Can You Use Alcohol Markers On Watercolor Paper?

Most of the high quality art markers use an alcohol-based ink.

But just buying the right markers isn’t going to get you very far. Because half of the magic is in using the right paper for your markers.

So you might be wondering if watercolor paper is any good for alcohol markers.

You can indeed use alcohol-based markers on watercolor paper, but it’s not very easy to pull it off and most beginners will be better off with standard marker paper.

What to expect

So let’s see why watercolor paper isn’t very good for alcohol markers like Copic.

The first thing you will notice when you apply your Copic markers on watercolor paper is that the ink is absorbed extremely fast.

The paper is basically sucking your markers dry and you will need way more ink to do the job.

Moreover, you will experience a lot of feathering when you use Copic markers on watercolor paper. Which means it can be difficult to control where your ink will go.

For example, when you want to color your sketch, you don’t want to apply the ink directly next to the line art because the ink will move outside the lines.

That is the main reason why I prefer not to use watercolor paper for Copic markers.

I like my ink to stay where I intended it to go.

But if you practice enough, you can learn how to use Copic markers on watercolor paper properly.

To be fair, there is one big advantage to using watercolor paper.

And that is blending.

Blending alcohol markers on watercolor paper is just so easy and smooth.

You normally need to go over the same area to blend two colors smoothly. But if you use watercolor paper the colors will blend together effortlessly.

And the fact that you only need one or two layers to get a smooth gradient is a godsend. Because you really want to minimize the number of layers you use on this type of paper.

Combining Copic markers and watercolor paint

Another reason why you might want to use watercolor is because you want to work with both Copic markers and watercolor paints.

Both art markers and watercolor paints have their distinct pros and cons, so combining them is definitely not bad idea.

Just keep in mind that you can’t actually blend alcohol markers and watercolor paint.

This is because Copic markers are alcohol-based while watercolors are obviously not.

In most cases you will first apply a layer of watercolor paint and then go over it with your Copic markers.

Some reasons why you might want to do this are:

  • Add textures: since markers and watercolor paint don’t mix you can use this to your advantage to add textures on top of your watercolor paint.
  • Color small details: the nib of your Copic markers is probably smaller than most of your paint brushes. So Copic can be used to color the smaller details.
  • Shading: you can use your Copic markers to add a layer of shadows on top of your watercolor painting.
  • Increase the range of colors available: watercolor paint gives beautiful translucent colors. But achieving very vibrant colors isn’t as easy. You can use the markers you have together with your paints to have more colors to choose from.

You can see a good example of all of these in action in the video below.

What paper is the best for alcohol markers?

If you only want to use Copic markers, I would advise against using watercolor paper.

There are just so many other types of paper that work great with Copic markers.

(Quick spoiler: printer paper isn’t one of them).

When looking for paper that will play well with your Copic markers, you will want to look at the thickness of the paper and the type of paper.

As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the paper is the less likely it becomes that your marker ink will bleed through the page or feather.

Since I use quite a bit of ink and like to layer colors, I prefer to go with pretty thick paper like blending card. You can find my favorite on Amazon by clicking here.

However, blending smoothly on this thick paper also takes extra ink, so you might want to keep that in mind as well.

Besides thickness the type of paper can also play an important role.

Nowadays you can find marker paper specially designed to deal with alcohol-based markers.

This type of paper is normally pretty thin compared to blending card. But can still handle a fair share of ink due to a special coating that prevents bleeding and helps you blend.

Copic actually released their own marker paper that you can find on Amazon by clicking here.

Unfortunately, the marker paper by Copic is quite expensive. So if you want to know some cheaper alternatives, you can read my article on which paper to use for alcohol markers.


In short, you can use Copic markers on watercolor paper but it’s far from the best choice. If you use watercolor paper, it’s very difficult to predict where the ink will go unless you have lots of experience. Beginners will be better off using other types of paper more compatible with art markers.

Especially thick paper like blending card and art marker paper are great, because they will prevent the ink from bleeding through the page.

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