Markers for Every Occasion: A Guide to Finding the Right Marker


With their versatility and ease of use, markers are the staple of every stationery toolkit: perfect for everything from quick sketches to detailed illustrations. However, with the current market spoiling us for choices, how do you even choose the right one? Let’s take a closer look at the different types of markers and what to consider when choosing the right one for your needs.

Types of Tips

There are two main types of tips among markers: firm plastic nibs and spongy felt tips. Firm plastic nibs are typically housed in a metal funnel and dispense ink evenly, providing sharp, clean lines that make them suitable for writing or detailed illustrations. While spongy, fibrous felt tips usually have a cone shape and lose their firmness over time, their shape is more versatile, allowing you to use the point of the tip to write finely or turn it on its side to shade or color.

Tip Sizes

Here’s something basic you may not have considered when buying a marker - tip size. While fine tips produce more precise lines, they can feel scratchier relative to broader tips. On the flip side, broad tips, while not quite effective in detailing, feel smoother and lay down bolder lines. It’s important to remember though that depending on the ink type and tip material, one brand's definition of a fine tip may not be the same as another's.

Types of Ink

Markers are available in different types of inks, including: 

  • Pigment-based ink: Known for their vibrancy and color quality, these markers work well on most surfaces and are largely bleed-resistant.
  • Water-based ink: These markers are easy to blend and perfect for creating watercolor effects. They're also easy to clean up and don't have a strong odor.
  • Alcohol-based ink: Alcohol-based ink markers are popular among illustrators and comic artists because they blend smoothly and dry quickly, in addition to their permanence and versatility. However, they tend to bleed through paper and may have a strong odor.
  • Oil-based ink: These markers are great for writing on non-porous surfaces, such as glass or metal, and thus make up what we know as CD marker pens or DVD markers. In addition, they're also permanent and don't fade easily. However, they tend to bleed through paper since they're meant to be used on other media.

Bleedthrough and Feathering

Bleedthrough is a common issue since markers cover a greater area and dispense more ink than other kinds of pens. This is especially true when you're using a marker pen for writing. However, aside from permanent and oil-based pens, many markers do not bleed through paper. Feathering is a serious concern when using markers because the ink flows more freely than in other pens. How much ink feathers depends on a combination of the ink formula and the paper used. To avoid feathering, use paper that is specifically designed for markers or has a smooth surface.

Water and Copic Resistance

Water and Copic resistance are important if you use your markers with other tools, such as water brushes or Copic pens (alcohol-based ink). An innocent swipe of a wet brush or Copic marker may result in a muddy mess if you're not careful. When working with water, make sure that the marker you're using is water-resistant or waterproof. Similarly, if you use alcohol-based inks, you need markers that are alcohol resistant. Such markers are specially formulated to work well with alcohol-based inks. Without this resistance, the ink may smudge or dissolve when in contact with the solvent in the alcohol-based ink.

Finding the right marker for your needs can be a daunting task. However, by considering the type of tip, ink, bleed-through, feathering, and water/alcohol resistance, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect one for your project. Remember to choose markers that work best for your specific needs, whether it's for drawing, writing, or coloring, and you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful works of art. If you’re looking for a one-stop solution for all your marker needs, however, check out Linc Limited’s wide range of meticulously-crafted markers on our e-store!