How to choose Best markers for illustration


Drawing markers. What kind to choose?

Today there is a large variety of alcohol markers, and it is very difficult for a beginner to decide on the choice. About what manufacturers of alcohol markers there are, what a marker consists of, as well as what you should pay attention to when choosing markers, we will tell in this article.

For someone, drawing markers are one set. And what’s inside the marker, what’s in it, what’s the name of the pen, what’s the variety of the whole palette – not really interested.

Despite the fact that there are a lot of producers and kinds of markers, the point is the same: to find the best marker for yourself in terms of quality. It should be suitable for technical problems, fit in your hand and inspire your masterpieces with its great palette of colors. How to find such a marker?

What does a drawing marker consist of?

A marker consists of a body, an inner part (similar to a dense sponge soaked in ink), and a pen tip (one, two, or even three). The most expensive part of the marker is the quills and ink. That’s the lion’s share of the price, and then there’s marketing and shipping with all the taxes.

What is worth paying attention to?

Good alcohol markers from different companies have to be “friendly” with each other: mix on paper, be of the same ink quality, and behavior under the same conditions. Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider when choosing alcohol markers for drawing.


The most working part of the marker is the tip. They come in a variety of shapes, but any nib, whether it’s a brush, chisel, or bullet, should not fracture or shred – failing quickly. Also, the nib should not be too soft (which leads to loss of control) or too stiff. The rattle of a stiff nib on paper wakes up demons from the farthest corners of the soul! And it is good if the manufacturer gives you the possibility to replace the nib, i.e. if you can buy a new replacement nib for your marker.


Refilling is a bottle of ink that we can pour into the marker ourselves, prolonging its life. Refillable markers can save a lot of money if you do a lot of drawing. Personally, I prefer to have the most popular colors from brands that have refills for their markers.

Color Palette of Drawing Markers

The larger the color palette, the more opportunities it gives for artistic ideas. However, since we all have our own preferences in our favorite shades and color nuances, I think it is important to pay attention and choose the colors of markers you need among all manufacturers, not being attached to one company. Sometimes you can get the shade you want by overlaying several others in a drawing, but you have to know very well all the possibilities of blending your palette to do that. Buying a ready-made one is easier, of course.

Interaction with other materials

I focus my attention on how the marker ink reacts with other materials, for example, a white gel pen. Does the marker ink react violently with the white gel pen? Won’t the marker smudge the sketch you drew on the paper? The materials you choose should always be tested before use. Altogether, you’ll know which marker best suits your needs.

markers for drawning

Manufacturers of Markers

COPIC drawing markers – the world leader

COPIC markers is a Japanese company with the largest color palette and several lines of models. The lines differ in the shape of the body, and the more expensive the marker, the larger its palette and ink volume.


  • About 350 colors in total
  • There is a branded refill for all shades
  • There are branded replacement pens
  • Got branded paper
  • The numbering does not rub off marker caps
  • Good stable producer, the world’s number one selling brand for a reason
  • There’s a special WIDE line with an extra-wide nib. Convenient for painting large planes and for calligraphy.


  • The price tag is noticeably more expensive than the competition.
  • It has a slight graininess. Most people do not pay attention to it.

Related Post: How to choose Copic Markers

The best markers for illustrations

Copic Markers Set

Copic Markers Set

ZIG (KURECOLOR) drawing markers

They are also Japanese. This factory also has several lines with different filling for different requests. There are markers with one nib, there are markers with the finest nib for fine detail and with a brush, there are markers with increased filling.

The ZIG Fine&brush for Manga has a nice abrasion-resistant brush (not as sharp as the Copic one though) and a comfortable thin bullet-shaped nib. Such a nib is perfect for those who like to draw small details.


  • There’s a branded refill.
  • Have branded replacement nibs.
  • A palette of 136 colors.


  • The chisel is unnecessarily stiff.
  • Several colors noticeably change their shade after drying when painting (but always predictable).
  • Not all models have a comfortable body.

Zig Kuretake Markers Set

Zig Kurecolor Markers

Promarker Drawing Markers

These markers were originally developed in England, and now they are produced in China. But it is worth noting that Winsor&Newton is a large European company, so the production, although Chinese, is of very high quality. Promarker markers are a good, decent product.


  • Of all the markers I’ve used, Winsor&Newton marker ink has the lowest grit and the best hiding dye. That is, an even fill is not difficult to do with them.
  • Two models, Pro (chisel + fine pen) and Brush (brush + chisel)
  • Shades! The Pro line has more shades – 148, and the Brush line has 72. Moreover, only the Brush line has 12 colors. In total, the total palette of colors in the Pro and Brush lines is 160 colors.


  • Low ink capacity.
  • No related products
  • The Brush line has a small palette.

Promarker Drawing Markers Set

Promarker Drawing Markers

Arteza Drawing Markers

Good markers for drawing. Convenient shape, different types of markers. Variety of colors.


  • Good selection of bright and pastel colors.
  • Low Price.
  • Carrying case.
  • Smooth ink.
  • Replacement markers are available.
  • Replacement inks and nibs.
  • Colors blend well.


  • The numbering system makes little sense.
  • Poor selection of gray and neutrals.

Arteza Drawing Markers Set

Arteza Drawing Markers

TOUCH drawing markers

What I see from the obvious pluses: all pens are very high quality, but as for me, a little dry brush (if you compare with the markers Copic). Have a good range of colors, comfortable body. Of the minuses: also erase from the cap numbers, but this is often the case with much active use.

TOUCH Drawing Markers

PRISMACOLOR Drawing Markers

Of the pluses: high-quality marker (pen-brush and bullet-shaped fine pen). The ink goes on smoothly. Of the minuses: while new, very hard to open.

Prismacolor Drawing Markers


In the end, I would like to add that all alcohol markers are not light fast. And it is not a good idea to frame your finished work. The art will change all shades rather quickly towards unpredictability.

And another particularly important point: it’s the coloring! They’re the only ones you need to be guided to understand where the real shade is. Don’t be guided by the marker cap. Absolutely all manufacturers have mistakes in matching the color of the cap to the actual color of the ink.


Additional Questions

What markers do illustrators use?

Illustrators often opt for alcohol-based, or “permanent”, markers. These offer a more refined blending experience compared to other types, enabling artists to form shades, tints, and even ombrés by layering different colors on top of each other. As someone who has worked in the illustration field for many years, I’ve found that these markers offer a level of control that’s perfect for detailed work.

What kind of markers do designers use?

A popular choice among designers is the Copic Alcohol Markers, particularly the Sketch Set of 12. What sets these markers apart is their permanent, quick-drying alcohol ink which applies exceptionally smoothly on paper. The set allows the flexibility of choosing between a brush tip and a chisel tip for different requirements. As someone who is frequently in the company of artists and designers suffering from migraines, I’d definitely vouch for these markers as they are practically scent-free, limiting the risk of triggering a headache.

What is the difference between fine tip and bullet tip markers?

The key difference between fine-tip and bullet-tip markers lies in their shape and size. Fine-tip markers edge towards a sharper point, while bullet-tip markers are slender with a more rounded tip. The latter are great for general writing and coloring within small areas, although their application isn’t as broad as the chisel tips. Coming from an individual who consistently works with these tools, it’s important to note that bullet tips are more voluminous than fine tips but not as large as chisel tips.

What are graphic illustration markers?

Graphic illustration markers are essentially dual-purpose tools tailored for those who love illustrating. These markers come equipped with double felt tips – one is a beveled tip, suitable for filling or writing, and the other is a fine point, perfect for drawing. An outstanding feature of these markers is their translucent alcohol-based ink which makes color-mixing a breeze. In my personal and professional journey as an artist, I have discovered the versatility of these markers, especially when it comes to blending colors to achieve the desired hues and shades.

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