Best Alcohol-Based Markers.
As a seasoned illustrator for Hallmark Cards for many years (before moving to become a freelance creative), I’ve had the opportunity to try out many art materials over hundreds of projects.
This in turn has allowed me to share my thoughts and recommendations based on my findings. Today’s review… alcohol-based markers…
With today’s state of marker technology and the sheer number of alcohol-based markers on the market, it can be tough for a new artist to wade through all the options available.
From the highest quality alcohol markers to cheap alcohol-based markers, there are so many brands and types to choose from that finding that perfect alcohol marker is not as easy as it may seem.
To help out, I’ve gathered together some of my favorite alcohol-based markers and put them to the test.
It may not be the biggest marker test ever, but it’s one of the most comprehensive due to its size. I’ve tried to cover as broad a range as possible in order to offer some suggestions for people just getting into art with such a marker set, seasoned veterans looking for something different, and everyone in between.
Disclaimer – This website contains affiliate links. If you find the information useful and click on a product link and make a purchase, a small commission will be earned by Big Red Illustration
01) Caliart Dual Tip Artist Alcohol Based Markers
121 Color Alcohol Based Markers, Dual Tip, Permanent Alcohol Based Markers with Case for Adult Kids, Coloring Drawing, Sketching, Card Making, Illustration
About this item
- Fine bullet point tip and broad chisel double tip, alcohol-based markers. For fluid thin lines, sweeping, details, calligraphic strokes, or use the broad chisel tip for rapidly coloring in large areas. Line Size 0.7 – 07mm.
- Free blending marker with every set. Perfect for adult and children’s coloring books, sketching, illustration, drawing, calligraphy lettering for beginners to advanced learners, highlighting, underlining, card making, architectural design (renders), landscape painting and other comic arts.
- These alcohol markers make it simple to make a wide range of bright colors and different types of shading without using paintbrushes or complicated mixing techniques. It also includes advanced features like color mixing and blending that are easy for novices, yet capable for professionals.
- Alcohol Ink Markers. The highly pigmented and vibrant brush pen tip markers are designed to last without smearing. On most surfaces, including even a smooth surface, the ink is smudge-proof and waterproof, making them ideal for paper, ceramics, plastic, and a variety of other materials. No fading.
- As they are Alcohol Based Markers, like all other brand alcohol-based markers, they will bleed through normal coloring paper, so thicker paper is recommended.
- Bonus Case: The color-coded caps and a free bonus case make it easy to keep track of which colors you have. Working with these brush markers is simple for extended periods of time due to the ergonomic design.
- This is a fantastic present idea for Christmas, Thanksgiving, art educators, school pupils, family members, and friends (carrying case included).
When I first received these alcohol-based markers, I was impressed with how durable they seemed.
They’re not the cheapest on the market but they are certainly dynamic. The colors are so vibrant and they blend beautifully.
The range of colors included is also excellent, so no matter what you’re painting, chances are, there’s a color for it. One of my favorite features is that you can use them on most surfaces without any problems.
They’re simple to use and combine, and I’ve used both sides of all the markers at the tip, none are dry, and all of the tips whether for thick or thin lines were in excellent condition.
I’m very happy with these markers and I’d recommend them to anyone who wants to take their alcohol marker art work to the next level.
02) Ohuhu Alcohol Art Markers Set
216-color Double Tipped Brush & Chisel Sketch Marker, Alcohol-based Brush Markers, Comes with 1 Blender for Sketching, Adult Coloring, and Illustration – Honolulu Series
About this item
- WIDE-ANGLE BRUSH & CHISEL, DUAL TIPS, DOUBLE THE FUN: Expand your creative horizons with the double-tip marker’s design! Great ink flow for sweeping strokes or swiftly coloring in with thicker lines or large areas (use the broad chisel tip). The only restriction is your own creativity.
- EASY PAINTING, NO SMUDGING: Blotchy, uneven coloration will no longer be an issue. Even for novices, high-quality ink mixes effortlessly to create amazing coloring effects. Additionally, your artwork will not fade or smear with time.
- OVER 200 COLORS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS – Choose from 216 distinct hues and bring your ideas to life with one of our colorless blenders. Your artwork is certain to gleam with these brush markers, whether it’s a coloring book or a work of art in progress
- Dries INSTANTLY and IS CONTAINED IN ALCOHOL-BASED INK: Never let damp ink ruin your artwork again! Thanks to its fast-drying, alcohol-based composition, you can draw without leaving marks.
- FIND COLORS QUICKLY: Don’t waste time looking for the correct color. Color-coded caps keep tips from drying out and allow you to find any marker in a hurry. The free carrying case keeps your markers organized and lightweight, making it easy to take them with you on any coloring adventure!
- Superb Gift Idea!
This is a huge set of pens and will almost certainly guarantee you can find the right color at the right time and I would definitely recommend this set of markers to someone looking for a new set.
They are large, have great ink quality and come with 216 colors that are vibrant and beautiful, making them perfect for all kinds of art projects.
There are 120 colors + 48 pastel colors + 48 mid-tone colours in this set which is very convenient when it comes time to find the right color.
The markers have a dual-tip design which is perfect for thick and thin lines, so double the fun when I need to use the brush or chisel tip.
This is a huge set which comes with a carrying case bag so the markers don’t get lost and it makes them easy to transport too so they’re there when you need them. I love how this set has colour-coded caps so you can find any marker in no time at all and it makes everything fast and easy.
The price of these markers is very reasonable too for the amount of kit you receive.
03) Copic Markers 36-Piece Sketch Basic Set
About this item
- Replaceable tips for complete versatility (dual tips)
- Compatible with the Copic Airbrush System
- Refillable markers, that create incredible ink flow. Replaceable nibs are available and the Copic airbrush system is supported.
- An alcohol-based marker set, which is packaged in a transparent plastic box, makes an excellent gift or addition to a marker collection
Now we’re talking…the Copic marker is quite simply the best – the king of the marker brands and used by almost all professional artists. I know there’s a lot of talk out there about how expensive they can be but if you look at them as an investment alcohol-based marker set you’ll never look back.
Copic is one of the most highly regarded alcohol-based markers on the market. Copic markers, which are made for and widely used in Japan’s manga business, are fantastic for a wide range of art, design, illustration, and crafting applications.
You only need to make one purchase of a Copic marker because it is durable, refillable, and good for several lifetimes.
The Copic marker is the most frequently used marker brand in Japan’s manga industry. Their amazing color range is unmatched by any other marker brand, and they are refillable so you will never need to buy another marker again.
A marker is yours for life once you buy it. Simply refill the marker with its branded alcohol-based ink and replace damaged nibs, and your marker will endure a lifetime.
Some artists I actually know have been using their original markers for over 15 years.
But it’s not just how durable they are, they also have the best quality super brush nibs around. The Super Brush is a flexible brush with a paint-like application that allows for smooth mixtures and painting, with perfect ink flow. The Super Brush nib is the only marker on the market with this level of quality and feels like this brush.
If you weren’t sure before, let me clarify…I really, really, really like Copic markers. They really are the best alcohol markers. (but just to be fair, I need to state ‘there are other alcohol-based markers available’).
04) Bianyo Alcohol-Based Dual Tip Art Markers
Classic Series Set of 72, Travel Case with a Designable Card
About this item
- The Bianyo CLASSIC SERIES MARKERS are available in a number of bright colors, and they come with a form-fitting black zip-up case with a holder that is ideal for storage while traveling.
- PENS WITH DUAL TIPPING: Broad and fine tips give you a wide range of line styles. At the broadest part, the large tip creates lines that are approx. 6-7 mm broad. The tiny tip creates lines that are between 1 and 2 millimeters broad.
- VIVID COLORS: The highly pigmented and vibrant colours are designed to endure against fading. Ideal for Japanese caricature, anime pictures, fashion design, coloring and drawing
- MARKERS DON’T SKIP: The ink dries quickly and doesn’t smear.
- VALUE: A fantastic present for any artist and the carry bag is very steady when used.
I only came across this set of Bianyo markers accidentally whilst searching on Amazon for other markers but after reviewing them, decided to give them a try.
They actually arrived before they were supposed to, so I had them the next day! They are made of sturdy plastic and have a bright, colorful design that is very convenient to use and to say I was happy with my purchase may be a slight understatement considering they weren’t even on my list the previous day.
They are more professional than most other markers I’ve bought and tried; very similar to Copic Markers but at a more affordable price. Highly recommended.
05) Shuttle Art, 61 Color Dual Tip Art Markers
60 Colors plus 1 Blender Permanent Marker Pens Highlighters with Case Perfect for Illustration Adult Coloring Sketching and Card Making
About this item
- 1 Storage Case, 1 Blender, and 60 COLORS + 1 Colorless Blender: Shuttle Art Dual Tip Permanent Marker includes 60 vibrant color markers that don’t fade with time, a storage case, and a colorless blender. The black zippered bag is ideal for keeping things organized as well as traveling.
- DUAL TIP: The Shuttle Art markers have a 4mm broad tip for rapid coverage and a 1mm pointed bullet tip for finer details. These markers are designed to work continuously for 300 meters, giving you a lot of ink with each pen.
- The Shuttle Art Dual Tip Markers are wonderful for blending and layering because they don’t leave streaks or dry quickly. By layering one distinct color on top of another, you may create an infinite variety of colors. The barrel is circular in shape, making it easy to place on and take off. On smooth surfaces, the ridges on the top prevent the markers from rolling off.
- CAUTION: The marker set is non-toxic and acid-free, so it’s safe for children and students. In order to avoid the ink bleeding while writing, do not press the tip against the paper for an extended period of time. The tip should not remain in place on the paper for a lengthy time in order to prevent ink bleeding
I’ve purchased a number of Shuttle Art items in the past and every time, the quality has been fantastic. The range of colors in this set is excellent and there is little to no bleeding.
The main positive for these markers though is that even as a thin alcohol-based marker they were still amazing!
A great set of markers at an extremely reasonable price.
06) Artify Brush Chisel Markers
Dual Tipped Professional Artist Markers, Drawing Marker Set with Carrying Case for Adult Coloring and Other Drawing Media for Beginner or Experienced Artists
About this item
- 80 DIFFERENT COLORS WITH A UNIQUE WHITE COLOR INCLUDED: Offering all primary hues for artists to paint, write, sketch, illustrate, shade, design, render, and so on. Our distinctive white color may be mixed with darker colors to create your own unique colors! Innovative!
- EASY GRIP: The triangle design of the marker pen’s handle makes it simple to hold.
- DUAL TIPS: Artists may use broad or the fine point tip to produce a variety of styles, sketches, and patterns with minimal effort thanks to the accurate line control. Fantastic rendering markers with excellent color mixing, adaptability, and versatility
- The Artify artist alcohol-based ink is designed to produce very fluid, smooth, and unbroken lines.
- The black carrying case makes traveling and storing more convenient.
A great set of markers from Artify. The ink is released in a streamline manner, regardless of how quickly or slowly you’re sketching and its uniformed delivery and consistent ink flow ensures that it can be applied without fading or smearing.
All the markers have the double-sided fiber tips which are really good quality. The broad tip is great for filling in large areas and mixing colors together. The fine tip is ideal for small detailing and precise lines.
Each marker pen has a long life and never branches or frays when used as intended.
Available in 80 different colors, including white, the artify artist alcohol-based hues are perfect for a wide range of applications. There’s a lot of variety in these 80 color options, all of which are distinct from one another.
To make your own distinctive hues, you can experiment by combining the white with the other tones.
The high pigmentated, colored alcohol-based markers are used to help you create greater depth and clarity and the cap’s perforated dots allow it to be removed with ease.
A very nice set of markers and at a very reasonable price. This could be an ideal present for you, your best friend, or any budding or professional artist – and nicely presented in their carrying case.
07) Prismacolor 3722 Premier Double-Ended Art Markers,
Fine and Chisel Tip, 72-Count
About this item
- Both fine and chisel tips are included for each marker in this set.
- Superior color depth and blendability can be achieved by using advanced ink formulations.
- The sharp point establishes crisp lines, while the chisel tip produces a variety of line widths.
- Only one source of ink ensures color consistency at both ends.
- 72 bright, vibrant colors
Fine and Chisel Tips for Advanced Line Width Control With a fine tip on one end and a smooth chisel on the other (allowing for both thick and thin lines), these double-ended, high-quality markers are extremely adaptable. This clever design allows you to swiftly and simply transition between detailed work and complete coverage.
Prismacolor Art Markers are available in a wide range of brilliant colors. The higher-quality alcohol, dye-based ink is excellent for realistically saturated colors and better blending.
The bright ink is also designed to flow smoothly and easily. Furthermore, each marker has only one reservoir of ink, ensuring color consistency at both ends.
Prismacolor professional-quality art and drawing supplies are excellent for filling in tiny details with just the right color, whether you’re an art student, a hobbyist, or a seasoned designer.
Having already mentioned Copics, I bought the Prisma to supplement them when needed to color a larger area.
Prismas are perfect for this simply because they are just that bit cheaper to use. They’re not quite as good as Copics, but they’re comparable. If you want a cheaper alternative, I recommend getting these instead of Copics especially if they are on sale.
I still endorse the Copics above these even if the difference is just a few dollars.
08) Copic Ciao 12 Piece Marker Set
Skin Tone Alcohol Based Markers
About this item
- Perfect for character design, cartoons, sketches, layouts, backgrounds and more
- The Ciao Marker Set are refillable markers and the nibs are replaceable too, so they’re a great choice for students as these pens will last a lifetime.
- Ideal for kids, amateurs, and manga artists.
- COPIC MARKER SET INCLUDES 12 x Ciao Markers (E00, E04, E11, E21, E35, E37, R02, R20, R32)
- PREMIUM – Copic is the highest quality, recognised alcohol marker brands used by professional artists today
NOT ALL ALCOHOL MARKERS ARE EQUAL!
And now back to some seriously good kit. Yes, it’s my faithful go-to Copics. This time I’m recommending the skin tone pack. This pack only contains a few colors but it’s a must-have for any illustrator wanting to use markers for character work.
Copics are simply the best alcohol marker for all anime illustration work and the industry leader by a clear mile.
The good thing about this pack though is Copic Ciao are the inexpensive marker for beginners, students and hobby artists.
Equipped with a medium broad and a super brush tip nib, they can of course be used for any colouring purpose. The colours can be mixed on the surface or layered on top of each other. Ciao markers are alcohol-based and therefore non-toxic. They are also fast drying and don’t smear.
The colored caps allow for fast and accurate color identification and are the highest quality available in the world today. Their refillable alcohol markers and pens include replaceable nibs to ensure that they will work for a lifetime.
And just one thing to add in case you weren’t aware, Copic inks are consistently identical from batch to batch so you’ll never have an issue between refills and continuing with an ongoing piece of illustration work.
09) Arteza Alcohol Art Markers
Set of 120 Colors, Alcohol Based, Arteza Everblend Art Markers, Dual Tips (Fine and Broad Chisel). Includes Organizer Case with 144 Slots
About this item
- Highly Pigmentated Marker Set – The 120 rich, alcohol-based art markers in this set include vibrant colors and a transparent colorless blender marker for shading and layering, as well as freestyling and blending.
- The bright color of the design stands out against a variety of surfaces, including paper, glass, wood, and plastic. Ideal for anime, architectural drawing, cartooning, fashion illustration, and manga.
- Double-ended – The fine tip on each double-ended tool is for intricate work, while the chisel tip is for broader, thicker lines.
Similar to a Copic marker set but the big difference is the Arteza markers don’t have the brush style nib on the one end. I don’t find it an issue though as the price is much less but if this a game-changer then maybe not the pen for you.
I still rate them as good markers regardless.
These markers are wonderful and are great for beginners, however, there are some cons (other than having no brush tip) and that is they don’t have any real skin tones or transition colors.
All in all though, extremely easy to use, have incredibly vibrant colors and they do produce amazing blending results.
10) AspireColor Alcohol Based Markers Set
80 Colors Dual Tip Sketch Markers for Adults and Kids. Bonus Fineliner Pen, Transparent Blender, Carry Case Included – Alcohol Based Artist Markers for Drawing Coloring
About this item
- Unrivaled Color Options: With 80 vibrant, distinct colors (including skin tones and pastels), you can bring your work to life with AspireColor Alcohol-Based Markers’ (no duplicates or similar colors that are essentially useless). Whether you’re sketching or getting cozy with a coloring book, AspireColor Alcohol Based Markers gives you every option.
- AspireColor Alcohol Based Markers have high ink volume and an innovative cap design that prevents your marker sets from drying out.
- Find the Right Color Quick: With color-coded caps that match the ink color, art markers printed with the color name and number (and won’t smear off), and a printable color chart to sample your artist markers, you’ll never waste time looking for the right shade with these markers.
- Bonus Items: Create the finest detail with your bonus 0.4mm fine liner pen, which customers describe as “extremely fine.” Make a minor error? The transparent blender dual-tip marker removes unwanted ink; Organize your drawing pens for artists by storing them in our high-quality reinforced carry case.
So what did I think of the AspireColor alcohol marker set – first, you have a ton of colors to choose from so you can color anything from a dusk sky to a neon green grotto (all of which are nicely color coded).
The markers also have tons of skin tones so whether you’re drawing a portrait or coloring an alien landscape, you can accurate skin tones with the right shades.
In addition to all the cool colors, these markers blend other colors together very well. This makes it easy for beginners to create professional-looking pieces at first try and that is always a good thing.
The AspireColor Alcohol-Based Markers are very impressive and of high quality. Each color is vibrant and pigmented, even on inexpensive paper so it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting ink.
They effortlessly blend together for some truly stunning effects and the included blending sticks elevate the experience to a whole other level.
If you’re looking to take your sketching game up a few notches, this is definitely the set of markers you need.
So, in conclusion, I can safely say you can never go wrong with a set of Copics (you didn’t see that coming lol) but if money is the deciding factor then perhaps you need to shop around for something more in budget. I’d always go quality over quantity but everyone has their own deciding factors.
With that said, at the end of the day, the use of alcohol-based markers is a very enjoyable thing and the colors that you can get from most alcohol markers are in general extremely nice.
If you’re looking to take your skills to the next level then certainly go for Copics, you’ll grow with them over the years and as you gain experience you’ll be able to fully utilise their potential.
If it is that you’re simply just after a quality alcohol-based marker for part-time hobby interests then I’m sure some of the other marker brands (cheaper alternatives / cheap alcohol-based markers) I’ve discussed will be more than suitable too for creating your alcohol-based art.
Each artist will have their own opinion so get a set ordered today and give them a try – it’s the only true way to find what suits you best.
What is an alcohol-based marker?
Alcohol-based markers are a type of non-toxic, acid-free ink that uses water as a solvent. The alcohol is evaporated during the drying process, which allows for very smooth blending with little color-bleeding or feathering.
Alcohol-based markers have been used in the illustration and design fields since their inception because of these unique properties.
They range from the very expensive to the very cheap alcohol markers, but without trying them you’ll never truly know how good they are vs the cost.
How do alcohol-based markers work?
Alcohol-based markers are made up of pigment, solvent, and resin. The pigments used in alcohol-based markers are oil-based, which allow for rich color saturation.
These pigments are suspended in a carrier or solvent with binders to create ink. A variety of solvents may be used as the carrier solvent including water, isopropyl alcohol, or ethanol.
Most alcohol-based markers use an isopropanol solvent that evaporates quickly to allow for easy blending and little to no color-bleeding.
Higher quality alcohol-based markers will contain higher concentrations of pigments in their ink for deeper saturation.
Who are alcohol-based markers for?
Alcohol-based markers are for anyone interested in a unique style of illustration and/or design.
Because they have been developed as an art form, alcohol markers have a certain look that is associated with the intentional look of those who use them professionally.
Alcohol-based markers can produce very fine lines as well as draw thicker lines and can also take on large coverage areas depending on the variety of tip on the marker allowing them to be used over a vast array of art projects.
Things to bear in mind when buying alcohol markers.
1. Alcohol markers are NOT watercolor, and should not be treated as such. While they can be blended like watercolors, and used for similar purposes, their method of application of the two types of markers tend to be quite different.
(One of the most important differences: alcohol markers dry immediately, while traditional paints take a long time to dry.)
2. PRICE: Most high-quality alcohol markers will cost upwards of $5 per marker, and contain a combination of skin tone colors as well as primary and secondary hues.
3. Alcohol markers will never be perfectly waterproof, due to the solvent used to make them blend with ease. However, many are water-resistant enough for everyday use.
4. The alcohol content of the marker is very important to consider when choosing what brand/model of marker you want to purchase. It can vary significantly between brands and models and may impact on things such as ‘drawing thin lines’ with a ‘fine tip’ for example.
5. An alcohol-based pen will have a “blotchiness” to it when not used regularly, as is true of most permanent markers. This is due to the alcohol content actually drying as it evaporates from the marker tip over time.
Written By Adam Rushton
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, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.