Technically speaking, you can blend any colored marker using a bit of water. However, note that you can’t expect all markers to blend the same way. The best blending markers do not need quite as much water for the colors to fade into each other. Aside from making the drawings look better, they also keep the paper from warping.
If you are looking into leveling up your art game or just want your adult coloring books to look many times better, then it is advisable to get a new set of this product, preferably the best blendable markers. This article will teach you how to find markers with colors that blend easily and give you a couple of products you might want to try yourself.
- Best Blending Marker Reviews
- 1. Tombow 56187 Blendable Art Markers
- 2. Spectrum Noir Blend Triblend Alcohol Markers
- 3. Shuttle Art Alcohol Based Art Markers
- 4. Art-n-Fly Colorless Blender Brush Markers
- 5. SPREEY Alcohol Brush Markers
- 6. Winsor & Newton ProMarker
- 7. Tongfushop Alcohol Drawing Markers
- 8. Sakura XBR-BLEND Blister Card Koi Blender
- 9. Abeier Dual Tip Art Markers
- 10. Chameleon Kidz Blendy Pens
- What to Look For When Buying a Blending Marker
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Blending Marker Reviews
1. Tombow 56187 Blendable Art Markers
One nice thing about these brushes is that they essentially provide two sets of art markers in one. Each pen has a soft brush tip and firm, fine bullet tip. It means you can create crisp, somewhat bold lines, and their colors are always even.
The brush tips are soft enough that you can make broad strokes while springing back and not fraying easily. These pens use water-based inks, which means no strong odors come from them, unlike some alcohol-based markers. However, even though these are water-based markers, they do blend quite well, almost as evenly as alcohol markers.
Speaking of blending colors, this set comes with a colorless blending pen. This pen makes it so much easier to blend colors, especially in small spaces. Now, if they run dry, you can use a brush and some water to blend colors. Some artists often use this method if they want to give their artworks a watercolor look and feel.
A quirky little detail that I like about these pens is that the caps have a little nub on them. This little bump prevents the pens from rolling off the drawing table. I love this little detail because I am the type who does not always put the pens back when I am still working. I also hate having to constantly pick up markers off the floor.
Now, even though Tombow pens have been consistently good, some people complained about their sets having one pen completely dried out. Although there are ways to remedy that problem, this bit of quality control problem is all on the manufacturer.
2. Spectrum Noir Blend Triblend Alcohol Markers
What I liked the most about these markers is that you get three shades of one color in just one pen. I used to need to make test passes using different markers to see if they blend correctly. It is not the case anymore with the Spectrum Noir Triblend markers. You just need to grab one color and you are good to go.
I also find these markers easy to use. Even complete beginners can get impressive results. Aside from the fact that these markers already come with colors that you need to blend, they also have labels from darker to lighter tones. With that, you will surely know the order you need to lay them down.
Another thing I loved is that you do not need to buy an entire set of markers if you just need one color. Of course, you must invest a bit of money to get a set together. However, if any one of those pens dries up, the only thing you should do is to buy that one color.
These pens also come with fine bullet tip points that make them easier to use for detailed work. However, you can still use these markers for coloring large areas, but you will need to use a brush and some clean water. I often use these pens if I want to give my background a beautiful washed-out look.
What I did not like about these markers is that the inks tend to dry too quickly, which makes them a bit harder to blend. These markers that blend would have been a bit better if the inks stayed wet for at least a minute or so. However, you can still blend the colors using a bit of water.
3. Shuttle Art Alcohol Based Art Markers
Just the sheer number of pens that you get from this one set is enough to put a smile on your face. Although you are getting 172 pens, you are getting 171 different colors because one of the markers is a colorless blending pen. If you are a beginner at using color markers, then it is a set worth investing in.
Not only are you getting 171 different colors, but each pen also comes with two types of nibs – a bullet-point and a chisel-point. It means that you can use every pen for drawing detailed lines. You can also use the chisel point for broad strokes, making it possible to fill in spaces quickly.
As mentioned earlier, this set comes with a colorless marker. Although these markers do not blend as readily as other more expensive brands, you can still blend colors to a certain extent. You can also use a paintbrush and some water to make your drawings look like watercolor paintings.
Aside from the markers themselves, I liked that the set came with a handy carrying case. I like the carrying case as it holds the pens upright, so they save space, unlike the flat cases that come with other brands.
Now, these markers may not be suitable for professional use as the colors are a bit hard to blend once the ink dries. If you still want to blend the colors, then you will be using the blender marker quite a bit – that or use a brush and quite a lot of water.
4. Art-n-Fly Colorless Blender Brush Markers
You do not need to buy two different kinds of blender markers if you invest in this one from Art-n-Fly. This just shows how versatile this marker is. It comes with both a brush tip and a chisel tip, meaning you can do a lot with them. I use the brush tip for broad strokes and making colors fade to white. The chisel points are for highlighting details.
One thing that impresses me about this marker is that you technically do not need to buy another one for the rest of your life. Aside from being refillable, you can also replace the nibs once worn down considerably. If you take good care of this pen, it will last for many years.
These markers are made in Japan and the Japanese somehow know how to make the most ergonomic products. The barrel has a familiar hexagon shape, but the edges are nicely rounded, making them comfortable to hold. If you will be spending hours blending and creating highlights on drawings, then these pens are your best friend.
Because these blending markers use alcohol-based ink, you can technically use them to blend Prismacolor markers, regardless if they are water- or alcohol-based. This means you do not need to buy an entire set of Art-n-Fly markers. You can make do with what you already have.
This might be subjective, but these blending markers are a bit on the expensive side. However, since these markers are refillable and the nibs are replaceable, these items can technically be the last ones that you will ever buy, so spending a bit more will be worth it.
5. SPREEY Alcohol Brush Markers
This product is a nice starter kit for those who want to learn how to use color markers for drawing and coloring. You will be getting 50 pens (one is a colorless blending marker) and all the colors that you will ever need. The markers also come in a convenient and space-saving carrying case.
One of the reasons why this marker set is ideal for beginners is its versatility. Every marker comes with dual tips – one is a brush tip and the other end is a chisel tip. I use the brush tips when I need to give my drawings a softer look. Meanwhile, I use the chisel-points when I want to give a more dynamic feel, like for architectural drawings.
Speaking of the marker tips, another thing I liked about them is that if you were to damage them or have gotten frayed due to use, you can pull them out and flip them over. There is another point at the other end that will make the marker write like new again. Now, if that one gets frayed too, you can buy replacement nibs.
Because these markers use alcohol-based inks, it means they are practically waterproof. Even if you accidentally spill a bit of your drinking water or the condensation on your bottle drips onto the paper, the ink will not run. The only way you can blend the colors is by using the colorless blending marker that came with the kit.
There is nothing bad I can say about this set of markers. However, if I must be nitpicky, then I would say that there should be more skin tones in the color palette. If I were to choose, I would remove some of the somewhat redundant colors and replace them with skin tones.
6. Winsor & Newton ProMarker
These markers are among the best ones that I have ever used. These black markers lay down the ink so evenly that you would think that it was printed on the surface. I have used them for all sorts of things from product designs to calligraphy, and I was always impressed at how it performed every time.
The dual tips that come along with these marker pens – the bullet-point tip and the chisel-point tip – offer the advantage of providing a lot of versatility in just one marker. The bullet point tip is great for line drawings and coloring in fine details. The bullet-point allows you to create wide strokes, filling in large spaces faster and more evenly.
The ink used by these markers is alcohol-based, so they can dry quickly. Once the ink does dry, it becomes waterproof. This prevents the ink from smudging. It also keeps it from running in case you accidentally spill a bit of water over the ink.
This, unfortunately, means you cannot use water to blend/fade the markers. Despite that, I am glad to say that this set of pens includes a blending marker that can help soften the edges.
Speaking of the blending marker, it contains a colorless, alcohol-based solvent that can break down the black inks enough to make them run and fade the way you want them to. These pens also glide smoothly over the paper and will not deform the paper, like how plain water would.
The only problem that I have with these markers is that the ink would leak out of the tips, especially when the weather is a bit warm and humid. The leaking is not that severe. However, you may find a drop or two on the paper, which can be frustrating at times.
7. Tongfushop Alcohol Drawing Markers
I would highly recommend this set of markers for those who are just starting with coloring using markers. These pens have very vibrant colors, proof of their incredible quality.
However, unlike the popular brands, these are cheap blending markers, making them great choices for beginners who want to get as much practice without breaking the bank.
Another neat thing about these markers is that they all have dual tips. This means one end has a fine bullet-point tip for precision coloring and linework, and the other end has a chisel-point tip, which is great for broad strokes and calligraphy. You are essentially getting two types of markers in one.
I also appreciate the fact that the manufacturer took the time to make the markers ergonomic and easy to use. The barrels of the pens are square-shaped, which means it will be impossible for them to roll off the drawing table. Even though they are square, the markers are comfortable to hold and easy to manipulate.
Speaking of ease of use, take note that, unlike the other markers that only have the colors on the caps for reference, these have the color codes written on them. Along with the included color guide, finding the colors that you need from the bunch of 80 pens is a whole lot easier.
The issue that I have with these markers is that they do not have that much ink in my opinion. Of course, if you compare these pens with the more expensive brands, they do not have quite as much ink. However, they should at least have enough for a few months of coloring.
8. Sakura XBR-BLEND Blister Card Koi Blender
I liked this brand of blending marker because the brush tip is very flexible. It works almost like a real brush and it springs back to its original shape immediately. This makes it easier to blend colors in a big space as well as in small ones like in calligraphy.
This marker uses a water-based solvent and that is why you will not smell any odor whatsoever coming from this marker. I like this quite a lot because I usually work with my face near the drawing surface (poor eyesight) and I sometimes get dizzy when I use strong alcohol-based blending markers. It is not a problem with the Sakura XBR-Blend.
Another reason why I like these blending markers is that they also work great at blending watercolor pencils as well as markers. I like using markers like these because they are cleaner and easier to use compared to brushes and water. It is especially true when I need to fill in the little details of my drawings.
Also, unlike watercolor brushes, these markers self-clean. After blending one color, I just need to do a couple of squiggles on a separate sheet of paper to clean the tip. Watercolor brushes need to be rinsed constantly in clean water, which can sometimes get messy.
Now, what I did not like about these blending markers is that their tips are not durable. I had several pens that had their nibs frayed and barely usable even before they ran out of ink. However, I still use those pens when I need to blend colors in a bigger space, but not for detailed work.
9. Abeier Dual Tip Art Markers
The thing I liked the most about this set of blendable art markers is that you are getting 80 individual pens and a colorless blending marker for merely a fraction of the cost of high-end blendable markers brands. However, just because they are affordable, that does not mean they do not color well. They even work almost as well as the top brands.
I also liked how the pens have dual tips. They have fine bullet-point tips on one end and chisel points on the other. This doubles the number of markers you have at your disposal.
I often use the bullet-point tips for coloring in small spaces and faux brush calligraphy. On the other hand, I find the chisel-point tips useful whenever I need to color architectural drawings or anything that has sharp lines and angles.
Because these markers use alcohol-based inks, they dry quickly. When they dry up, they are practically waterproof. It also means that you cannot use plain water to blend colors. You have to use the included blending marker to do so. I accidentally dripped a bit of water on a drawing I was working on. To my surprise, the colors did not wash together.
Aside from the colors, I also liked the design of the markers themselves. Unlike other color markers that I own, these have square barrels. It means that they will not roll off the drawing table. The square markers are also easy to hold and control unlike some of the smaller markers with round pen bodies.
Now, I was not expecting much from these markers in the first place, so when I saw that some shades of the same color are still the same, I was not disappointed too much. However, it would have been a great buy if the colors on the caps were accurate.
10. Chameleon Kidz Blendy Pens
This set of markers comes with 24 bright and dazzling colors. If you are a kid, having all these colors at your disposal just feels awesome. If you are an adult, the feeling is just the same.
Even though these markers are marketed for use by children, that does not mean that you do not get to have fun with them, too. I use the markers quite a bit when I am doing whimsical calligraphy and art.
The biggest selling point of this set of color blending markers is the inclusion of fusion chambers. These are plastic sleeves where you place the markers together and let their colors blend.
Aside from mixing the different colors to create a new one, they also allow you to make a beautiful gradation from one color to another. Do not worry. The markers will turn back to their original color once the fused color dissipates.
In addition to the markers, some extra items add more fun to the coloring experience. There is the airbrush where you insert a marker in one end and then blow into the other to create an airbrush-like effect. I am not going to lie. I also enjoyed using this feature quite a lot.
Because these are marketed for kids, the ink used in the markers is non-toxic and safe for use by even young ones. These markers also do not have any odors, not even fragrant ones, which may cause young children to put those in their mouths. I bought another set of these markers for my kid so that we could color together sometimes.
The only thing I did not like about these markers, which is not the fault of the manufacturer, is that the tips of the markers are a bit too big for use in adult coloring books. The colors that these markers can make would have been great in coloring books.
What to Look For When Buying a Blending Marker
If you are on the lookout for a good quality blending marker, here are some of the characteristics that you should keep an eye out for.
Shape and Size of the Tip
Blending markers, just like color markers, come in different sizes and shapes of nibs. Choose the type of nib that you will need for your style of drawing. Better yet, you can get a blending marker that comes with two different styles of tips – either a chisel-point and a bullet-point or a brush tip.
Water- or Alcohol-Based Ink
You have a choice between water and alcohol-based inks when choosing blending markers. The thing that you have to remember is that alcohol-based blending markers can blend both water and alcohol-based inks.
Water-based blenders, on the other hand, are only for the same kind of ink. However, alcohol-based markers are also more expensive than water-based, so you better keep your budget in check.
When we talk about durability, it is typically about the tips of the markers. This means the tips should be able to withstand a lot of use without fraying or breaking. It is advisable to buy markers in person in art supply stores. If you have no choice other than to buy them online, be sure to check as many customer reviews as you can.
As mentioned earlier, alcohol-based markers are usually more expensive than water-based ones. However, note that it will also depend on the brand.
A water-based marker from a well-known brand will always be more expensive than an alcohol-based marker from some unknown brand. With that said, you should consider your budget when shopping for markers. Also, you have to be one hundred percent sure that you are getting the best deal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Markers are Good for Blending?
Alcohol-based markers are better for blending compared to water-based. Alcohol markers are partially transparent so you can layer colors on top of each other. Moreover, water-based markers are sometimes unpredictable when blended.
How to Use Blending Markers?
First, you need to lay down the colors that you will be blending. Before the inks dry, grab your blending marker and then pull the edge of the darker color into the lighter shade. Doing it the other way around simply does not work.
After blending, draw a couple of squiggles using the blending marker on a clean sheet of paper to clear the tip.
Blending markers are indispensable tools in any artist’s toolkit. However, not all blending markers are made the same. Finding the best blending markers can be tricky since it is pretty much subjective. However, if you take into consideration your needs and art style, then you can find the marker that is best for you.