What papers are suitable for markers?

I am planning on using markers for a drawing. As I have never used markers, I lack knowledge about them.
Is it okay to use them on normal drawing paper, or should I use sketch paper?

Arts & Crafts Asked by NSR on August 25, 2021

5 Answers

5 Answers

When you say "is it okay", that implies that there's a rule about what you can use with what, or that everybody who uses markers, uses a particular kind of paper for a reason.

Any medium will have different characteristics on different kinds of paper. You probably want to avoid something that's incompatible. For example:

  • a medium that's thick and brittle on tissue paper; it's likely to flake off
  • a medium that won't adhere to the surface, so it will tend to aggregate in spots rather than stay where you put it
  • a chemical incompatibility like acidity/alkalinity, where the medium and paper can interact and change color or other characteristics
  • a medium that requires a different kind of surface texture to work as intended, like a rough surface to abrade a material like chalk or charcoal, or an extremely smooth surface to use a metal-tipped technical pen.

Once you get beyond those kinds of problems, it's more a case that different kinds of paper will give you different kinds of appearance. It may also require the right techniques and some practice to "bend the combination to your will". Part of art is experimenting with those variations to see what combinations give you results you find pleasing or achieve what you're trying to accomplish.

Correct answer by fixer1234 on August 25, 2021

You'll need a thick type of paper. Ordinary bond paper is a bad idea as the markers will bleed through to the surface below.

Some art stores sell paper billed as "marker paper". I haven't used them myself but can vouch for bristol paper; I use this to draw my comics and they can absorb markers well. Illustration board is another good choice though it can be pricey. Smoother watercolor papers are another option.

As an example, this is one of my color comic strips; I used markers on watercolor paper -

Answered by Max West on August 25, 2021

I know this isn't the official answer, but I wanted to give an easy one for people as I've been drawing with markers for years now.

  • Marker paper. Yes it's that simple. It's pure white, and doesn't bleed or spread when you apply the tip. It also instantly absorbs the marker only where you apply the tip. Comic book art, illustrations, graphic drawing, cartoons, anime, etc. all look perfect on this.

  • Cardstock. You have options of different colors and textures. But I like the benefit because it bleeds and spreads a little, which can help out when shading more because you can blend and fade the markers over really well. This helps when making a more realistic drawing.

Again I know this isn't the official answer but for newbies who don't want to learn everything there is about paper and just want a straight answer here you go.

Answered by Ace Cabbie on August 25, 2021

"Bond" paper is usually best for markers, it has a smooth flat surface and is usually thick enough to prevent too much bleed through. If fact there are specifically made papers for magic markers called "Marker Bond", "Marker Layout" or just "Marker Paper".

With markers the main issue you will face is bleed, where the ink soaks in and expands in the paper. Bonds and Marker papers are made in a way that minimizes this. Also markers do not gain any benefit from roughness or tooth in a paper, so avoid papers with a lot of texture, like charcoal paper, watercolor paper, or even a lot of sketch papers (where bleed will be an issue anyway.)

Answered by rebusB on August 25, 2021

I'm not sure what you're defining as "normal drawing paper" or "sketch paper," but you can ultimately use markers on any surface, however you will experience different results depending on the qualities of the paper.


Markers will generally soak into the paper and bleed to some degree (with some brands tending to bleed more than others); working with a thicker paper like bristol or watercolor paper will tend to resist bleed-through better than thinner papers like newsprint.


You'll generally get a smoother result with a smoother surface, though depending on the result you're looking for, you may like the look of using a paper with more tooth to it. Experiment here to see what you prefer.


Some papers (marker pads, for instance) will be coated to prevent bleed-through on a thinner sheet; this can allow for better workability in blending, but may also result in less saturated colors as the ink cannot soak into the surface. This can also create issues with layering multiple colors or extensive blending; again, this may come to personal preference and style.


If you're planning on extremely heavy blending, particularly using water and water-based markers, you may wish to consider a paper that is better suited to heavy water applications such as a smooth watercolor paper over a lighter paper that may warp or disintegrate when saturated with water.


You may also wish to experiment with the amount of bleeding your chosen markers will exhibit on different papers. All markers will bleed to some degree (except, possibly, on coated papers), but some papers will wick the ink away from where you deposited it more than others. You'll want to find an amount of bleed that works for you, and learn to work with it as you're drawing.

Answered by Allison C on August 25, 2021

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