Markers Review for Artists

Updated: 01 Jan 2024

Markers review

Table of contents:


Below is a review for artist-grade maker types & brands. They can be used for drawing comics, cartoon characters, manga, product design, concept art and much more. They are also great for painting coloring pages.

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.

Practical Information about Markers

Most markers are designed for drawing on non-absorbent paper.

Many markers have a high level of transparency, so they are quite light. Adding more layers of the same color will make it more opaque and therefore darker.

Different brightness values with one marker

Marker Nib Types

Markers nib types

Different nib types are suitable for different tasks. Which to use, is a matter of personal preference and the type of task.

When in need of straight lines and hard edges, a chisel tip is perfect.

I drew the marker below with chisel tips, and the cast shadow with a pencil.

Drawing of a highlighting marker with chisel tip

If realistic drawing is new to you, visit my realistic drawing guide.

For filling areas (coloring), a brush nib creates a smoother surface:

Painting comics with markers with brush nib

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).

Marker Caps

Marker caps can be very helpful.

Some brands have the number and color of the marker written on the top part of the cap.

Text on marker caps

Many markers come with two different heads.

Some brands have two different cap structure, while other have a dark mark to indicate a specific head (for example brush).

Cap indicator for brush nib

Few marker brands have a body that does not roll on the drawing surface (like Copic Sketch, Spectrum Noir and Touch).

For round markers, there is either a small cap brake to prevent rolling:

A brake to prevent marker from rolling

Or a clip:

A clip to prevent marker from rolling

What Can You Do with Markers?

You can use markers for almost any drawing or painting style.

I use them for drawing cartoon characters for my daughter.

Here is my guide on how to draw accurately from photos (and draw your favorite comics).

Comics and cartoon paintings with markers

For my tutorial on how to draw treasure maps.

Map paintings with markers

And, as one of my (realistic) render styles, when drawing concept art and product design.

More on that, you can find in my guide on how to draw from imagination.

Examples for drawing from imagination with markers

Alcohol-Based Markers Review

Alcohol-based markers are usually of higher quality.


Sonnet are artist-grade markers.

Color range: 174.

Nibs: A chisel nib and a brush.

Sonnet alcohol-based markers

Although they are of the highest quality, their price is affordable, especially as a set.

A set of 24 Sonnet markers A set of 24 Sonnet markers

I often start with a pencil sketch.

When the sketch is ready, I go over it with a pen, and erase the pencil marks.

To learn how I plan my compositions, visit my composition-drawing guide.

Pencil and pen sketch of a smurf My drawing process

These markers blend easily.

Sonnet marker drawing of a smurf house and a smurf in a car Smurf with Sonnet markers




Promarker Brush

Winsor & Newton Promarker Brush (formerly known as Brushmarker) are alcohol-based markers.

They are great for painting, and they blend with other brands of alcohol-based markers.

Color range: 72.

Nibs: One flexible brush nib and one broad chisel.

Note: Carefully close the cap in order to avoid damaging the brush nib.

Winsor & Newton Brushmarker markers Brushmarker
Hello Kitty painted with markers Hello Kitty with Brushmarker




See on Amazon


Winsor & Newton Promarker are alcohol-based markers.

Color range: 173.

Nibs: Twin-tipped, with a broad chisel nib and fine bullet nib.

Due to their bullet nib, they are great for drawing. The chisel nib can be used to fill large areas.

Winsor & Newton Promarker, alcohol-based markers Winsor & Newton Promarker
A comics drawing and painting of Lisa Simpson Lisa Simpson with Promarker




See on Amazon

TOUCH Twin Brush Marker

TOUCH Twin brush markers are excellent alcohol-based markers.

Color range: 204.

Nibs: Fine brush nib on one end and a medium-wide chisel nib on the other.

Touch Twin Brush blue markers TOUCH Twin Brush Markers
Drawing of two Smurfs with markers Smurfs with TOUCH markers




Copic Marker

Copic markers are professional, alcohol-based markers. They are highly regarded by many artists.

Color range: 358!

Nibs: Medium broad and flexible brush nib combination.

All types of Copic markers are refillable.

Replaceable nibs.

Keep in mind: Opening of the cap should be gentle. Otherwise, the paint may squirt.

Copic sketch is the most popular among Copic markers, and it comes in the widest range of colors (358):

Copic Sketch markers Copic Sketch markers

Copic Ciao is the most economical of all Copic markers. They deliver the same quality but at a more attractive price.

They come in 180 colors.

On the Copic Ciao, there is no caption on the cap, and its cylindrical structure causes it to roll on the work surface:

Copic Ciao markers Copic Ciao markers

Using the broad nib for painting:

Screwdriver & fountain pen painting with markers Painting with Copic Markers

A third model, Copic Classic, has a hard pointed (bullet) nib.

Copic Classic comes in 214 shades.

It has a massive square structure that prevents it from rolling on the work surface, but is less comfortable to use.

Copic Classic marker Copic Classic marker

As mentioned above, Copic markers are refillable.

Copic ink has a new design.

I like to drip on the chisel nib, when a marker starts to get dry (20+ drops).

Copic ink bottles for refill Copic ink




See on Amazon

Landscape and flock, Copic markers drawing Landscape drawing with Copic markers

Winsor & Newton Pigment Marker

Winsor & Newton Pigment Marker are alcohol-based (ethanol) markers with quality ink that is made of quality pigments.

Color range: 100.

Nibs: One side bullet nib, other side flat nib (chisel).

There are two types of blender: a transparent blender, as in other brands, and a unique white blender.

Winsor & Newton Pigment Marker alcohol-based Pigment Marker
Winsor and Newton Pigment marker blender Transparent & white blenders




Spectrum Noir Illustrator

Spectrum Noir Illustrator are alcohol-based markers for drawing and painting.

Color range: 216.

Nibs: One brush and one fine bullet nib.

Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers Spectrum Noir Illustrator
Painting contact lenses case with Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers Painting with Illustrator




Ohuhu Honolulu

Ohuhu Honolulu Art Markers are super affordable, quality, alcohol-based markers.

Color range: 320.

Nibs: One brush and one chisel.

Ohuhu Honolulu art markers Ohuhu Honolulu

For their low price, their performance is surprisingly good.

Drawing of mushrooms with Ohuhu markers Drawing with Ohuhu Honolulu

They arrive with a case, which is great for storage, and to carry the markers.

I like to arrange the markers in color groups.

Cases with 320 and 216 Ohuhu Honolulu markers Ohuhu 320 and 216 markers cases

In addition to a case, and a brochure with details, they come with color charts with the name of the colors already written.

I recommend filling them in, to use as color reference (to find the desired color quickly).

Color charts for Ohuhu Honolulu markers Color charts for Ohuhu Honolulu

If accidentally you damage your brush tip, you can reverse it.

Grab it with pliers, and rotate it gently while pulling, reverse the tip and push it back, while rotating.

Reversible brush tip for Ohuhu markers Reversible brush tip




Water-Based Markers Review

Water-based markers are less suitable for painting on a regular drawing paper.

They work best on non-absorbent paper.

Zig Clean Color Real Brush

Zig Clean Color Real Brush are water-based markers and can be used together with water and a brush, like painting with watercolors.

Color range: 90.

Nibs: One real brush from synthetic bristles.

Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers Zig real brush

The advantage of having a real brush with bristles is that you can draw many effects.

I like to use them combined with other markers. In the example below, I added some sand texture marks with them.

An SUV drawing with Zig markers Sand with Zig markers




See on Amazon

Talens | Pantone

Talens | Pantone are quality water-based markers.

Color range: 108.

Nibs: Brush & chisel nib.

Pantone water-based markers Talens | Pantone markers

A cooperation between Talens and the Pantone Matching System. These markers are pigment-based with rich, vivid colors.

They are of high quality, and refillable.

They work well with pens.

A drawing of a church with pen and markers Building with Pantone




Koi Coloring Brush Pen

Koi Coloring Brush Pen are water-based markers.

Color range: 48.

Nibs: One brush nib.

Koi Coloring Brush Pen water-based markers Koi markers
Castle painted with Koi markers My daughter's castle with Koi




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Promarker Watercolour

Winsor & Newton Promarker Watercolour are water-based markers that can be used for drawing and painting.

Color range: 36.

Nibs: Two nibs, one brush and one bullet.

Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers Water Colour Marker
Winsor & Newton Water-based Colour Markers Two kinds of nibs




See on Amazon

Faber-Castell PITT

Faber-Castell PITT artist pen are water-based markers.

Color range: 60, including 11 gray shades that are equipped with a soft brush.

Nibs: One brush nib.

Markers with durable ink that contain pigments, and can be purchased individually or as part of a set.

Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen markers Faber-Castell PITT artist pen
Woodstock painted with water-based markers Woodstock painted with PITT

In addition, PITT artist pen are available with a big brush for quick coloring of large areas.

These markers come as individuals or as part of a set.

Faber-Castell PITT artist pen big brush PITT artist pen big brush

The black PITT artist pen big brush marker is great for silhouettes. (The small details are drawn with a fineliner).

A painting of a tree with black marker Painting with PITT

White markers are great for highlights.

Drawing highlight marks with PITT marker Highlights with white marker



Good to know:

If you like drawing trees, make sure you visit my guide for drawing realistic trees with pens.

Examples for drawing trees with pens and markers

Zig Clean Color f

Zig Clean Color f (dual tip) are water-based dye pens with bullet nibs.

Color range: 56.

Nibs: extra fine (0.5mm) and large (1.2mm) tips.

Zig Clean Color f - dual tip Zig twin tip markers

Unlike other markers, which are intended for painting and coloring, Zig clean color f is suitable for drawing, sketching, cartooning and illustration work.

Dish soap sketch with Zig markers Sketching with Zig f



Acrylic Paint Markers

Operating Instructions:

Liquitex Paint Marker

Liquitex Paint Marker are made from acrylic, water-based ink, which is lightfast due to the pigments it is made from.

Color range: 50.

Nibs: Flat, stiff nib.

The Liquitex markers come in two sizes: 2mm by 4mm and 8mm by 15mm.

Liquitex Paint Marker, acrylic water-based Liquitex Paint Marker
Daffy Duck painting with water-based markers Daffy Duck painted with Liquitex




Uni POSCA are opaque, water-based markers.

Color range: 55.

Nibs: Bullet, they come in many sizes.

Uni POSCA paint markers POSCA paint markers



My favorite covering markers are Uni POSCA: See on Amazon


Lightfastness is the durability of paint (pigment or dye) to resist fading when exposed to light.

All markers in this review are of high quality and by well-known brands. I had no issue with any of them when it comes to fading, as long as they are kept away from direct sunlight.

Direct Sunlight Test:

Paints from most markers in this article were exposed to direct sunlight for 10 days.

The results:

Lightfastness test for markers Markers lightfastness test


The markers that did not fade from direct sunlight are POSCA, W&N Pigment Marker, Faber-Castell PITT, W&N Watercolour & Liquitex.

It is a good practice to hang drawings and paintings away from direct sunlight. If they are not displayed, they should be kept in a drawer, cupboard or any storage that protects them from light and moisture.


Here is my Smurf drawing after exposure to direct sunlight, for more than a year.

Some colors are completely gone, while others are highly desaturated.

Smurf marker drawing exposed to direct sunlight Before & after direct sunlight

Blender Marker

Most marker brands provide a blender marker that is actually a marker with colorless liquid for mixing colors.

A liquid layer for blending can be applied before or after coloring with markers.

In addition:

Copic alcohol-based blender Paint outside the outline
Copic blender marker for mixing colors Partially erasing with blender

Pens for Outlines

When drawing comics, the outlines are made using a technical pen (also called fineliner).

To find out which are the best pens to use with markers, check out my review on drawing pens for artists.

Examples for pen drawings

Paper Sheets for Markers

As noted above, painting with markers is done on suitable paper that is smooth, does not absorb paint, and allows for smooth mixing between shades.

Most marker brands provide paper sheets suitable for the same brand, but can be used with other marker brands.

Thin sheets of paper are convenient for training and testing different combinations of colors, and their price is low.

For paintings intended for sale or display, it is recommended to use thick sheets of paper that do not bend easily.

Paper sheets for pencil drawing and sketching can also be used, especially with alcohol-based markers.

Paper sheets for Pigment Markers Paper sheets for Pigment Marker
Paper sheets for painting with markers Paper sheets for markers

Markers Storage

Markers can be stored in plastic bags or plastic boxes that can be left slightly open for ventilation.

There are designated cases for markers, but they are less effective for a large amount of markers.

Markers can be stored as color groups in order to quickly find the desired marker.

I store my markers in a horizontal position.

Markers stored in plastic bag Markers stored in a plastic bag
Markers stored in a designated case Case for storing markers


Alcohol-based markers:

Different brands of alcohol-based markers can be used together.

Alcohol-based markers are usually higher in quality and price and are better for drawing comic books and manga.

Copic Sketch markers offer the widest range of shades, superior replaceable nibs, and they are refillable. They are expensive, but, in the long run, when using the refills, it pays off.

Water-based markers:

Water-based markers are less suitable for regular paper sheets.

Most water-based markers can be used together with a paintbrush and water.

Compared to alcohol-based markers, Water-based markers are relatively cheap.

Zig markers offer a nice variety of colors.


There are simple markers at lower prices and non-toxic markers for children.

Additional resources you might like:

Beginners guide to drawing depth.

My recommended YouTube drawing and painting channels.

*The markers review is based upon my personal experience. All markers in this guide are owned and tested by me, and all drawings were made by me.