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What is a Felt Tip Marker?

what is a felt tip marker

What is a felt tip marker? You might have been using them for quite a long time, but do you even think about how markers work? You do not necessarily need to know how your coloring markers work but it does seem to help a bit when you understand.

This article will teach you what are felt tip pens and how they work. If you like using color markers to give your drawings a splash of color, knowing how they work will teach you how to use them properly, thereby allowing them to last much longer.

What is a Felt Tip Marker?

What are felt tip pens? To put it simply, a marker is a pen that has its own ink reservoir. It also makes use of a fibrous material called felt for its writing tip. However, these pens are also called by different names, like sign pens, Koki pens, sketch pens, or simply markers.

Depending on where you are in the world, you might have your own localized term for felt tip markers. Most felt-tip markers use quick-drying ink, which makes them quite convenient and fun to use.

It is also the reason why even young kids can have fun using these writing implements. In fact, there are lots of brands that manufacture child-friendly felt markers that use non-toxic and erasable inks.

Even though they are called felt tip markers, some types do not use the same material for their nibs. Some brands use porous ceramics and you can typically see them in markers meant for drawing fine details.

Basic Parts and Characteristics of Felt Tip Markers

characteristics of felt tip markers

Let us now discuss the basic parts of the felt tip marker. Learning about the different parts of markers will give you a better idea of how they work, so you know how to use them properly.

Nib Materials

Despite having the name felt tip markers, not all of them use felt materials for their nibs. Here are the two major types of nib materials used by felt markers:

Plastics – Many markers use hard plastic nibs, typically those used to draw fine details. You can often see these markers being used by comic artists, draftsmen, and architects. These pens usually have fine tips, from 0.2mm to 0.7mm thick.

Although plastic nibs are hard, they are also quite thin and fragile. The thinness of the nibs allows for thinner and smoother lines. However, if you bend it too much, the nib will break and spill ink all over the paper. This is why you can see most plastic nibs encased in metal sleeves.

Conical Nibs – This is the typical felt tip, making it much softer than plastic nibs. The nice thing about conical nibs is that you can use the whole thing to create different kinds of lines. For instance, you can draw uniform thin lines using just the tip and thicker lines of varying widths by laying the nib on its side.

Nib Size

Felt marker nibs come in various sizes. There is not one standard size. They can be as small as 0.2mm and up to 2mm thick, maybe even thicker. The smaller nib sizes are great for drawing tiny details, which is why you can often see them being used for architectural drafting and comic book/manga drawings.

On the other hand, the bigger nib sizes are usually found on color markers. The larger nibs enable them to cover more space using fewer strokes. The thicker nibs also make it easier to hide the pen strokes.

Inks Used

There are several kinds of ink that traditional markers use, namely pigment, water-based, oil-based, and alcohol-based inks.

Pigment and water-based ink markers are perfect for use when writing on porous media, like paper and cardboard. Meanwhile, oil and alcohol-based inks markers are suitable for non-paper materials, like metal, glass, and plastics.

Choosing the Right Felt Tip Marker

choosing the right felt tip marker

To choose the best felt tip marker, here are some helpful tips:

Consider what you are using the marker for

Why do you need a marker in the first place? Will you be using the marker for drawing, or maybe coloring? Knowing what you will be using the markers for will make your decision easier.

For instance, will you be using markers for coloring? If so, you should get those that have medium to wide-nibbed markers. These are more comfortable to use. Moreover, it is also easier to cover larger spaces when using such markers.

Consider your budget

Do you have a substantial budget to purchase the pricier brands of felt markers? They can usually set you back almost $100 per set, so be careful. If you are a beginner and you just want something to practice with to get the hang of using markers, go for lower-priced ones.

Consider who will be using them

Are you the one who will be using the markers? Or will young kids be the ones using them? If it is the latter, then you should get age-appropriate markers, namely the ones that use non-toxic inks.

In addition, if very young kids will be using the markers, get those that have washable inks so they will not stain their clothes.


Now that you know what is a felt tip marker is and you have a better understanding of how it works, you now also have an idea of how to use it properly. This is just the start though. You have to continue learning about markers so you can improve your skills as well.