Markers Review for Artists

Updated: 22 Jun 2024

Markers review

Table of contents:

Intro

Markers are an easy and affordable medium for drawing.

Below are my recommended markers.

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

Many markers have a high level of transparency, so they are quite light.

Adding more layers of the same color makes 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 for drawing fine details

Synthetic brush nib is great for mixing colors, or combined with water (for water-based markers).

For advanced information about color mixing, visit my color mixing guide.

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 higher in quality and price, and are better for drawing comic books and manga.

You can use different brands of alcohol-based markers together.

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

See on Amazon

Promarker

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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 coloring:

Screwdriver & fountain pen painting with markers Straight lines with Copic Markers

Using the brush nib for coloring:

Marker drawing of Fred Flintstone Fred Flintstone 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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

See on Amazon

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

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

Ohuhu Kaala

Ohuhu Kaala are alcohol-based markers.

Color range: 150.

Nibs: One chisel and one fine bullet nib.

Ohuhu Kaala markers Ohuhu Kaala

These markers work perfectly with pens.

They mix well and have a good range of light and dark colors, including saturated and less saturated colors, which is great.

Marker drawings with a set of Ohuhu Kaala Set of 60 Kaala markers

I prefer the Ohuhu Honolulu series, because the color range is larger, and they have a brush nib.

That said, the Kaala series is amazing, and the bullet nib gives more control.

A markers drawing of a landscape with a tree Landscape with Kaala

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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 refillable.

They work well with pens.

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

See on Amazon

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

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion:

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

Pros:

Cons:

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

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

Pros:

Cons:

Uni POSCA

Uni POSCA are opaque, water-based markers.

Color range: 55.

Nibs: Bullet, they come in many sizes.

Uni POSCA paint markers POSCA paint markers

Pros:

Cons:

My favorite covering markers are Uni POSCA: See on Amazon

Lightfastness

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

Conclusion:

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.

Example:

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

Summary

Paper:

For alcohol-based markers, I use quality drawing paper, or mixed media paper.

This next example is markers and colored pencils on a mixed media paper.

Markers and colored pencils drawing of a cucumber and a knife

For water-based markers, you can use paper for markers, or for watercolor.

Here are my recommended Paper brands for drawing.

Pen:

I use technical pens (also fine liners), when I draw comics.

This is my guide for drawing pens, including drawing examples.

Examples for pen drawings

Other:

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

For beginners, this is my guide on drawing depth.

*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.