First thoughts: W&N Water Colour Markers

May 23, 2015 | 10 Comments


I just decided to do a quick teacup sketch with my recently purchased collection of Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers. I also did a colour chart of my slightly curious collection of 6 colours  ie. they would not be my first choice of 6 colour but I didn’t have the full range to choose from the other day… obviously they are popular and some of the standard colours were out of stock! But I am pleased I have this collection of colours – it is good to be using something different.


Rather than write a long review of these, I jotted down a few initial thoughts while I was working. It takes quite a lot of testing to do a full review, and I find that you do need to get to know the media and the different colours quite well before you really understand what is going on and how best to use them. So these are just my first thoughts


I really enjoyed using the paynes grey marker the other day but found painting with a number of these markers quite a different experience!


If you missed it, here are two of my payne’s grey sketches from earlier in the week. The full collection from the day is here

Rather than thinking of this product as a convenient way to apply watercolour paint in an ink and wash approach (ie. draw your line with ink and then add block colours using the markers and blend) I am using them as a substitute for a watersoluble drawing tool – like watercolour pencils. The reason I make this distinction is that when I paint I am putting down water and colour at the same time, but when I am using these markers I am drawing with colour and then applying the water afterwards. I am finding that there were control limitations during both parts of the process – the drawing and the add of water!

Apart from dipping the tip of the marker into water (which lightens the colour) there is not much you can do to lessen the intensity of the lines you put down. Unlike using watercolour pencil which gives you many options with line weight and texture, these markers are much more graphic.

In terms of what happens when you add water, the pigment moves a lot(see the phthalo blue in my test page above) and is creating some interesting effects. This is quite exciting and I have a few ideas that I want to explore next.

Anyway, just a few initial thoughts… more later!

BTW there is something different about that opening teacup sketch – did you notice??


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10 Comments

  • Not sure if it is my monitor but there doesn't seem to be as much color saturation as usual when using these markers. But you sure ended up with a pretty teacup…can't tell what is different about it though…?

  • Thanks, Liz, this was interesting! I haven't been tempted, but always open…

  • JOAN says:

    Hi Liz: I don't think this is a medium I'll pursue , thanks for the test to convince me that watercolors are my first choice.
    The teacup? Is it a new one? No preliminary drawing with WC pencil? Please tell us what's different. Patience is certainly not my virtue.

  • No pen and ink lines on the teacup?

    I can't make my mind up about things where you put the mark down first and then add water. It never feels as controllable as being entirely dry or entirely wet.

    Thanks for the quickie review though – I've been wondering how these worked.

  • Liz Steel says:

    Hi Katerine – no it isn't as controllable until you get to know each colour well and how much water to add… and even then it is hard to adjust.
    More soon!

  • Liz Steel says:

    HI Joan – that is the purpose for my blog posts- to save you all money. Can't ever better watercolour IMO!
    In regard to the teacup is it the lighting… will explain more later!

  • Liz Steel says:

    Hi Kate " I haven't been tempted, but always open…" famous last words. I think I said that myself last week!

  • Liz Steel says:

    they are about the same as my watercolours…but as my use of watercolour is strong, this means the markers are vibrant. will have to show you all the difference with the teacup. it wasn't that obvious!

  • I noticed the sig box! Lovely tea cup. I got the whole set of the markers and can't wait to see what you inspire me to do with them!

  • Liz Steel says:

    HI Brenda- keep me posted with what you do!!!

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