is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What are the Best Markers for Artists?

what are the best markers for artists

When you embark on a project that involves the colorful hues of markers, there is probably one question to ponder: what are the best markers for artists that you should choose? Deciding on the type or brand can be pretty challenging since there are a plethora of markers on the market. How can you narrow down your options to the best ones out there, then?

Before you pick out a brand or set of markers, the first thing to do is determine your skills or experience in using markers. Keep in mind that there is a vast array of marker pens for beginners and advanced artists. Besides that, the scale of your project is another crucial factor to help you identify the best type of markers, how many you need, and which colors to use.

In this article, we are going to unravel the key factors to consider when picking out the ultimate markers for artists. We are also going to discuss the different types of markers and their benefits, uses, and disadvantages.

Best Type of Markers for Artists According to Types

Pens that are alcohol-based or water-based are two of the most popular forms of art markers. Each category has distinct qualities that are almost fundamentally different from each other.

The third type is solvent-based. On the market, solvent-based markers aren’t very popular. These are for those times when you need to sketch on a certain surface or two.

The creators frequently combine two or more components to create a solvent. The solvent is then used as ink. Let us go through these types to know their distinct characteristics and uses.


Pigment and alcohol are used in the creation of alcohol-based art markers. They are noted for drying rapidly and being permanent, which means they will not smudge if you apply water to them.

Most artists prefer alcohol-based markers, also known as “permanent markers,” because they mix more easily and consistently, and you may layer colors to create shades, tints, and figures.

Double-sided coloring books are not advised since they bleed through the page. But of course, every artist has their style and preferences. It will all depend on their needs and creativity.

However, alcohol-based markers have a drawback: they can have an odor. It’s preferable to use them in a well-ventilated place if they have a strong odor. Though there are formulations of these types that are low-odor.


These markers contain water or a combination of water and glycerin. They are frequently not permanent and will bleed if they come into contact with water.

They are, however, unscented, making them ideal for children – just make sure they are completely dry before using. Adult supervision is always recommended if markers are being used by children.

Water-based markers are widely accessible, most typically in children’s sets, but you can also get artist-quality water-based markers that are incredibly flexible. Water-based markers are ideal for coloring books because they don’t bleed as much through the paper.

The main disadvantage is that if you use too much color, the paper may distort or become damaged. For hand-lettering, water-based markers are also very popular.


These markers commonly contain methyl, isobutyl ketone, xylene, and other compounds. The ink is waterproof; they are also long-lasting but not permanent, unlike most alcohol-based markers. Due to their durable and strong compounds, these markers are typically designed for industrial use.

All of these compounds, however, have significant scents, which may not be appealing to some users and may result in eye irritations. On the plus side, the colors you receive are vibrant and incredibly durable.

What are the Best Brands of Markers for Artists?

the best brands of markers for artists

Alcohol-based Markers


Many professional artists consider Copic markers their superior option for alcohol-based markers because of their exceptional ink quality and longevity as well as the innovative double-ended design. Apart from that, these markers provide a wide range of colors that are creatively categorized and organized according to their unique Copic Color System.

These markers are also popular for their refillable design, allowing artists to utilize their markers for the longest time possible without having to dispose of their markers only after several uses.

Impressively, some can last for years and even decades due to their durability and versatility. Having said that, their superb quality is actually among the major factors that counterbalance the hefty price tag of these markers.

What’s great about Copic markers is their extensive selection of markers that are suitable for artists of all levels. They offer Copic Classic and Copic Sketch markers for experienced and advanced artists while Copic Ciao is recommended for beginners.


It is another popular and reputable brand known for its high-quality alcohol-based markers. Similar to Copic markers, this brand has a vast lineup of markers, including Prismacolor

Premier Illustration Markers and Prismacolor Double Ended Art Markers. Fortunately, these markers are much cheaper in price.

The markers from these categories come in a wide range of colors, tip designs, and styles, allowing you to unleash your creativity and artistic techniques. The tip sizes may vary from chisel, fine, and brush. Many illustrators and professional artists opt for fine-tipped Prismacolor Premier Illustration Markers for precision and intricate hand lettering and technical illustrations.

While Copic and Prismacolor are the top brands for alcohol-based markers, you may also check out Winsor & Newton ProMarkers for their dual-tipped markers and streak-free coverage.

Furthermore, Sharpie is a classic choice for a stunning collection of versatile, vibrant, and quick-drying permanent markers.

Water-based Markers


Whether you are a kid or an adult, you will probably know about Crayola and its wide selection of crayons. But when it comes to markers, this brand is a popular option for kids, students, and beginner artists because of its water-based markers. Plus, they are non-toxic, making them safe for children to use.

Moreover, these markers offer excellent pigment quality that looks incredibly vibrant like permanent markers. Aside from that, parents and teachers opt for Crayola because of their collection of washable markers that are ideal for kids who often end up with messy marker scribbles and stains.


For non-toxic, acid-free, and odorless water-based markers, Tombow has been a favorite brand among many artists both amateurs and professionals. Besides their premium quality ink that gives off vibrant hues, these markers are blendable, rendering artistic watercolor effects to your work.

The Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers are also a crowd favorite because of their dual-ended design. This lets artists switch between tip styles for fine and consistent strokes or medium and bold strokes.

Although the aforementioned brands are the popular options for water-based markers, other reputable brands, such as Prismacolor, Ohuhu, and Winsor & Newton, also offer excellent markers for artists of different levels and skills.

Solvent-based Markers


This brand is known for its lineup of durable industrial markers that highlight Xylene, a paint solvent that renders incredible lightfastness, waterproofing properties, and resistance against fading and abrasion. Therefore, these Arro-Mark markers are an excellent option and the best choice for industrial use, including permanent markings on various surfaces like metal, oily, over or underwater, and porous or non-porous surfaces.

What is the Best Type of Marker for You?

After delving into a variety of markers, their uses, and their pros and cons, it all comes down to the best markers to go for. Honestly, it can be quite difficult to settle for a particular marker set or brand due to these overwhelming options. Aside from that, some markers are thoughtfully and innovatively formulated for specific purposes.

Therefore, there are three (3) primary factors that will help you decide on the most suitable markers for your needs and preferences.

Determine your level, skills, or experience.

When working with markers, identifying your skills or experience is a crucial factor. Whether you are a beginner, an advanced artist, or an experienced one, there are vast options according to your level, and you can narrow down your choices and compare each of them to find out which brand or type of marker suits you best.

Identify the scale and type of your work.

Do you need markers for a commission, industrial projects, or simply for a hobby? Then again, markers fall under a variety of categories. Some are for industrial purposes or fashion illustrations while some markers are designed for artistic projects, commissions, or coloring. Recognizing these factors will help you choose how many markers you need, the ink type, and the color selection.

Take note of your preferences.

The next important key is to consider your preferences with regard to your color of choice or theme, tip style and size, ink type, and versatility. If you prefer long-lasting permanent markers, you can start on alcohol-based markers. Water-based markers must be the best pick for you if you often work with watercolor or want a selection for washable markers.


There is definitely a lot to learn and discover in the world of markers. But if you know what you’re searching for and to what project you will use it, finding the best markers for artists isn’t difficult both for professional artists and amateurs alike.

Make a note of your preferences and do some research on various marker brands. You may also start with my recommendations and information above so you don’t have to waste time looking for the proper markers for your artwork and projects.

Leave a Comment