How To Fix Alcohol Marker Coloring Mistakes

How To Fix Your Alcohol Marker Coloring Mistakes

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Have you ever spent an hour or more coloring a fancy stamped image with your Copics or Spectrum Noir or other alcohol markers only to hate how it turned out and in frustration , you throw it away and start over? I certainly have and in today’s tutorial, I will give you some tips on how to fix those mistakes. Unfortunately, you can’t fix every problem but you do have options that are definitely worth trying before you give up and start over. In the video and post below, I will show you how I fixed my witch shoe that I colored with Spectrum Noir markers and was not at all happy with when I thought I was done. I offer 4 ways that you can use to fix mistakes that can really be applied to almost any coloring medium although alcohol markers are my focus today.

Please check out the video tutorial below or scroll down for project photos and my mistake-fixing tips:

My original intention with this post was to show you how to create the cute card that you see in the photos at the end of the post. But, fate had something else in mind. Lol! I started out by stamping the adorable Left/Right shoes from Stamplistic on to some Concord & 9th white cardstock to color them with my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers. I was going for a color combination that would be bright and fun and a bit wacky for Halloween. In the end, however, I was not at all happy. The pink was horrible! It looked like a highlighter gone wrong and the yellow next to it, was kind of sickly. The blue and yellows stars were doing nothing for the shoe and while the green coloring was pretty good, it just didn’t work with the purple accents. The green was too light or the wrong tone or something. I loved the purple but everything else was wrong, wrong, wrong! So, I changed it and will explain how in the tips below. The first 3 tips apply to individual color fixes and tip #4 is for mistakes made outside the lines.

Fix One – Change to a Darker Shade

Coloring Fix 1: Change to a Darker Shade of the Same ColorI really hated the pink on this shoe. It was too crazy bright but also too light. I knew I liked the purple, but it was a bit darker and richer than the pink so my thinking was that I should try to make the value of the pink, match the value of the purple by turning it…darker and richer. Hence, tip #1 – change to a darker shade of the same color. I went down a couple of shades with my pink markers and then just colored over the existing pink. It transformed the pink from ugly highlighter to rich magenta. Simple and easy! I used the same tip for the green of the shoe and the blue stars and buckle .

Finding the right “darker” shade to start with can take a bit of guesswork. I suggest you go down only 1 shade with your markers first (eg. use AB2 instead of AB1) and if that isn’t enough, go down another shade, etc. etc. You can’t go lighter but you can always go darker. With experience, you will get a feel for the right shade to switch to from the start, but in the beginning it is always better to start with small steps.

Fix Two – Change to a Darker Analogous Color

Fix #2: Change to a Darker Analogous ColorThe yellow tones on the original colored shoe were also driving me crazy. The yellow outline around the blue stars was really flat and just blending in to the green of the shoe. The yellow-orange tone on the shoe tongue had the same problem as the pink from Fix #1 – too light and not rich enough. Yellow is almost the easiest color to fix because it is usually pretty light (not always but you know…). As mentioned above, you can’t go lighter but you can go darker. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind before deciding what color you want to change to from the original.

Analogous colors are the colors that are next to the color you want to change on the color wheel. With yellow, its analogous colors are green and orange  which, with my shade of yellow, makes both colors darker than it so I could change the yellow to either of those. However, the bulk of my shoe was already green and more would be overkill, so orange was the easy choice. Plus, orange and blue are work very well together so having orange around the stars made sense.

Bear in mind, that other colors could work with the yellow too like red and blue because they are both darker. But, yellow and blue mix to make green so any new color using blue would probably have a green cast. Red and yellow mix to make orange so any new color there might have an orange cast (plus red next to pink can be weird). Yellow and purple are complementary colors and when mixed, they make brown. So again, not a great idea unless you want to use Tip #3 (below). Any of these colors are not an absolute no, but bear in mind that you could run into some problems. That’s why I suggest starting out with darker analogous colors in the beginning before you gain more confidence with the medium you are coloring with. If you know the new marker color will completely cover the old color, then you should be fine but if there is any transparency happening (as there is with alcohol markers), be careful with your choice of color to switch to from the original.

Fix Three – Change to a Darker Neutral

I don’t have an example of this in the video, but this is the worst case scenario solution. When all else fails, turn it brown, gray or black. As I mentioned in Tip 2, complementary colors mix together to form brown so that is a good place to start. Complementary colors are yellow and purple, red and green, and blue and orange. So, if you want to change red to brown, start by coloring over it with a green marker and I suggest starting with a lighter green and working your way darker. If that doesn’t work, go directly to the neutral toned markers you want to change the color to (browns, grays or blacks) and again, start lighter and work your way darker. Black is especially tricky because you don’t want to go to straight flat black so start with darker gray tones and only use straight black as the darkest possible shadow. Bear in mind, the darker the original color, the darker the end neutral will need to be; dark purple for example, will probably have to go to dark gray, or black vs. a medium brown.

As shown in the image to the left, whites, beiges, ivories are all neutrals too but they are going to be lighter than any color you’ve already used so the only way to switch to one of those would be to switch to an opaque medium, like paint pens, and paint over the colored section you want to change. This isn’t the best idea because it will be tough to add shading to that area and it will stand out as looking flat in comparison to the rest of your coloring. Metallics like gold, copper and silver are also neutrals and you may be able to change a mistake to one of those using a metallic marker of some kind, but you will again run into the same flatness issue. This can work, however, for things like trims or borders where shading isn’t that important.

Fix Four – White Gel Pen

Fix 4: Cover Mistakes with White Gel PenMy final tip is one I use all the time with any kind of coloring because inevitably, I will color outside the stamped lines at least once or twice. Sometimes those mistakes are minor and you can ignore them,, but sometimes it’s such an obvious error, something has to be done. So, grab a white gel pen and carefully color over the mistake. Depending on how dark the color is you’re covering, you may need more than one coat in which case, you must wait until the first pass is completely dry before adding more or you will pull the first coat off with the tip of your pen. You could also use a fine point white paint pen for this as well.

I only use this technique to cover up mistakes made outside the lines on white cardstock. Obviously, it won’t work on colored cardstock. You also shouldn’t use a gel pen to re-color a portion of an image to white and then try to color over the gel pen with a new alcohol marker color. The gel pen will change the color of the alcohol marker and because the gel pen is opaque, there is a texture to it that will be highlight weirdly if you color over it.

I hope these tips are helpful and you try them out to great success. I would love to see anything you fix using these tips. Please leave a comment below, letting me know what your favorite tip is for fixing alcohol marker coloring mistakes. Thanks!


Witch Shoe Before the Fixes
My Witch Shoe Before the Fixes


Colored Image After the Fixes
My Witch Shoe After the Fixes
Witch Shoe Halloween Card
The Completed Witch Shoe Card

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