My favorite marker sets from Amazon

best marker sets

This article will help you realize and select what exact materials you will need to start sketching, which brands of markers would be the best choice for you, I will share what I personally use in my sketching routine, you will get direct links here to my absolute favourites. Basically, you can use this list as a guide while shopping on the Internet. Also, you will learn which marker brands can be potentially damaging to your health.

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These are affiliate links, if you buy I make a commission (at no extra cost for you!).

Here I will recommend you a variety of brands to choose from but If I was to pick my absolute favorite marker brands, it would be Copic and Touch. They both have an extremely wide array not only of colors but also of marker tips. In Copic, for example, these include ‘Classic’ markers, ‘Extra Wide’ ones, the thin ‘Ciao’ markers and remarkable ‘Sketch’ (the last two have brush points). Copics are more pricy, Touch markers are more affordable. Here I also share Stylefile and Chartpak brands which are quality and quite affordable.

I don’t recommend you to use Touchfive, Touchnew and Vista Artista markers since their quality not as good as their price (yes, they are cheap) not to mention that they can be damaging for your health, especially for the lungs. My students and I tried these markers and unfortunately, we didn’t enjoy drawing with them.

Regarding the nibs. Professional markers usually have two nibs: wide (wedge) on the one side and thin on the other (fineliner tip) or it can be brush nib and the thin one. 

Side note: I’m a big fan of brush nibs, they are my absolute favourites.

Some markers are refillable (like Copic for instance) some are not (like Promarker or Stylefile for example).





Gray marker sets

Grays go first. I purchase grays more often than any other colors. Why? Grays are the most important in interior drawing since they create tone and value, background and shadows in your sketch. Set of grays might be your first purchase when you get serious about interior sketching.

COPIC 5 grays at least are essential, but «the more grays – the better». 

Take a look at this 5 Sketching Grays Copic Sketch Set of Markers (5 markers + multiliner). Refillable markers and replaceable nibs:

COPIC 12 grays is my favourite set of grays, it’s great if you’re really serious about interior sketching or consider to draw sketch commissions in future, then check this Copic Classic set:

TOUCH 6 grays. It is a great alternative to Copic, Touch markers are really good and quality, plus they are cheaper than famous Copic:

TOUCH 12 grays. Here is a nice set of warm grays, ShinHan Touch Twin Brush Marker Set 12WG Warm Grey:

STYLEFILE 12 grays. Stylefiles are also very good quality markers indeed. Double-ended with fine and broad nibs, but they are not refillable as Copic for example. Look at this Brush Marker-Neutral Grey Set: 

STYLEFILE 12 grays. The same set but with wedge and fineliner tip, if you prefer wedge nibs instead of brush ones:

CHARTPAK Gray Set. There are 22 greys+3 blacks. They are not refillable, one-nibbed, but excellent quality. Chartpak is markedly different from the markers mentioned above. These markers have one very wide tip, that is highly convenient for interior sketching. The only disadvantage is that these markers have a rather strong smell of solvent. This 25 colours set contains 22 grays (warm, cool and neutral), plus 3 blacks:

LETRASET/ WINSOR & NEWTON I like 6 Neutral Tones Set from Letraset (as I mentioned, grays are the most usable markers in interior sketching). These markers are not refillable. Recently Letraset ProMarker brand was renamed to Winsor & Newton ProMarker, but essentially, the marker quality stays the same:

markers for sketching

Coloured marker sets

When purchasing colored markers, focus on earthy, wooden tones. Yes, you will need some basic bright colors like red, yellow, green, etc, but you will not need 5 reds or 7 violets which are usually included in marker sets for manga drawing for example. Our aim is interior design and architectural drawing. Here are some sets where grey colors are already provided, so you can purchase one set and have it all: grays and colored markers all in one. Or maybe you prefer to buy gray and color sets separately. Here is the list of my favorites:

CHARTPAK Architecture Set, (25 colours):

TOUCH Twin Brush Marker Set B (48 colours). NB: Grays are included here!

TOUCH If you want more bright colours check Touch Twin markers (60 colours) with fine tip nib on one end and a medium-wide chisel nib on the other:

COPIC ciao Set B. It was my very first Copic marker set. I remember at the time how pricy it was for me but at the same time how happy I was when I got it! This set definitely was a great investment for my business! Copic Ciao is more affordable in comparison with Copic Classic or Copic Sketch.

COPIC INK REFILLS They are available in all 358 colours of Copic palette, but I need only my top-frequently-used Copic colours such as grays, for example this one:

STYLEFILE markers (24 colours, grays are included here). If you are looking for your first and relatively affordable set, I would have started with them:

STYLEFILE markers (24 colours), these are double-ended but with brush tip:

Side note: you can purchase markers one at a time to get familiar with a new brand, for instance with Letraset:


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© Olga Sorokina, 2019

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What is sketching and the 5 most popular types of it

what is sketching in drawing
interior design drawing.jpeg

In this blog post I will explain what sketching is and what are its five most popular types.

P.S. I took this text from my book “The SKETCH“.

You can listen this article in audio format

(12 min)

What is sketching?

Basically, it is about making a quick drawing, a study, which helps you to represent a design idea. And it has a plethora of applications:

Travel sketching (or sometimes city or urban sketching): expressive, energetic and usually extremely fast drawings of architectural details, city views, restaurants, etc.

It can be made both in open air (“pleinair” in French) and working from your memory – recollections of your trip when you are back at home, or using photos and creating compositions out of them. It includes “cafe sketching” as well.

Fashion sketching: people, fashion-looks and accessories. It is used mainly for illustrations or magazines, e.g. for brand promotion. It helps designers during the first stages of creation of their collections and helps to introduce changes.

Industrial Design sketching: probably the most known and popular branch of sketching. Obviously, it was created by industrial designers; a good example is car sketching. In this case, all sketches are made with great speed and confidence.

The type of sketching I teach my students via online courses, Instagram Lives, and YouTube tutorials is a little different, it’s an interior design sketching, and we usually start by creating a precise measured perspective with help of scale rulers. This is followed by freehand rendering which may take 1-2 hours, and for this stage we will be using markers. Once you have mastered the construction technique, you will develop the ability to produce quick freehand sketches of interiors.

perspective drawing
interior sketch restaurant

Sketching is an amazing skill which lets you transfer your design idea onto paper in the most fun, fast and effective way. In other words, sketching is a unique instrument for visualizing your concepts. Nowadays, it is associated mostly with such media as specialized professional markers, for example, Copic, Stylefile, Chartpak, Promarkers, ZIG, etc. Actually sketching “palette” is very wide and versatile: you can start from scratch by using a pencil, charcoal or black liner and end up by using different types of colouring techniques, for instance, watercolour, coloured ink and pastel or watercolour pencils. It is possible to mix different media, for example, markers + pastel or watercolour + coloured pencils. There are so many creative opportunities for you to test and explore! It is a good idea to try several and pick a couple of “favourites”.

drawing perspective online course

A range of this kind of media in the art-shops can impress and confuse at the same time. But don’t worry, my friends, in this article on my blog I recommend you a nice and compact set of marker colours, which I personally use most of the time. But why I do recommend markers? This is my answer: in my opinion, markers are the most easy-to-learn-how-to-use and easy to implement technique for beginners (especially in comparison to watercolour) and, at the same time, sketches which are done with markers usually look more vibrant. As a matter of fact, in my personal interior design practice, I used to use watercolour and coloured pencils for my drawings, whereas now I opted for markers only because I simply see how much better they perform on paper for interior design purposes.

markers for sketching



The reason why sketching became so popular today among designers of all kinds not only in Russia, Europe, USA, Asia and the rest of the world is that artists nowadays tend to be overwhelmed by computer programs such as CAD, Revit, Sketchup, 3D Max, and Maya. In the old days, artists were earning their bread by, literally, their hands and now they are desperately wishing to go back in time when ideas were transferred through hand drawing, which is far more natural and organic way of doing it.

Just take a look at what is happening right now in our creative lives: we rarely, if ever, write with a pen, and mostly type on a computer, iPad or iPhone. We do not send handwritten letters and cards anymore – epistolary genre is almost gone for good – and even our thoughts and ideas we capture in “Notes” on our iPhones. It seems that we have forgotten the meaning of “handmade”, handcrafted, which is precious because in creating it you include a piece of your heart, love, and memories. Do you remember what we were told as children: “The best present is the one that is made by hands”. There is a profound meaning in that. Just observe that we no longer “create” on paper but “work” on a computer, in Photoshop, Word or AutoCAD. The words we use, especially verbs, bear deep meaning. With that in mind, ask yourself, is it better to render or to hand-render; to work or to create? They say that 3D Max was invented by those who can not draw. Clearly, there is a number of advantages in using 3D and computer-generated imagery, but let us not lose the command of our hands and the link between the brain and the heart that hand drawing fosters.


Types of sketching 

As I mentioned before there are different types of sketching and here I would like to talk about each one in a little bit more depths. Let’s take a quick look at the main features of the most popular of them by splitting them into key concepts and keywords.

Interior sketching

For this kind of sketching it is highly important to understand the laws of perspective and train your eye to judge scale and proportion. It is always good to be able to execute your drawings within different time frames because sometimes you will need to draw your idea quickly in front of your customer. As an interior designer, you should have an eye for beauty, a feeling for harmonious colours and a perfect palette. And, as in other types of sketching, you should be able to render a variety of materials such as fabric, wood, stone, and glass. Check my video courses on interior design drawing.

Interior drawing from my ecourse PRO. Check other sketches   here  .

Interior drawing from my ecourse PRO. Check other sketches here.

Fashion sketching

For this type of sketching it is important to have a good understanding of human proportions (face and body). You should know how to stylize figures in your drawings. More often than not, body proportions are elongated in fashion sketching. For example, the total height of human body in fashion sketching is 10, 11 or even 12 times the height of a human head as opposed to real-life proportions of only 7.5 to 8 heights of a human head. The most important aspect of fashion sketching is to be able to capture a design idea in the best possible light. Hence a facial-portrayal of a human figure is usually not important. In this case, it is critical to be able to deliver the idea of the designed collection to the best advantage. In fashion sketching, it is important to bring the clothing design into focus, and a life-like portrayal of the figure is usually unimportant. You will also need to know how to convey through hand-render the look and feel of such materials and textures as skin, hair, different types of fabric, metal, etc.

fashion sketch.png

Industrial sketching

You will need the ability to draw objects in 3D, clearly showing their structural design and volume. In order to be able to render a professionally looking arrangement of component part on a page you will need firm grasp of the principles of composition. You will also need to perfect your technique and speed in order to develop assured line and confident hand. Most common materials that need rendering in industrial sketching are metal, plastic, and glass.

sketching what is it

Travel sketching

In this type of sketching, the most important skill is to manage to convey the feel, the ambience of a place, to capture the flitting moment and, at the same time, to deliver correct scale and proportions of the object. More often than not, you will also need to be able to perform at high speed, as you will be sketching while travelling, while on the road, when you do not have several hours at your disposal the way it would have been the case with plain-air sketching. In this type of sketching it is important to grasp the intrinsic traits of the place you are observing and afterwards graphically stylize it in your drawing.

Check the process of creation of this sketch on my YouTube   here  .

Check the process of creation of this sketch on my YouTube here.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed the content! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Please share this article with your friends on social media. Thanks in advance!


© Olga Sorokina, 2018


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Which brands of markers are the best choice for interior and architectural sketching?


best markers for sketching
markers for interior sketching

You can listen this blog-post in audio format

(6 min)



markers for sketching blog.jpg

So if you are reading this blog post chances are that you are a newbie in sketching and hand rendering, maybe you are going to buy your first set of markers and now you’re asking yourself a question: Where do I start? Well, here is my strategy: Less is More.

Which colours?

First and foremost, buy basic colours, as you will need them most. For interior sketching, it is better not to use pure, bright colours, but rather tones that are a bit ‘dusty’, ’noble‘ tones. What does that mean? With interiors it is better to choose colours that people would feel comfortable living in. A typical palette would include beige, grey, blue, olive, and woody tones.

You can buy the markers individually or in sets. There are even sets of ready-to-go colour combinations for architects and designers which consist of marker colours that work well with one another.

markers for interior sketching

You first marker selection might be as follows:

  • Light gray (NG 2, Neutral Grey #2)

  • Mid-gray (NG 4)

  • Dark gray (NG 7)

  • Light beige (or vanilla)

  • Olive

  • Dark brown (chocolate)

  • Black

As you can see, there are seven colours in all, of which three are grey shades. Greys occupy a special place in interior sketching. Firstly, they are used to give background colour to the entire sketch. Grey markers differ not only in tone, but also in warmth and coldness: there are Neutral Greys, Cool Greys and Warm Greys. To start with, you will need Neutral Greys. Usually they are marked by ‘N’ with a number: the higher the number, the darker the tone.

materials for interior sketching

What brand of markers to buy?

One of the first questions people often ask in my online sketching classes is about which materials they should use. What brand of markers is the best? How do various brands of markers differ from one another? 

Up until now, I have tested 5 brands: Promarker, Copic, TOUCH, Stylefile markers and Chartpak. All of them are good. These firms make professional quality markers that are perfect for drawing and are non toxic.

interior sketch markers

If I was to pick a favourite, it would be Copic. They have an extremely wide array not only of colours but also of marker tips. These include ‘Classic’ markers, ‘Extra Wide’ ones, the thin ‘Ciao’ markers and remarkable ‘Sketch’ (the last two have brush points). Maybe it is Copic Сiao that has influenced my technique most of all.

Here is one of my favorite Copic sets on Amazon, this is an affiliate links, if you use it, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you, so thanks in advance if you use it :-)

Check my top favourite marker sets on my Resources page here.

I did this drawing with Copic Ciao markers

I did this drawing with Copic Ciao markers

Check my interior drawings in the PORTFOLIO section on the website.

Firstly, they have a thin body that is very convenient to hold in the hand. However, the main difference is that on one side there is a wide tip (incidentally, a bit narrower than a Copic Sketch, Promarker or Stylefile), and at the other end there is a brush tip, also known as the ‘super brush’, which truly lives up to its name! It is the brush that lets you make absolutely photo-realistic effects and fantastic not only for sketching but also for landscape drawings, abstract painting, portraits, architectural sketches and even for calligraphy. Copic markers can be refilled and that is their tremendous advantage over the other brands. Although they are the most expensive markers available, in the long term Copics are the most cost efficient.

Promarker is also very good. They are quite similar to Stylefile and Copic Classic. But these are single-use markers, which cannot be refilled.

Chartpak is markedly different from the markers mentioned above. These markers have one very wide tip, that is highly convenient for interior sketching. The only disadvantage is that these markers have a rather strong smell of solvent.

copic markers sketching

A couple of more tips

  • Before buying a marker, test it in the art supplies shop and find the marker that suits you best. If you don’t have this opportunity, watch videos on marker brands on YouTube (f. ex mine is «Olga Sorokina») – this will help you make a decision about which materials are most suitable for you.

  • When you realize that sketching is ‘your thing’, be ready to invest into quality materials, training courses and books. This way you can develop your skills to become very good at sketching. This will happen quite fast. Sketching will be of great use in your work and will raise your professional skills level.

  • It is recommended that you store markers horizontally – this will extend their service life.

  • Storage and transportation: keep your markers away from the sun. If you are going on a trip, pack them into your hand-carried baggage, because the low temperatures in the baggage compartment will have adverse effect on the pigments inside the markers.

Learn more about markers from my book «The SKETCH» (available on


P.S. Please share this blog-post with your friends! They would be glad you did. Thanks in advance, you're awesome!

© Olga Sorokina, 2017

interior design drawing.jpg



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