ILA Twin Tip Markers

ILA Twin Tip Markers

Hi and welcome to my latest Great Art Materials Blog!

This time I’m taking a look at this really useful set of 80  I Love Art Twin Tip Markers

Key Features:-

  • The ILA Twin Tip Markers have alcohol based inks which dry quickly and produce a translucent colour which can be built up in layers to develop colour strength and tone, and to create a more opaque finish.
  • The alcohol based inks are super fast drying, which means you can work quickly and build layers immediately with no smudging problems.
  • They have twin tips; a 2.6 mm chisel shaped nib, which I find most flexible and useful, and a 1mm pointed nib for detailing and precision.
  • They are very versatile and ideal for putting down areas of colour quickly for instance in a sketchbook and suit a whole range of approaches including; drawing, graphic design and lettering, illustration and pattern design, as well as the potential for a more Fine Art approach especially when combined with other media.
  • They can easily be combined with other media, both by using alongside and also built up in layers in a mixed media approach.
  • With 80 colours in the range, you have a very flexible and broad colour palette to play with, both by using the colours individually and by overlaying different colours to create new shades.
  • Blender markers are also available-they are colourless and can be used for blending areas of colour, and cleaning up edges.
  • The Markers come in a practical and sturdy box, which is ideal for long term storage and means that you can see your colours and find the one you want quickly.

I began by making a sample swatch of each colour- regular followers of this blog will now that I always do this…here, as each colour has a code and name, it makes a brilliant way of deciding which colour(s) you are looking for.

It’s speedy, and a relaxing thing to do while listening to some favourite music and makes such a useful quick reference tool for when you are working with the markers in the future!



Taking a closer look at the markers below, you can see the two nibs and the basic marks they make…a tiny detail is that they come with the colour sample/ code name and number band on the end with the chisel tip. I know this sounds a bit obsessive, but I try to make sure that I replace them like this, as it means you can grab the right nib with just a quick glance. Both nib types are very durable and really handle working in lots of different styles and approaches, extremely well.

Just a few key points about working with Markers:

  • In a funny way they are rather like working with watercolour, in that they are translucent in nature, and are probably at their best on a bright white paper.

  • Unlike watercolour, they are best used on a smooth paper or card which isn’t too absorbent. To get the best finish, you want the alcohol based inks to sit nicely on the surface, rather than sinking into it, as this will give the greatest clarity and brilliance of colour.
  • Good papers to use include; No 5 Multi-Technique Paper, and my favourite for more finished pieces, Bristol Board (pictured above), which is 200 gsm, and has a pure white nicely reflective surface.
  • Working with markers, you can build tonal and colour depth and richness, simply by building up in overlays…

* I rather like the subtle lines that you get when your marks overlap slightly, as I think it adds a nice character to

marker based work.

  • When you work with Marker on almost any surface, you will get a certain amount of ‘bleed’ onto the reverse of the paper. As shown in the picture below, I always work with a sheet of acetate under the paper I’m working on to prevent bleeding onto anything underneath. I also have a rough pad ready for testing colour, especially if I want to overlay several colours to create more complex ones.
  • Markers are great for putting down smooth areas of colour quickly, which can be built up with other media. In the pictures below, you can see dark blocks of marker pen in solid black and solid blue, with oil pastel and soft pastel worked on top… This gives a fantastic contrast of both tone and texture.

Blender Markers:

ILA Blender markers are simply colourless versions of the normal marker, which can be used to soften and blur the edges of marker work. They can also be used to create a sense of texture and subtle tonal change as they create a ‘bleaching out’ effect shown below…. Here, a paler, softer version of the colour is produced-by using the nib carefully, you can control very precisely where you want this effect to occur.


Experimenting with ILA Twin Tip Markers below, you can see one of the interesting effects you can achieve, is produced simply by overlaying different markers and exploiting their translucency to create soft layering. In the image below, 5 of the grey shades and both types of nib were used.

Still working in a palette of greys, the sample below shows layering of grey shades with a fine black line detail added on top.

In the photo below, I’m trying out some of the possible mixed media options:

In this close up below, I started with some washes of watercolour, before adding cross hatched marks using both fine and chisel points in a range of blues. This is a strong technique as it creates quite a subtle appearance, and the two media work together very harmoniously.

Next I tried layering several layers of marker pen and gouache which creates this rather creamy, more amorphous result.

Markers will also work on a range of more unusual surfaces, so long as they aren’t greasy or oily.

In the loose expressive study of a pepper below, I used the markers on a sheet of acetate. I liked the rather wet, runny effect of the alcohol based ink on the acetate sheet, and found you can manipulate these marks and ‘push around’ the colour to suit the feel of your work.

Overlaying colour is easy, as they blend freely on the acetate, and you get a vibrant finish if you mount the acetate on a pure white paper or card background.

Markers were developed for Graphics and Illustration uses primarily, and are part of the regular tool kit of surface pattern designers, and product designers too. As shown in the image below, they can produce precision and flat areas of pretty solid colour, for a graphic style…

The surface pattern design sketch below, shows overlays of marker pen using the broad nib, and detailing with the fine one. The creamy coloured highlighting is made using a white coloured pencil- coloured pencils also work really well with markers and can add tonal range and definition and a grainier texture for contrast.



In the thumbnail image on the left, I’ve used translucent silver acrylic ink and layers of marker to create an iridescent background for the letter S.




Twin Tip Markers are also a really useful addition to your go-to travel art kit. Obviously I wouldn’t take the whole desk top set, but a couple of favourite/ useful colours in your kit will work really well with a small watercolour set, some coloured pencils and some fine liner pens in grey, black or sepia tones.

The colour bar on the left is essentially a vertical slice through a landscape-not trying to record detail, but focussing on recording colour in an immediate way.

This sample is simply overlays of marker pen, with a little coloured pencil on top for detail and contrast.





The study above is taken from a sketchbook and was done outside in the landscape with a small colour range of about 7 or 8 markers. I really like the fact that they also suit this more Fine Art approach, and are ideal for working quickly outdoors-their versatility is shown as you can see both broad flowing marks and fine detailed ones, achieved by using both types of nib.


The landscape study below, was also super speedy, and gives a much more delicate result using the markers in combination with some artist quality watercolour pencils. 

I like the simplicity of overlaid grey tones and dynamic lines in the study below, which I will probably use as the starting point for an abstract painting…

The coloured version below, also uses bold marks and geometric shapes combined with a small number of coloured pencil

< I particularly like the additional colours made when overlaying markers.

The thumbnail on the left, shows a dark background of reds and purple in gouache. I then added patches of white gouache for contrast. When totally dry, I worked swirling lines of fine and chisel tipped marker on top to create this heavily layered sample below…the overlaid marker lines make lovely clean colour on top of the white gouache.

My Top Tips:

  • It’s obvious, but really worth emphasising-remember to replace caps tightly to avoid markers drying up!
  • Use a piece of acetate under your work to protect what’s underneath from marker ‘Bleed’.
  • Experiment with layering your markers, as the results are always more interesting than single colours and layers.
  • These ILA Twin Tips are great with a range of different media-I particularly like them; over watercolour washes, combined with gouache, and with coloured pencil or fine liner detailing.
  • Work on No 5 Multi-Techniques Paper (great value) or Bristol Board. (have a play on acetate too!)
  • Although markers were designed for the precision and speed needed in Graphics, Illustration, Product Design etc…don’t ignore their possibilities for working outside, producing roughs for paintings and the like….I’ve added a handful of my favourite colours to my go-to travel kit!









The picture above shows some of the additional media I used: Winsor and Newton Gouache, Liquitex Ink, an ILA travel watercolour set, an ILA tear-off palette, and some Daler Rowney Artists Watercolour pencils, and they’re all listed below…

My Materials list-all available from

I also used:

I hope you enjoyed reading this Great Art Materials Blog- look out for the next one soon!   Jo

*All text and images © Jo York, and may not be reproduced or used without permission.


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