best adult colouring pens

Adult Colouring Pens

Best Marker For Adult Colouring Books

Mar 2, 2021 | Traditional Illustration Materials UK

Adult colouring pens have been ingrained into every single part of my life. I have wanted to work in illustration ever since my High School days, a dream that I made happen when I attended Art College.

Upgrading from budget markers to good quality, professional artist pens when I graduated was a difficult transition that I had to make. There are so many different colouring markers out there, gel pens, alcohol based, the list is endless, all of which range dramatically in price.

While working for Hallmark Cards and later as a freelance illustrator, I got to use a lot of different coloring markers of various prices and types, so to say I have extensive experience would be an understatement.

This list is a culmination of all those years of experience. All of the markers I talk about are available on Amazon, so you’re not going to be a browser, shopping through the stock items and ads of an overpriced art supply store.

Disclaimer – This website contains affiliate links. If you find the information useful and click on a product link, a small commission will be earned by Big Red Illustration


Crayola SuperTip Washable Felt Tip Colouring Pens

Crayola is a staple name that we’re all familiar with. You’ve probably all used Crayola markers at some point in the past when cash was tight, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve been there, but that experience has taught me one important thing: Crayolas are really good.

Despite the lower than low budget price, Crayolas, while not the best markers for adult colouring, are a great budget option that can get the job done.

If you’re making a living off of your illustration, you’re going to want to get better, more expensive art markers. If you’re new to the industry or just a hobbyist, though, then these felt tip markers are a great starting point.

The 24 pack comes with a great range of shades that work relatively well. The colours aren’t too deep, and you can’t shade with them, but that’s to be expected.

You’re also not getting much in the way of specialty colours. There are no neons or anything like that. The set is also washable, so while that’s great for kids, it means that the ink does rub off easily.

All of that being said, there’s no reason not to get a set of these if you’re anything below an industry professional.


Pros and Cons


  • These markers cost less than £5 on Amazon, which is an absolute steal.
  • If you’ve got kids around the house, these markers wash off walls and clothes easily and are also non-toxic and acid-free.
  • You get a good range of colours that covers all the important bases.
  • The markers give you a good performance for the cost.
  • Crayola is a reliable brand that you can pick up from anywhere, whether Amazon, online ads or your local supermarket.


  • These markers aren’t going to cut it if you’re a professional.

STAEDTLER 334 Triplus Fineliner Superfine Point Pens,

STAEDTLER 334 Triplus Fineliners / Gel Pens

STAEDTLER is also a well recognizable member of the art supply industry. I know that I used this gel pen set for a large period of college thanks to the cost and quality of the art markers, so the brand holds a special place in my heart.

The 334 Triplus Fineliners are in general a more than adequate pen. They are also water-based rather than alcohol-based, meaning the ink washes out of clothes much easier. The trade-off is that the quality of the colours isn’t as impressive as a more expensive alternative.

STAEDTLER art markers are the next step up from Crayola. The water-based markers are phenomenal and good enough for your educational project work, but also are incredibly cheap. If you’re trying to get your career off the ground, start with this set.

The range of colours is mediocre, but you can always supplement that with other STAEDTLER sets.

The biggest drawback to these colouring pens is just how fine the tip is. This might be all well and good for more detailed-oriented work, but larger illustrations are going to be a nightmare. The colours are also fairly flat without any sort of vividity.


Pros and Cons


  • The pens are water-based, not alcohol based, so the ink washes out of clothes.
  • STAEDTLER is arguably the best brand for getting the most value for money. The adult markers overdeliver based on the cost.
  • STAEDTLER is also a brand that can be commonly found off of Amazon, but you might have to pay more for them if you buy them from a physical retailer.
  • The fine point pens are great for doing detail, but you can’t rely on them for the entire illustration.
  • STAEDTLER has a lot of variety, meaning you can get pen sets of various sizes and prices.


  • The colours of these fine point pens for adult artists don’t exactly pop.

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens

This is a somewhat noticeable step up from the prices of the last two artist pens. We haven’t gotten into the professional stuff quite yet, but we’ve pushed past the adult colouring book stage.

These markers are going to run you upwards of £10, which is a price point that’s just right for the quality of them. They aren’t the best colouring markers that I’ve ever seen, but the performance is adequate for that cost.

At the very least, these artist pens are better than the last two entries. In particular, how deep the dark colours and how light the bright colours are is very impressive. The shades have real meat behind them, which can create some beautifully vivid illustrations.

The felt tips aren’t exactly fine point, but they are great for bold and dynamic line work. If you combine these markers with another set designed for fine lining, then you’re going to cover most of your bases.

Another thing that I want to point out is that these don’t bleed. Most budget pens for adult artists are going to smear and bleed into the other side of your page, but these don’t at all. The ink is quick-drying, so there’s no time for any issues to arise.

Pros and Cons


  • The lines that you get with these brush pens are bold and full of colour.
  • The colours that the markers deliver are diverse and look great.
  • You’re not going to get any bleed with these colouring markers.
  • These colouring markers deliver a quality that would be expected at this price point.
  • You get a decent variety of colours with this brush pen set. The shades aren’t overly diverse, but there is a lot of coverage.


  • If you’re looking at pure value for money, there are brush pens out there that cover all the main features but are far more competitive regarding the price tag this one has.

STABILO Fineliner

I don’t like STABILO Fineliners, but a lot of my associates do, so I’m including it on the list.

I find that the tips just don’t do the job for me. I would like for a more dynamic felt tip as opposed to the static design that the brand currently uses. It’s like illustrating with pencils, which isn’t a bad thing; it’s just not for me.

If you are a fan of intricate line work, then these are better than a lot of other options out there. The set is smudge-proof, which is very important for detailing.

Given the niche that these pens are designed for, you’re not getting much pop with your colours. The ink is dull, which is very noticeable if you’re using it on large areas of a page.

The cost of these makes them great school supplies a well as a fun way to spruce up your colouring pages, but not so much for professional work. They are a budget version of the type of fineliners that professional colourists use, and the difference in quality is noticeable.


Pros and Cons


  • These anti-bleed markers are great for detailing.
  • The cost that you pay for these adult markers is great, especially from Amazon.
  • STABILO is an established brand with a great variety of colours.
  • These are great for bringing some more quality to your adult colouring books.
  • If you’re looking for an addition to your pencil case for art class, these are a safe bet.


  • Based on your art style, these fine tip markers might be completely useless.

Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers Pack of 100,

Crayola Super Tip Washables Box of 100

I’ve already talked about how these are some of the best markers for adult colouring if you’re on a budget, but I want to throw in an extra spot for the box of 100 markers.

Now, these aren’t the best markers, but the quality and the fact that you’re getting 100 felt tip markers for less than £25 is insane. If you’re looking for a single set to get yourself up and running, then this is your best choice.

All of the performance-related stats of the markers are the same as before. However, you have much more variety in what colours you have, making it a great option if you’re looking for markers for adult colouring books.

You can pick up this set on Amazon for dirt cheap right now, making it easily the most convenient set of this best markers list.


Pros and Cons


  • You get 100 marker pens for less than £25.
  • The variety makes this set great for adult colouring books.
  • Even if you’re not using them for colouring books, the price and quality of these markers make them great for artists on a budget.
  • Being washable is still as great as ever if you have kids that might get their hands on them.
  • Being acid-free and non-toxic means that not only are these pens washable, but if your child decides to chomp on them, there isn’t going to be any damage past a bad taste in the mouth.


  • These do not blend well at all and also bleed. If you’re looking at something like that, you’re going to need to up your budget for a blender pen set.

iBayam Journal Planner Pens

These are more ultra-fine liners, although I prefer these over STABILO. While I’m still more of a Sharpies and permanent markers kind of guy, these are good quality and don’t break the bank.

I use these for my bullet journal, which is the extent of my usage for liners that are this thin. That being said, I’d argue that these deliver a better performance than STABILO at the same Amazon price, so I have to include them.

I prefer these simply because the colours are more vivid. The page isn’t as dull and lifeless when I use these in my colouring books as the handful of times I’ve tried out STABILO, and the water-based ink doesn’t bleed too heavily. Everything else, including usage, is more or less the same, but these are the best markers if you’re looking to detail your colouring book on a tight budget.


Pros and Cons


  • These are great for adult coloring books when you want to put some effort into the pictures.
  • You can get these for a very affordable cost from Amazon.
  • These deliver much better color quality than a lot of liners at this price point.
  • These aren’t as comfortable to use as the best markers on the market, but they do feel nicer to use than STABILOs.
  • The ink is water-based, meaning you get very little bleed through, although it’s still there on thin paper.


  • This still falls short of being considered among the best markers for detailed-oriented work.

ARTEZA Real Brush Pens

Now, we’re talking. I adore these brush tip pens. They aren’t too expensive by any means, but the performance that these give is stellar. I would argue that these are the best markers for any up-and-coming illustrator, as well as being a great choice for adult colouring books when you want to take it to the next level.

These pens can be used with or without water depending on whether or not you want watercolours, which is something that you aren’t going to see many markers at this price deliver.

The fact that you also get 48 in a pack is amazing. I would gladly pay the same cost for 12 of these brush tip markers; that’s how good they are.

The colour range is incredible and vibrant. The uses that the set offers you covers pretty much every kind of illustration you’re ever going to want to do.

The brush tip on each pen is flexible and gives you an extreme amount of precision and control over your lines. These are premium markers for a cost that makes me wonder how the company turns a profit.


Pros and Cons

  • These are my favorite markers for both illustration work and for my adult colouring books.
  • The water-based colours (not alcohol based) that you get with the markers match up with the industry leaders like Faber Castell.
  • These are great as a blender pen option. You can create some stunning pieces with them.
  • You get a lot of control out of these adult colouring book markers thanks to the flexible felt brush tip design.
  • These aren’t nearly as expensive as they honestly should be.


  • It’s hard to think of any, but I suppose the pen design could be a bit more comfortable to hold.

STABILO Premium Felt Tip Pen

These are a better and more versatile version of the STABILO products that we talked about earlier, and I actually like these ones.

These are moderately priced markers that might not be the best option if you’re looking for colouring bookmarkers. However, there’s nothing wrong with using them for that purpose.

The colours are vibrant and, more importantly, great for blending. I love messing around with this set when I’m going for some psychedelic effects.

The ink is water-based, not alcohol-based, making the ink washable.

This STABILO set, for me, is a Jack of all Trades and a master of none. You can use them comfortably for colouring books, illustration, or design, but there are better options out there for each of these categories.


Pros and Cons


  • You get a lot of usage out of these pens.
  • The brush tip design doesn’t dry out in under 24 hours of exposure.
  • These water-based markers are a decent choice if you have a colouring book.
  • This set is readily available to order on Amazon, but not so much from any physical stock retailers.
  • You get 50 markers in the set, making it a good value for money.


  • The set doesn’t really excel in any particular areas.

Dual Tip Brush Pens, Funnasting 72-Colors Brush Fineliner Pens

Funnasting Dual Tips

This set, as well as the brand, are sleeper picks. I don’t see as many people talking about it as I should, because the products that it produces are great.

These dual tips have fineliner pens, as well as brush tip ends, meaning you don’t have to buy more than one set.

Not only that, but you get 72 different colours for less than £25. You wouldn’t get five Copic markers for that cost, granted these aren’t quite ‘that’ good.

On one side, you get a felt brush pen that is great for colouring books as well as more professional work. On the other side, you get a fine liner that, while not as good as dedicated liner markers, gets the job done decently.

One drawback of these markers that I have to point out is the quality of the colouring. The shades are far from being vibrant, which is a shame but justifiable given the price tag.


Pros and Cons


  • The fact that you get 72 different colours is incredible for the cost.
  • Funnasting is a lesser-known brand, meaning the price isn’t as high as some of the other big players.
  • Dual tip markers mean that you get the best of both worlds in one set.
  • If you’re a fan of colouring books, this set is all you’re ever going to need to order.
  • Amazon tends to keep a steady supply of these available.


  • The colouring quality isn’t too spectacular.

10a-EddinColourpen Fine Bullet Tip Pack of 40

Edding Colour Pen Fine Bullet Tip

These markers are not for professional colouring. However, as a set for colouring books, it does the job.

I say that because the coverage that the markers give you isn’t good, to be frank. Even though the set comes with 40 different colouring shades, I’ve never found much use for them.

This is an entry that is very much for the casual artist. You’re not going to get much done trying to use these markers in a professional setting. That’s not to say that you have to use Faber Castell, Copic markers, or other expensive alcohol markers, but these just don’t cut it.

The fine tip is alright for line work, but it’s not very bold and doesn’t offer an extreme amount of control.

Again, though, it’s a perfectly adequate set for colouring books.


Pros and Cons


  • If you like your colouring books, this is a decent set of markers.
  • Value for money is decent but not the best on this list.
  • The markers do have a unique, faded colour design that can work very well with specific art styles.
  • The pen is water-based,not alcohol based which is always good as you might need to wash it out.
  • This set comes with 40 pens, which gives you good colour variety.


  • These markers aren’t anything special. They get the job done, but in my opinion there are better options out there.


adult coloring pens

What to Look for When Buying Marker Pens for Adult Colouring Books

You might not like the markers and pens that I’ve picked out, and that’s fine. If your opinion differs from mine, then you’re going to want to have a read of the next section. Rather than telling you my favorite markers, I’m going to tell you what I look for when I’m shopping for colour markers.

Number of Colours

This is the most obvious thing that people should be keeping an eye on. The more colours you get, the better the value for money. You don’t want to be colouring in something only to realize you don’t have the right shade.

Generally speaking, more expensive markers like Sharpies come in smaller sets, so consider that compromise before you buy. On one side, the colours that the markers deliver are better and more vibrant, but there are fewer of them.

Vibrancy of Colours

Speaking of the quality of the colours, this is the category in which champions are made. Less expensive markers are going to use cheaper and dilated ink, meaning you’re getting diluted colours on your page. If you want shades that pop, you need to go with more expensive markers.

You can gauge the vibrancy of a marker’s colours by testing it or looking at a picture demonstration. If you’re not happy with it, then keep shopping.

Type and Quality of Tips

Brush tips, felt tips, flexible tips, liner tips, and more. There are a ton of these in the colouring world, and navigating them can be a bit intimidating.

If you’re just a hobbyist looking for some markers, don’t get too worked up about the tips. This is more so something for professionals to focus on.

Instead, just make sure you know what you’re buying the markers for. If you want to do linework and details, then you want a fine tip. For larger colouring, then a brush tip should be what you’re going to order.

Ink Consistency and Longevity

When you’re colouring, the consistency of your ink makes all the difference. You don’t want bumpy or damp lines that bleed into the page. You want it to be smooth and maintain consistent colour across the board.

There is no way to really tell how good the ink of a marker is without colouring with it, so this is more trial and error and reading customer testimonials.

The longevity of the ink shouldn’t matter too much if you look after your markers, but it can make an impact if you’re worried about the lifespan of your set.

Design of the Pen

This isn’t something that most people need to pay attention to, but if you’re colouring for hours at a time, it becomes vital.

Pens aren’t comfortable to hold. It’s just a fact. However, some of us have to hold our pens for up to 10 hours every day. If this is a situation you’re in, then look for a pen that has an ergonomic design created to prevent cramping and hand fatigue.


Nobody likes talking about the cost of things, but it’s something that I have to cover. Colouring pens can get seriously expensive, but you can also get sets that are great and cheap.

If you’re doing this for fun, you don’t need a set that’s over £40. As a professional, you’re going to need higher-quality and more specific pens, but that’s individual to the artist.

User Friendliness

What I mean when I say user-friendliness in relation to pens is how easy it is to use. Expensive pens and brush markers require more skill and technique to use but offers a much better and more versatile experience. Things like Pitt Pens from Faber Castell somewhat fall into this category.

On the other hand, brands like Bic are fairly universal in usage. If you’re buying pens as a gift, consider the skill of the receiver. Look at the reviews and determine who the marker is made for. Don’t get Pitt Pens for a five-year-old, and don’t get Crayola for an industry veteran.

Other Important Factors to Consider

These are factors that you want to look for in reviews that are more contextual than universal but are important, particularly if you’re getting a marker set as a gift for someone.

What is a Marker for Adult Colouring Books and How Do They Work?

A marker for an adult colouring book is a pen specifically designed for colouring on that kind of paper. Ideally, these kinds of makers have vivid colours and don’t bleed.

These markers work just like any other kind of marker. You pull the cap off and get to work! There’s no complication involved.

Who is This for?

If you or someone you know likes using adult colouring books to pass the time, then a marker set is a perfect gift.

What are the Different Types of Colouring Book Markers?

  • Brush markers.
  • Dual tip markers.
  • Gel pens.
  • Watercolour markers.
  • Alcohol based markers

Why do You Need Good Markers for Colouring?

A good marker directly impacts your colouring. If you have cheap and poor quality markers, not only are your pictures not going to turn out as well, but the ink might bleed through and ruin the other pages.


What are the Best Colouring Pens for Adults?

Based on reviews, there are a handful of brands that have built up a solid reputation for themselves. Brans like Copic, Sharpie, and STAEDTLER is essentially quality guarantees.

How Do I Use Colouring Book Markers?

While there are a variety of marker techniques, you can learn, using them is as simple as any other kind of colouring.

Where Can I Buy Colouring Book Markers?

You can order colouring book marker sets from Amazon as well as any art supply store.

What is the Warranty for Colouring Marker Sets?

The warranty you get ranges from set to set. More expensive markers have longer warranties.

How Do I Care for and Clean My Markers?

The most important thing you can do for your markers is make sure you don’t leave them exposed to the air. Otherwise, let us assume the ink is going to dry up.

If you’re looking to clean your marker, check if the set is water-friendly. If it is, let us use that to get rid of any dirt or grime that has built up.

Conclusion – So, What are the Best Pens for Colouring?

That’s all I’ve got for these reviews. I hope that you’ve been able to take something of use out of them. Check out the links I’ve included to order any of these sets on Amazon, as well as the other articles on our site.

Alchohol-based markers and water-based markers range in quality and cost, so don’t be afraid to shop within your own budget. These are only my recommendations, but what you need ultimately comes down to you.


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Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adam's wealth of knowledge and experience enables him to consult and advise artists and illustrators all over the world.