Here’s an example from my Holiday Cheer Coloring Book that I colored with Copic Sketch Markers. Water-based markers are widely available in cheap, student-grade sets designed for kids, made from lower-quality dyes designed to be easily washable from hands. If you’re creating artworks that you hope to preserve, it’s a good idea to find media classified as lightfast or archival, which can hold their color for decades. Nibs: Two nibs, one brush and one bullet. I also recommend the Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pens, but they lost out to the Zig markers because they offer fewer colors (48 vs 80). The black PITT artist pen big brush marker is great for silhouettes. They can be used for making lighter shades. One downside with alcohol markers is that they can bleed through the paper. Whether lightfastness is an issue for you depends on your workflow. It has a massive square structure that prevents it from rolling on the work surface, but is less comfortable to use. A highlighter is a marker designed to mark text so that the area around the text is highlighted and the text is still easy to read. There are two types of blender: a transparent blender, as in other brands, and a unique white blender. This means that it is very random which inks and pens you will find here, I They can be used for drawing comics, cartoon characters, manga, product design, concept art and much more. Different brands of alcohol-based markers can be used together. Are Illustrator markers acid free? Better fade resistance (but not lightfast). Most water-based markers, on the other hand, cannot be refilled and the marker has to be thrown away when it runs dry or the tip becomes damaged. To be honest I rarely use the chisel tips on my markers, but that’s just me - your needs and style may be different! Not as lightfast as some other brands (more on that later). Therefore, highlighters come as bright neon colors, with high transparency. The point can be used to create thin strokes (perfect for detailed work) and the brush can also be flattened to fill in large areas. While some may find this frustrating, it’s a trait that many watercolorists appreciate, so if you’ve got experience with watercolor paint, your skills will transfer well to blending with water-based markers. Koi marker cap is equipped with a clip, which stops the marker from rolling on the work surface. Most water-based markers can be used together with a paintbrush and water. My favorite covering marker pens are Uni POSCA: See on Amazon. As noted above, painting with markers is done on suitable paper that is smooth, does not absorb the paint and allows for smooth mixing between the shades. Thankfully that's never a problem when buying from an established art supplier like Blick! Bottom line: your marker art will fade more quickly than other media. When in need of straight lines, a chisel tip is perfect: For filling areas (coloring), a brush nib creates a smoother surface: A bullet nib is suitable for drawing or creating fine details, while a real brush is great for mixing colors or combined with water (for water-based markers). Markers can be stored as color groups in order to quickly find the desired marker. All marker pens in this review are of high quality and by well-known brands. Alcohol-based markers (sometimes called “permanent markers”) are typically the preferred choice of artists because they blend more smoothly and predictably (see below), and you can create shades, tints and ombrés by overlaying colors. For round markers, there is either a small cap brake to prevent rolling: Alcohol-based markers are usually of higher quality. It’s a good generalist tip, but isn’t very versatile, in that super-fine details can be tricky and filling in large areas with color can be slow and tedious. There are some steps you can take to slow color fading: I protect my coloring pages in an archival box. The result can look so stunning and professional that you wouldn’t even think it was made with markers! If I’m not happy with how I’ve blended some colors or I’ve got some streaking, I go over the area with Prismacolor Colored Pencils to smooth out those imperfections. Read my disclosure statement to learn more. Whether you love or loathe these attributes depends on your personal style - for example, some people (like me) appreciate the subtle variations in alcohol markers because it lends the artwork a more natural, organic feel, whereas I get frustrated by the streakiness of water-based markers when trying to fill large spaces. Spectrum Noir Illustrator are alcohol-based markers for drawing and painting. However, they’re not refillable and the nibs can’t be changed out. However, when using the refill bottles, they are worth the investment. They are highly regarded by many artists. If you’re planning on displaying your work, you can create prints from your digital scans and it will look so similar to the original that no one will hardly know the difference (just be sure to market them as prints if you intend to sell them or display them publicly)! If you’re in a store and thinking of buying some markers but can’t figure out if they’re water- or alcohol-based, pop off the lid and gently smell (some can be pungent, so be cautious). They are fun to work with on paper designed for water-based markers. If you’re interested in more, check out my Guide to Buying Art Supplies. I did not include any alcohol markers in this list. Great for illustrations and drawing fine details. (That said, water-based markers can tear or pill just about any type of paper, including watercolor paper and marker paper, depending on your technique.). Water-based markers can be re-activated after they’ve dried, which allows you to lighten them with water or create washes (but the downside is you might accidentally ruin an area you’d already finished by getting it wet). They didn’t surpass the Copics for me, but they are remarkably good value - under $2 per marker! Marker pens can be stored in plastic bags or plastic boxes that can be left slightly open for ventilation. Most of the marker brands provide paper sheets that are suitable for the same brand, but can be used with other brands of marker pens. Markers contain dyes that are suspended in either water or alcohol, which dries and leaves the color behind. Faber-Castell highlighters come in a classic, rectangular shape or ergonomic shape with small bumps for a better grip. My favorite water-based marker pens are Zig Real Brush: See on Amazon. For this reason, I like to use my Copics on thick cardstock or marker paper. There are designated cases for markers, but they are less effective for a large amount of marker pens. Alcohol markers are typically more expensive than water-based markers. The Staedtler Textsurfer highlighters come in 8 colors. Thankfully both types of markers are available open stock (singles) or in small sets, so you can try some out without breaking the bank! I use this as a handy reference whenever I’m making art with my Copics. If you’re interested in learning more about blending, check out this Skillshare course: Blending with Water Based Markers, available with their 14-day free trial (if you sign up I get a commission that helps support this site). These qualities can make it difficult to smoothly cover large areas with alcohol-based markers or create large gradients (but it’s perfect for smaller areas). Tips for Using Alcohol Markers in Coloring Books, Prismacolor Premier Double-Ended Art Markers, Store your marker art away from direct sunlight or framed under UV-filtering glass. This works for both water-based and alcohol-based markers! Alcohol-based ink is unlikely to be acid-free even when dry. It’s common for high quality alcohol-based markers to be double-ended, most commonly with a brush tip and chisel tip at either end, although some have a bullet tip (instead of a brush tip) with a chisel tip at the other end. Nibs: Twin-tipped, with a broad chisel nib and fine bullet nib. Note that these terms are not standard across brands - for example, some manufacturers will use the phrase “fine tip” to refer to a tip that’s more similar to a bullet tip. I store my marker art in archival boxes , and even after a few years, there’s very little fading. The image below is a comparison of how well water-based and alcohol-based markers lay down color. Comfortable round shape with easy to open caps. Disclosure: some links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. Nibs: One real brush from synthetic bristles. Markers have also experienced a huge surge in interest these past few years thanks to the adult coloring trend. that it is not lightfast. Beautiful, comfortable and rectangular design that prevents the marker from rolling on the work surface. As helpful as it can be to read about markers online, it’s important to try them yourself to get a firsthand understanding of how they work, which which will help you decide which ones you prefer using. Unlike other markers, which are intended for painting and coloring, Zig clean color f is suitable for drawing, sketching, cartooning and illustration work.