How to Use Pantone Markers

Updated April 17, 2017

The Pantone Color Matching System is a standardised colour system in place to help maintain colours used in the design industry. Pantone markers were released by Letraset TRIA Markers in a range of colours just under 300. One side of each marker features a broad, chiselled tip. While the other side features two interchangeable nibs -- one fine, the other super fine. The markers have low-odour, are long-lasting and are alcohol-based. They are specially formulated to not bleed on many types of paper. Learning to draw with these markers is an effective tool in many art and design fields.

Take a photograph of the subject you wish to render with your Pantone markers. Robin's Design, a multiservice design firm specialising in graphic design, suggests taking a picture of your desired subject in order become familiar with its many facets of light, shadow, reflection and details.

Make a line drawing of your subject in pencil on the paper you have decided to use for your marker drawing. Draw only light lines with a fine-nibbed pencil. Make multiple copies of your line drawings on separate sheets of paper.

Separate your markers from light to dark. Mistakes that may be made with the light ones can easily be covered by the dark ones, not vice versa. Draw in the lighter areas with the lighter greys, progressing into the darker greys once you go into shadow. Use the colours you wish to have on the drawing according to their placement in light and shade. Use the broad tip first, then complete the details with the finer tips like facial expressions.

Use a colourless marker known as a blender for smoothing the edges for a sharper drawing or blending the edges for a softer one. Use coloured pencils, gouache, pastels or chalk to add highlights and details, along with any additional colours although Pantone markers offer an extensive collection of colours.


Make as many drawings as you can to become comfortable in the medium. This confidence will show in all subsequent works.


Do not begin in this medium before making a line drawing as the marker lines will be very heavy and a drawing without the guidelines is prone to mistakes. Also, do not use overly smooth paper like inkjet paper for printers as the markers will soak through it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pantone Letraset TRIA Markers
  • Marker paper (or high-quality drawing paper)
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About the Author

Rosalind Mohammed began writing in 2002. She contributes to various websites, specializing in writing about art and design-related topics. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design and an honors Bachelor of Arts in English and fine art history from the University of Toronto.