Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Choosing Promarkers - Where do you start?

The other day the lovely Jill asked me - where I would start if I could only have 20 Promarkers?

This took a little thinking about as now I have well over 100 and I didn't start by buying the ones that were most use to me. I had never heard of them when my daughter Emily asked if she could have some for Christmas a few years ago. She said they were made by Letraset who I had heard of, from many years before, when we used to buy the rub down alphabet transfers - long before we heard of Rub-ons. The reason Emily wanted them was for her graphic art and her Manga illustrations. So we started off with a collection of bright primary colours. She had never been a child to ask for much, but when she did she went for quality!

When I discovered I liked to use them myself, I added flesh colours and pastels and the rest as they say is history! Needless to say Em was thrilled to see I was happy to keep adding to the collection!

Back to the subject of choosing a starter collection of just 20 pens - It's hard to settle on just 20 but here goes - I think it is best to have several shades of a colour so you can do shading for a better effect, rather than harsh contrasts. If you are limited to one shade of each colour then pick a lighter shade as you can always layer the shading. It is best to colour the whole area and let this dry returning to add more layers as needed.
Skin tones - Ivory, blush, dusky pink, and tan.

Hair colours - blonds - vanilla, mustard, buttercup.

brunettes - sandstone, cinnamon, cocoa, umber.
Black and grey hair - I don't really use black at all as I find the darker shade of grey (5) dark enough. A full set of five greys is useful or at least 1, 3 and 5 and I use the cool greys (there are also warm and ice greys).

Blues - pearl blue or pale blue, denim and china.
Greens - meadow, apple, bright green and holly.

Reds and pinks - Red, ruby, baby pink and rose pink.

Yellows - gold, tulip, buttercup and mustard.

Oranges - Soft peach, peach and mango.

 Purples - lilac, amethyst and plum.

OK so that's too many! If I have to say 20 only, then it would have to be:

Ivory, blush, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, pale blue, denim, meadow green, bright green, red, rose pink, gold, tulip yellow, soft peach, mango, lilac, amethyst, cool grey 1, 3 and 5.
There are probably other colours which I would call favourites, but for the purpose of answering this question these are my suggestions. I would be surprised if you could stop at 20. I warn you they are addictive!

To go with the promarkers I use digital, ultra smooth premium cardstock from Craftwork Cards.

Most of my friends agree that the best ink to use is Memento Tuxedo Black. You get a clean, crisp impression and there is no bleeding. As this is a pigment ink it will not react with the alcohol based Promarkers. I also use a fine white gel pen for adding highlights (available from Cardinal Colours).

Jill is now selling Promarkers in her shop - Cardinal Colours at just £1.69 each. You can also buy a set of ten pens of your choice for just £15.00

The blender pen is always useful for blending shades together, lightening or highlighting a colour. However I rarely use this as I prefer to colour the area with my most pale shade of a colour, build up the shading with gradually darker shades then go over it all with the first palest shade again, blending them in that way.

The Passion for Promarkers blog is a great place to visit for challenges and prizes related to these fabulous pens. and the Promarker Weekend Workshops blog is also a very useful blog, for information about shading and other effects achievable with these pens.

You can download a blank colour chart from the Weekend Workshop blog this is useful to print onto the paper or card you most like to use for your colouring, then to colour each square with your pens. This way you can see exactly what shade of colour you will get when you use them. You can also watch your collection grow. Pop it in your purse for when you are shopping and need to check which pens you already own.

The photos on the right show how I have stored my Promarkers in four 1.6 litre Really Useful Boxes. I have cut up the colour chart and the pieces are taped to the lid of the appropriated box.

If you are joining in the November scraplifting challenge, you will be in with a chance of winning a selection of Promarkers. Jill of Cardinal Colours has kindly provided ten promarkes for the winner of November's challenge.


  1. Thanks Lynn. As you know I am not a colouring in person lol, but I keep toying with the idea when I see the beautiful cards that you make. So I have found this very useful. Thanks

  2. Thank you, thank you for sharing - I've a good collection of pens but my colouring skills are not that good but now with a little work I feel I may improve.

  3. Whilst I certainly don't have a full complement, I now have loads of Promarkers too! I love the smooth colouring they produce. Whilst I am not a fan of the cutesy images which are so popular at the moment, I do like to colour in my other stamped images. What I use my Promarkers mostly for is to coordinate embellishments and die-cuts. What I did a little while ago now was to go through the colour chart and fill in my most glaring gaps in colour by buying individual pens. I think I have about 5 pens in each colour way, from lightest to brightest, with perhaps a few more greens, as I probably use green the most! I am also determined that from now on, I only buy white flowers, as you can easily colour a fabric/paper flower to exactly the shade you want. Also lace or ribbon too. (Well, that's easier said than done, ..... :lol:)

    Lynn - this article has been really interesting and it is always useful to get different perspectives. Thank you!

  4. Oooh will have to get a move on with my page & work really hard on it! Have been borrowing my mums & anitas promarkers but would love to have some of my own, at least I know what kind of colours to start my collection off with! Thanks again Jill, great prize xx

  5. Thank you so much. I was getting confused with what colors to get. So many of them. I wanted to start off with the basics and if I like them, work my way to getting all of them.

    I like the idea of blending and shading. It adds personality to whatever you are coloring.



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