Marker Illustration – Fragrance Bottle

I used to do many marker illustrations back in high school, but it’s been a while since I’ve used my markers for anything but thumbnail sketches. However, seeing one of my fragrance bottles yesterday morning made me think that it was the perfect subject for a marker illustration. The odd fist shape of the bottle combined with the way the light hit the bluish-grey glass gave the perfect portrayal of flat colors separated by thick black lines.

Today’s subject: one of my several fragrance bottles

As always, I started the piece by making a quick sketch with the markers to get a sense for the colors I wanted to include. This was also a good opportunity to make a bunch of color swatches and decide what combinations would work and what combinations I should avoid.

Thumbnail sketch of the fragrance bottle

Once I had a good sense of what I wanted the final piece to look like, I carefully decided on the black outlines I wanted and used a very hard charcoal pencil to draw the design on the piece of paper. This is the most important step, as using the hard charcoal and a light hand ensures that the drawing is incredibly light and won’t smear when the markers are applied. To be extra safe, I dabbed the drawing with a drafting eraser pad to remove any excess charcoal.

I make my base drawings so light that they’re painfully difficult to see

Once the most difficult part has been completed, it’s simply a matter of outlining the drawing with a black ink pen, and filling in the rest with color.

For markers, I used Copic Sketch markers, but any alcohol-based markers can work, such as Prismacolors. I avoided doing much blending in order to keep the colors as simple as possible. Overall, I’m quite pleased I did a marker piece after not having done one in so long. They definitely blur the line between drawing and painting, so it’s good to work with a different medium than you’re used to every once in a while.

IMG_1664 (1)
Study of Diesel Only the Brave EdT,” marker on paper, 9″ x 12″, Daniel A. Alfonso

Until next time,




  1. Turned out better than I would have expected, being an artist myself, but not used to markers at all. I like the cap and the spray atomizer especially because of the reflective qualities you captured so well. Thanks for sharing that. And if you don’t mind a technical question: is there a difference between Prismacolor markers and Copic are they simply different brands of the same product? Thanks. Cynthia

    Liked by 1 person

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