How to draw like Arthur Rackham using Promarker pens

Drawing in the 

Style of Arthur 


No matter how old we are, we can always be sucked into the fantastical world of magic and beasts through the incredible illustrations of Arthur Rackham.

From The Brother’s Grimm fairytales to fables and myths- Rackham’s pen brought countless stories of fantasy to paper- and undoubtably to life.

The Old Woman in the Wood” by the Brother_s Grimm

‘The Old Woman in the Wood’ from the Brother’s Grimm

I found myself looking at his work (as an illustrator) and questioning how he created such translucent and soft images with fine black lines and washes of pastel colour. With this stylised technique, he could portray anything he wanted; from the innocence of fairies, to the doom of dragons and beasts.

An elderberry visits some young quinces.jpg

‘An Elderberry Visits Some young Quinces’ from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens


After many attempts with soaking my page with water, experimenting with tracing paper and water and ink, I finally found a way of creating images with a similarly translucent style through using Promarkers.



Obviously dear old Arthur wouldn’t have used these- but I realised that the colours are so lucid and blend so well -( almost like paints! ) that they couldn’t NOT be used for a Rackham- style drawing!

Firstly it is important to use the specific paper designed for these pens which you can find here. (It is available in A4 or A3).This paper has a wonderful translucent quality to it that fits Rackham’s style perfectly.

promarker pad

How to start…


I begin by creating a rough pencil drawing of the image I would like to create, then I go over with a fine black ink pen to create the detailed outlines that Rackham loved so much.


I decided to create an image of a Siren, and drew waves in loops and curves.

Next Step- Colouring

This next step is entirely up to you in terms of which colours to use, Rackham often used pastel colours blended in with snippets of bold colour.


To create this blended look, I used the bold promarker colours FIRST, (deep blues and greens), then I went over the top with the pastel blues and greens.


The promarkers can handle going over the unk pen well- and don’t worry if the black ink pen markings smudge slightly- this all adds to the look, and your promarkers are easily cleaned by scribbling on a piece of scrap paper,


The Result…



Here we have it- the finished piece. I was a little disappointed in the smudge around the face, but I am pleased with the piece overall.

What do you think?


Please let me know how this works for you, and if you have any tips for me I would greatly appreciate it!


Have a wonderful day- and happy Rackham-ing!





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