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10 Best Markers for Illustration in 2022 (Artist-Reviewed)

Markers are a fun and versatile tool for illustration. With a variety of colors and tip styles, markers allow for creativity and experimentation. They are a great option because they are convenient, mess-free, and easy to take anywhere. Whether you're a manga artist, a fashion illustrator, or just want to try something new, there is a perfect set of markers to meet your needs.  


To help you narrow down your choices, we put together a list of 10 of the best markers for illustration you can buy online. Our top pick is Copic Marker's Alcohol Sketch Marker Set. We appreciate that the markers are refillable, have replaceable nibs, and feature both a brush and chisel tip. They are perfect for creating a variety of beautiful illustrations. Look through the rest of our list and get more information from the buying guide we put together with insight from an artist. 

Last updated 09/26/2023
Susan Lucier-Ogawa
Expert
Oil Painter and Glassblower
Susan Lucier-Ogawa

Susan has a Master of Fine Arts in Oil Painting, has been a glassblower since 1998, and is a former drawing professor. Her "painted drawings" are oil on paper and employ cartoon imagery to explore issues, ironies, and paradoxes in modern societies, often inspired by urban life in Tokyo. She has participated in juried exhibitions in the US and Japan.

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Table of Contents

How to Choose Markers For Illustration

With so many markers to pick from, the options can seem never-ending. But, there are some criteria that will help narrow down your choice such as formulas, colors, tips, and barrel shapes. 

1

Choose Between Water- and Alcohol-Based Markers

Choose Between Water- and Alcohol-Based Markers

When selecting the perfect set of markers, you will generally pick between two types: water-based and alcohol-based. This reflects how the marker’s dye can be suspended in either alcohol or water, which affects the marker’s permanence and ability to blend. 


Water-based markers are convenient and plentiful. They usually have no distinct smell and can easily be blended when coloring. If they dry out, they can be reactivated by simply dipping them in some water. However, their colors are more prone to fading and they take a longer time to dry on the paper.


Alcohol-based markers are a good choice for serious illustrators. These markers are great because they are more resistant to fading, quick-drying, and transparent, which means they can be blended or layered. Alcohol-based markers often use refillable ink and replaceable nibs. And, they tend to be available in a larger selection of colors. 


On the downside, alcohol-based markers may have a strong smell that might be irritating to some. They can also bleed through thin paper. Since their colors dry quickly on paper, they might be more difficult to blend well.

2

Decide What Tip Shape You Want

Tip shape affects the style of the illustration. There is a large variety of tips, but you will usually choose from brush, chisel, fine, conical or bullet, and even double-ended marker tips.

Brush and Chisel Tips Are Versatile

Brush and Chisel Tips Are Versatile

Brush tips are by far the most versatile marker tip. With a brush tip marker, you can use the point to draw thin and fine lines. You can also flatten the brush to fill in larger areas.  


Much like brush tips, chisel tips are also multi-purpose. A chisel tip has a wide, flat, and pointed side, which you can use in various ways. You can lay down a lot of color with the flat side, or create thinner strokes with the pointed side.

Susan Lucier-Ogawa
Oil Painter and GlassblowerSusan Lucier-Ogawa

Brush tips are great if you want to create lines that vary in width for a more expressive or painterly look. They require a lighter touch, or the tips can easily become distorted or frayed. If you tend to push hard on your writing utensils, you'll need to learn to pull back when using brush tip markers.


Chisels tips are probably best used for calligraphy. Although you can draw finer lines by using the thin side of the tip, doing so often will wear it down and make it gradually fatter, leading to thick lines.


You may also find them harder to control, as you have to constantly be conscious of which side is facing the paper to know what stroke you're going to get. For someone like me who has a habit of turning their pen around as they draw, this can be annoying! You also need to use them at a certain angle to the paper.

Fine and Bullet Tips for Special Purposes

Fine and Bullet Tips for Special Purposes

Fine tip markers are great if you like to draw in more detail. They're geared towards small and fine-detailed illustrations that require a precise hand.


Meanwhile, bullet tip markers work for broad strokes and coloring. They can also be used for blending. They're probably the most readily-available type, since they can be used in a variety of ways.

Susan Lucier-Ogawa
Oil Painter and GlassblowerSusan Lucier-Ogawa

Marker tip sizes run from 0.3 millimeters to jumbo sizes like 50 millimeters. You might consider the super-fine ones to be pens, and not markers, but the difference is they will still have a felt tip like other markers.


Bullet tips, if you control them well, can be used to create lines or fill in areas. However, like many non-specialized items, although they can perform a variety of functions, they do none of them especially well.


Bullet tips are probably best for casual artists and colorists, or people who want to minimize how many markers they need to carry around. In general, you're better off buying the specific shapes of tips you need for each stroke, instead of trying to expect everything from one tip.

Double-Ended Markers for Maximum Variety

Double-Ended Markers for Maximum Variety

If you're unsure of what you need or if you like to use different types of tips, you can look for double-ended markers. They usually have a brush tip and a fine tip on opposite ends, although the tip combination varies. Opting for a double-ended marker gives you a lot of freedom when illustrating.


Double-ended markers with an alcohol base are a great selection for seasoned artists or fashion illustrators. Because they dry quickly and have a variety of tip shapes, creating a sketch rich in detail and color is a cinch. 

3

Think About the Color Range You Need

Think About the Color Range You Need

If you’re just a beginner when it comes to illustration, it's a good idea to start with a set of basic colors. Look for sets that come with basic colors or a certain theme you want to try, like pastels. Marker sets will allow you to experiment when you're just beginning to learn. 


If you want a selection colors, look for larger sets with 24 or more markers. Some brands offer over 300 colors, so the possibilities are limitless. Professional illustrators and colorists may want to build a large collection of markers of various colors. Having more colors to choose from will allow you to blend colors easily.

4

Make Sure the Barrel Shape Is Comfortable

Make Sure the Barrel Shape Is Comfortable

You will want your hand to be comfortable when using the markers. You can choose between flat, triangular, hexagonal, or round barrels. Since you cannot try them out for yourself, consult reviewer comments to know how they feel when being used.


Flat, triangular, or hexagonal barrels are a good choice because they won't roll around on your workspace, and it will be easier to keep it neat and organized. Thicker markers can be easier to grip, but they will take up more room on your workspace. 

5

Look for Markers With a Case for Easy Storage

Look for Markers With a Case for Easy Storage

You want your markers to be properly organized and easily accessible. This is why you should consider buying markers that come in a durable case. Go for markers that come in plastic containers or zippered cases, which will keep them neat and make drawing easier.


A sturdy case also makes it easier to take your markers on the go. Having a case to organize your markers will keep your workspace neat wherever you want to illustrate. 

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10
Best Markers For Illustration Ranking

Here are the best Markers For Illustration, ranked according to 10 Best Markers for Illustration (as of 11-04-2022). The products are ranked independently by mybest.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Copic Marker

Basic Color Set

Copic Marker Basic Color Set 1枚目

Best Starter Set of Colors With Replaceable Nibs and Ink

2

Prismacolor

Premier Art Markers3620

Prismacolor Premier Art Markers 1枚目

Best Double-Tipped Markers for Beginners

3

Tombow

Dual Brush Pens Pastel56187

Tombow Dual Brush Pens Pastel 1枚目

Best for Soft-Hued Illustrations

4

Prismacolor

Premier Illustration Marker Set

Prismacolor  Premier Illustration Marker Set 1枚目

Best for Fine Details

5

Bianyo

Dual Tip Art Markers

Bianyo Dual Tip Art Markers 1枚目

Best for an Organized Workspace

6

Primrosia

Dual Tip Marker Pens

Primrosia Dual Tip Marker Pens 1枚目

Best for Watercolor Effects

7

Artify

Art Marker Set

Artify Art Marker Set 1枚目

Best for a Comfortable Grip

8

Ohuhu

Skin Tone Markers

Ohuhu Skin Tone Markers  1枚目

Best for Illustrating People

9

Art-n-Fly

Professional Brush Marker Set

Art-n-Fly Professional Brush Marker Set 1枚目

Best Copic Marker Dupes

10

Arteza

Everblend Art Markers

Arteza Everblend Art Markers 1枚目

Best Large Set With 120 Colors

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Copic MarkerBasic Color Set

Basic Color Set Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Basic Color Set Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Basic Color Set Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$48.49
Reference price
$48.49

Best Starter Set of Colors With Replaceable Nibs and Ink

Pros:
  • Oval barrel shape for easy handling 
  • Double-ended with brush and chisel tips
  • Nibs can be replaced 
  • Ink can be replenished once it runs out 
Cons:
  • Some buyers say the markers might leak 

This set of professional-quality markers from Copic contains 12 markers in standard colors. The markers are refillable and have replaceable nibs for the double-ended tips. They have alcohol-based ink that is fade-resistant, non-toxic, and acid-free. Additionally, they come in a clear plastic case to keep them organized.


A few reviews mention the markers can leak and create a mess. However, buyers love how easy the markers are to use. They say the tips make illustration a cinch and the colors are easy to blend. Many reviewers say these markers are their favorite, and they have been using them for years. 

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No.2

PrismacolorPremier Art Markers3620

Reference price
$46.61

Best Double-Tipped Markers for Beginners

Pros:

  • Double-ended with chisel and fine tips 
  • Single ink source gives consistent color 
  • Alcohol-based ink provides rich color 

Cons:

  • Some reviews state the caps are difficult to remove


This set is great for beginners because it has a set of 12 common colors. These markers have a fine tip on one end for precise details and a chisel tip for broader coverage and thicker lines. They are alcohol-based and vibrant, making it easy to blend colors.


A handful of reviewers find the markers challenging to open; they say the caps fit on the markers very tightly. Nevertheless, the majority of buyers love these markers and rave about the vivid colors. They also say the markers are very easy to blend. 

No.3

TombowDual Brush Pens Pastel56187

Reference price
$22.99

Best for Soft-Hued Illustrations

Pros:

  • Self-cleaning tips allow for limitless blending 
  • Double-ended with fine and brush tips 
  • Colorless blending pen included 

Cons:

  • A couple of reviewers assert their markers dried out quickly 

These dual-tipped markers from Tombow are water-based, making them versatile for blending. The set comes with nine pastel markers and a colorless blender pen. The markers are odorless, acid-free, and non-toxic. Each one has a brush tip and fine tip. The tips are self-cleaning, so you won't have to worry about mixing different colors!


A few reviews say some of the markers dried out too quickly. However, other reviews appreciate the elegant tips of these markers; they say they are useful for a variety of projects from illustration to calligraphy. They also mention how easy it is to blend the soft colors. 

No.4

Prismacolor Premier Illustration Marker Set

Reference price
$13.39

Best for Fine Details

Pros:

  • Fine tip allows for sharp detail 
  • Ink is acid-free, nontoxic, and water-resistant 
  • Great for outlines, line drawing or calligraphy 

Cons:

  • A handful of buyers say the ink runs out pretty quickly
  • Only darker colors, since light ones would hardly show in a thin line

This set of markers from Prismacolor is perfect for smaller details on illustrations. The eight markers come in a variety of dark and semi-dark colors and boast nontoxic and water-resistant ink.


Some reviewers say the ink tends to run out fairly quickly for these markers; they recommend them for detail work only. However, buyers love how fluid it feels to use these markers. They love the set not only for detail work on illustrations, but also calligraphy and writing

No.5

BianyoDual Tip Art Markers

Reference price
$32.99

Best for an Organized Workspace

Pros:

  • Double-ended with chisel and fine tips 
  • Canvas carrying bag keeps set organized 
  • Low-odor, smudge-proof, and nontoxic ink 

Cons:

  • A couple of buyers say the actual ink colors aren't close to their caps, and some are too similar

This set of markers is perfect for keeping your work area tidy. They feature a square barrel shape, so they won't roll around and are easy to hold. They also come with a canvas bag to keep them organized. The set comes with 71 fine- and chisel-tipped markers and one blending marker.


A handful of reviewers are disappointed with the variety of colors, saying many of the tones were similar. On the other hand, buyers appreciate the vibrant hue of the colors. They also point out how easy the colors are to blend. Many also mention this set is great for budding artists

No.6

PrimrosiaDual Tip Marker Pens

Dual Tip Marker Pens Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Dual Tip Marker Pens Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Dual Tip Marker Pens Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$29.99

Best for Watercolor Effects

Pros:

  • Comes with replacement nibs and tips 
  • Double-ended design with brush and fine tips
  • Ink remains blendable with water

Cons:

  • A few buyers note the color of the lid is not always an exact match to the ink

This set of water-based markers comes with a stunning variety of 60 colors. The double-ended markers feature fine and brush tips. You can draw with them, and then blend the marks with water for a more painterly effect.


Some reviews point out the color identified by the cap does not always match the color of the ink. However, buyers love how easy it is to blend the colors together with water. They also point out the beautiful case that can be used for storage and transportation. 

No.7

ArtifyArt Marker Set

Reference price
$29.99

Best for a Comfortable Grip

Pros:

  • Double-ended with fine and chisel tips 
  • Blending marker included 
  • Triangular barrel shape for comfort

Cons:

  • Some reviews point out the color of the cap does not always match the marker 

This brand prides itself on how easy and comfortable their markers are to use. This set of 48 alcohol-based markers features a double-ended design with chisel and fine tips. The chisel tip is pliable and great for effortless strokes. The triangular barrel shape ensures the markers will feel good when illustrating for long periods of time. 


A couple of buyers are frustrated because the color of the marker does not match the cap; they recommend trying a swatch of color on a page before use. Nevertheless, many reviewers love the variety in the large selection of colors. They also appreciate the blending marker used for combining the vibrant colors. 

No.8

OhuhuSkin Tone Markers

Reference price
$29.99

Best for Illustrating People

Pros:

  • Double-ended design with chisel and brush tips 
  • Includes a marker for blending 
  • Fast-drying and smudge-free ink 

Cons:

  • Some buyers said they dried up fairly quickly

This set of markers come with 24 skin tone colors and one blender. They're a great choice if you like to illustrate people as they contain a variety of tones for skin and hair. The markers each have a brush and chisel tip that will let you color in wide spaces and create precise details. They're alcohol-based, fast-drying, smudge-free, and blend well.


A few reviewers felt they dried out too fast, or the cap color didn't match the ink. Still, an overwhelming amount of reviewers absolutely love these markers. They are fantastic for portrait and fashion illustrations. Many also mention that the set is perfect for those who are just beginning to illustrate. 

No.9

Art-n-FlyProfessional Brush Marker Set

Reference price
$79.97

Best Copic Marker Dupes

Pros:

  • Comes with a blender marker 
  • Nibs are replaceable 
  • Ink can be replenished 
  • Double-ended with chisel and brush tips
  • Hexagonal shape for comfort and to prevent rolling
  • Stand in box keeps the markers organized

Cons:

  • A handful of reviewers say the color of the marker and the color shown on the cap do not match
  • A few wanted more variety in the browns and grays

You can count on this set of markers to last with 48 vibrant colors to choose from, replaceable nibs, and the option to purchase bottles of ink that can replenish your markers up to 15 times. Additionally, each marker has a brush and chisel tip so that you can illustrate with various styles. 


A few buyers are frustrated because the color of some markers is not an exact match to what is shown on the cap. However, many reviewers rave about the brush tips of these markers, saying they feel smooth to illustrate with and they are durable. Others also appreciate how easy the colors are to blend. 

No.10

ArtezaEverblend Art Markers

Reference price
$107.99

Best Large Set With 120 Colors

Pros:

  • Triangular barrel shape for comfortable grip 
  • Nibs can be replaced 
  • Double-ended with chisel and fine tips 
  • Great for beginners or seasoned artists

Cons:

  • A few buyers say the markers would dry out too quickly 

If you want a large variety of colors in your collection, get this set of 120 double-ended markers. Arteza's alcohol-based markers feature a fine and chisel tip. They have a triangular barrel for easier grip and more control. They also come with a lightweight and portable case that can store up to 144 markers.


A small number of reviewers are disappointed because the markers would dry out quicker than anticipated. However, buyers love the huge selection of colors from which to choose. They say the colors are easily blended. And reviewers assert this set is perfect for both newcomers and professionals

Susan's Recommended Illustration Markers

Susan's Recommended Illustration Markers
Source:amazon.com
Susan Lucier-Ogawa
Oil Painter and GlassblowerSusan Lucier-Ogawa

I love these markers, both the pens with medium to super-fine tips, and the brush ones like in this set. They also come in chisel and calligraphy tips. The India ink in them has excellent lightfastness, making them artist-quality and archival, they dry to be waterproof, and they have no odor.


I also love how they're available in shades of gray and sepia tones, so you can do monochromatic drawings. The brush tips come to a very fine point and are flexible enough to create natural, painterly strokes while being stiff enough that they can still be controlled.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to reviewing our buying guide, Susan has also answered some commonly asked questions about illustration markers.

How do I restore dried out markers?

Susan explains, "If you're trying to revive a dried out water-based marker, try running it under the tap. If that doesn't work, fill a bowl with warm water and float the marker in it until you see color coming out into the water. Then take it out and let it sit for about 15 minutes. You can then try writing with it.


If that didn't work, try soaking again, then wrapping the tip in plastic wrap and putting the cap on. Leave it that way for a few hours so the water can work its way into the felt inside. Sometimes standing it tip-side down will help, or wrapping the wetted tip in a paper towel, which may draw the ink out through osmosis.


For alcohol-based markers, you can try a similar method with rubbing alcohol, except you don't need a whole bowl of it. Just soak the tip in a small amount. You can also take the marker apart and add alcohol directly to the felt. This video shows how to do that with a double-tipped marker.


However, if we're talking about Copic markers, I would stick with official refills and not risk messing them up! This page explains the process and options available for these high-end tools."

What paper is best for markers?

"In general, you want to avoid paper that will allow bleed-through or feathering," Susan recommends. "Bleed-through is when the marker soaks through the sheet to the other side. It doesn't really matter unless it soaks the next page in your drawing pad, or your table! But it indicates you're wasting ink.


Feathering results from the fibers of the paper pulling ink away from the marker's stroke, and looks like a fuzzy line instead of a sharp one. To avoid it, look for papers that are made with surface sizing. Size is a material added to the paper to make it less absorbent. Bristol board (or cardstock), mixed media papers, and quality drawing papers are usually sized to some extent.


Coated marker paper is the obvious choice, and it's very smooth. However, it does have drawbacks. Too much layering can lead to streaks, and your strokes can take longer to dry, so you might smudge them. It's also very thin, which some people love, but others don't."

Stay Creative With These Materials!

In addition to markers, there are many different ways you can make art and express your creativity. Here are some products you can try.

Amazon's Best Selling Drawing Markers

If you'd like to read some user reviews or see what markers are popular for shoppers, check out Amazon's best selling drawing markers. 

In Collaboration With Artist Susan Lucier-Ogawa

Susan Lucier-Ogawa
Oil Painter and GlassblowerSusan Lucier-Ogawa

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Top 5 Markers For Illustration

No. 1: Copic MarkerBasic Color Set

No. 2: PrismacolorPremier Art Markers3620

No. 3: TombowDual Brush Pens Pastel56187

No. 4: Prismacolor Premier Illustration Marker Set

No. 5: BianyoDual Tip Art Markers

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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