The Essential Guide to the SketchMarker Number System


SketchMarker Brush Pro markers are a quality, long lasting, color consistent, refillable alcohol ink markers that fall in the mid-level price range. They work well with the high-quality, more expensive Copic Sketch Marker line. We are not suggesting that you replace your Copic Markers, but rather that if you are looking for a product that works well with your Copics or you are just starting to color using alcohol ink markers, you will definitely want to try the SketchMarker Brush Pro markers! They are an excellent investment!

Alcohol ink is permanent, so you can color unusual surfaces such as glass, gems, buttons, metal and more. The SketchMarker Brush Pro gives smooth results when coloring on appropriate paper and they blend easily!

Before diving into the SketchMarker color system we must first understand what color is! Color is the light wavelengths that the human eye receives and processes from a reflected source. Color is a result of how our eyes physically processes light waves.

Not all human eyes see color in the same manner and as we age our color vision declines. The gradual yellowing of the lenses in our eyes cuts out light in the blue range of the spectrum and the cone receptors in our retinas slowly lose sensitivity. Therefore, we all may see color differently!

Color consists of three main parts:

  • Hue – this is the dominant wavelength in a color – it is color in it’s purest form. Color wheels are in fact hue wheels! They are designed to focus on only one aspect of color. The cones in our eyes require light – there are three types of cones: blue, green and red. The overlap of these different cones and how the brain integrates the signals sent from them allow us to see millions of colors. For example, the color yellow results from green and red cones being stimulated while the blue cones have no stimulation.
  • Value – refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. It indicates the quantity of light being reflected from the surface. Dark values with black added are called shades of a given hue. Light values with white pigment added are called tints of the hue.
  • Saturation (intensity or chroma) – defines the brilliance or intensity of a color. When a hue is “toned”, a combination of both white and black (or gray) are added to the color to reduce the color’s saturation, and therefore its brightness.


At first sight the coding appears complicated, but it truly isn’t.


The letters used to name each marker refer to the Color or Hue of that marker. Following are the letters used on the color wheel:

  • R = Red
  • O = Orange
  • Y = Yellow
  • G = Green
  • B = Blue
  • V = Violet

Letters are also used for the neutral series. These markers are perfect for adding variation to the tones of your colors as well as for creating drawings in gray scale. Following are the letters for the remaining markers:

  • BR = Brown
  • BG = Blue Gray
  • CG = Cool Gray
  • NG = Neutral Gray
  • SG = Simple Gray
  • TG = Toner Gray
  • WG = Warm Gray
  • B = Black
  • FL = Fluorescent


The Hues or Color on the color wheel do not contain the neutrals because neutrals fall in their own segment. First number(s) refer to the blending group. Think of the number system as an extension of the color wheel – the number system helps to guide you to the location of the color on the color wheel for where a certain blending group lands. The lower the first number (or in some cases two numbers, since the numbers go into the 100’s) the closer that color is to the color immediately preceding it on the color wheel. Higher numbers are more closely related to the color following it on the Color Wheel. Following is a guide:

  • R1 is closer to Violet, so it will be a Red Violet/R12 is closer to Orange and will be a Red Orange.
  • O1 is closer to Red and will be an Orange Red/O8 is closer to Yellow and will be an Orange Yellow.
  • Y1 is closer to Orange and will be a Yellow Orange/Y11 is closer to green and will be a Yellow Green
  • G1 is closer to Yellow and will be a Green Yellow/G16 is closer to Blue and will be a Green Blue
  • B1 is closer to Green and will be a Blue Green/B12 is closer to Violet and will be a Blue Violet
  • V1 is closer to Blue and will be a Violet Blue/V13 is closer to Red and will be a Violet Red

The next series of letters to gain a better understanding of are the neutrals. These can be used alone or in combination with the colors found on the color wheel. When you use one of these markers a tone of the chroma is produced and therefore the colorfulness of that color is reduced. Mixing a color on the color wheel with any neutral will reduce the chroma, or colorfulness, while the hue remains unchanged. High chroma colors can be painful to look at. In ordinary life, we mostly see high chroma colors in children’s toys. With Sketchmarkers (or any alcohol ink marker) it is best to color your image in with the gray tones first and then bring your hue/color back over the top.

Nature is the most effective artist at adding tones to its’ “art”. Complimentary colors are a perfect way to reduce chroma, but they shift the hue. The following lettered sets of markers are the perfect addition to a collection if you want to vary the colors you already own! Every neutral marker you purchase will multiply your current color collection x2!

Look at nature and you will see areas where the Chroma is high, most pure and not “muddied” and areas that have a lower chroma, where the color is grayed down, neutralized, or taking on the colors it is surrounded by.

BR, BG, CG, NG, SG, TG, and WG blending groups vary with different undertones added to each neutral blending group. If you view the chart carefully you can start seeing that there is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or violet undertones to the different letter and number groups. In this series the beginning numbers simply bring the blending groups together.


The last digit in every marker shares the value of the color or hue; the lightness or darkness of that color. If you are familiar with the Copic Marker series, you may be confused because the SketchMarker system is opposite to that system. In the SketchMarker color system dark colors are low numbers and light colors are high numbers.

Color Wheel Colors:

  • 0 = darkest color
  • 5 = lightest color

Neutral Colors:

  • 0 = darkest color
  • 9 = lightest color


The Blender marker is a clear, alcohol-based solvent in marker format. It can be used for a variety of purposes such as fixing mistakes, fading, pre-soaking paper, adding patterns and highlights to areas already colored and blending light alcohol ink combinations.

If you are looking for a place to start and uncertain which colors to begin with Ellen has put together a selection of each color range she thinks you would be happy with. For example, if your favorite colors are reds – try the red’s listed below.

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