you are in the Netherlands, visit BeCreative online shop (use code Juliahenze to get a 5% discount).


My 320-marker set came in a nice black case. You can store the markers in that case or buy a set of wooden boxes, arrange the markers by color, and have them on your desk, ready to use. Looks great, doesn't it?

Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Color charts of a Honolulu set with some markers around it. Wooden boxes.

Note: if you are worried about storing markers vertically vs horizontally -- don't be! It's a matter of personal preference and convenience. You cannot ruin your markers by storing them in 'the wrong' position. Read this post for this and other FAQs about alcohol-based markers.


Quality of Color

The colors that I tried are bright and juicy. They have certainly exceeded my expectations. I am very satisfied with how my sketches look. The ink flows smoothly and easily, the colors are applied evenly. This makes Ohuhu really good value for money and makes up for any issues with color names or cap colors.


If you already have markers from other brands, you can use them in combination with Ohuhu. Alcohol-based markers are interchangeable.


Ohhuhu markers sketch of two blue doors in Portugal made by Julia Henze. Bright colors. Urban sketching.


Marker Nibs

There are different kinds of nib combinations.

The Honolulu markers that I have are chisel + brush.

Ohuhu Honolulu marker with a chisel and brush nib

The chisel nib is perfect for large areas but also thin lines if you use the edge of the nib.

Ohuhu Honolulu marker chisel strokes

The brush nib is universal. It's flexible and great for coloring everything, from small details to large areas.


Ohuhu Honolulu marker brush nib strokes

Some markers have a fine nib instead of a chisel nib. What you choose is a matter of personal preference but I would recommend having a brush nib as one of your dual nibs. For me, it's also the best nib for blending because of its flexibility.


Blending and Layering

One of the most important things you want from markers is their ability to blend. I find that Ohuhu markers blend very well, especially on Ohuhu marker paper (more on this below). They didn't blend very well on another kind of marker paper, but it's true for other marker brands, too: you have to look for a perfect match.


When blending, remember these rules:


  • choose three tones (lighter, mid and darker) of the same color;

  • make sure the chosen tones are similar and look well together;

  • start with the lighter color and work towards the darker (not the other way around).


Ohuhu markers, a popular choice for (urban) sketching. Blending technique by Julia Henze, art teacher and urban sketcher.

Layering colors allows you to add depth and dimension to your sketch. When the ink of the first layer is dry, you can apply another layer with the same marker. The resulting color will be darker than the first one. You can use this technique to add shadows to your sketches.

An important note: the darker the color the better the effect. You won't notice that much difference with light yellows for example. And, of course, a very dark color like black won't get any darker.


Ohuhu Marker Paper

Ohuhu has very lovely sketchbooks with special marker paper. The paper is thick and smooth. I love the square format of my small sketchbook and the paper in the larger format sketchbook. The spiral-bound sketchbook has perforated pages: you can easily remove a page if you don't like the sketch or to scan it and turn it into a poster.

Ohuhu sketchbooks with special marker paper. The spiral-bound sketchbook with perforated pages and a square-format.

The paper is not double-sided and the markers bleed through but both sketchbooks come with a plastic sheet you can insert under the page to prevent ink from bleeding to the next page.


I put some flowers on the black sketchbook cover to make it look a bit more cheerful. The original cover is black.


Sketching Tutorial

Here's a sketching tutorial I made using Ohuhu markers on Ohuhu marker sketching pad.



I have had a lot of fun experimenting with Ohuhu markers, and I hope you will, too.


Alcohol-based markers course in Brave Brushes Studio, the best membership for amateur artists and urban sketchers. This class can be done with Promarkers, Copic or Ohuhu markers. Learn how to use markers for (urban) sketching

If you are just starting with markers or want to improve your marker skills, I've got a few great courses in Brave Brushes Studio, my membership for artists and urban sketchers.


Use coupon code ILOVEMARKERS to get 10% off our 3-month package.




Brave Brushes studio logo. The best membership for artists and urban sketchers.




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Hello, I'm Julia Henze.

 

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