Adult Colouring Pens
Best Marker For Adult Colouring Books US
Adult coloring pens (and the humble colored pencil for that matter) have been ingrained as items 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 coloring markers out there (and the colored pencil too), all of which range dramatically in price (and just so I don’t forget, we’ll talk about colored pencils and what suits adult coloring books best with that medium in another review).
While working as an inhouse artist 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. From alcohol based markers for coloring to fine tip pens for more detailed work the range is vast. Deciding which marker suits what task takes hours of experimenting. Only recently did I find a particular chisel tip, alcohol based marker that was perfect for the job I was working on at the time but may not have much use for many jobs in the future. Markers for coloring all have their place, it’s just about finding when and where that is.
This list of markers for coloring is a culmination of all those years of experience. All of the markers I talk about are items available on Amazon, so you’re not going to be shopping through the art supplies of an overpriced art supply store.
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** REVIEWS **
Crayola SuperTip Washable Felt Tip Coloring Pens
Crayola is a staple name that we’re all familiar with creating and delivering coloring supplies since the beginning of time. 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 one of the really good brands.
Despite the lower than low budget price, Crayolas, while not the best markers for adult coloring, are a great budget option that can get the job done and are perfect for any beginner.
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 10 pack comes with a great range of shades that work relatively well. The colors 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 colors. There are no neons or anything like that. The set is also washable as it’s not one of the alcohol based markers, 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 $10, 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 colors that covers all the important bases.
- The markers give you a good performance for the cost.
- Crayola is a reliable brand in the markers for coloring niche that you can pick up from anywhere, whether Amazon or your local supermarket.
- These markers aren’t going to cut it if you’re a professional.
STAEDTLER 334 Triplus Fineliners / Gel Pen
STAEDTLER is also a well recognizable member of the art supply industry. I know that I used this fine line markers 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 colors 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 as they are a great staring point when it comes to markers for coloring.
The range of colors is mediocre, but you can always supplement that with other STAEDTLER sets.
The biggest drawback to these adult coloring 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 colors are also fairly flat without any sort of vividity.
Pros and Cons
- The pens are water-based not alcohol based markers, so the ink washes out of clothes.
- STAEDTLER is arguably the best brand for getting the most bang for your buck. 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 colors 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 coloring book stage.
These markers can easily run you upwards of $20, which is a price point that’s just right for the quality of them. They aren’t the best coloring markers that I’ve ever seen, but the performance is more than adequate for that cost and perfect for adults.
At the very least, these artist pens are better than the last two entries. In particular, how deep the dark colors and how light the bright colors 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 adults are going to smear and bleed into the other side of your page, but these don’t at all due to their high quality. 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 color.
- The colors that the markers deliver are diverse and look great.
- You’re not going to get any bleed with these coloring markers.
- These coloring markers deliver a quality that would be expected at this price point.
- You get a decent variety of colors with this brush pen set. The shades aren’t overly diverse, but there is a lot of coverage.
- If you’re looking at raw bang for your buck, there are brush pens for adults that are perhaps better suited for each individual requirement.
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 ultra fine tip they have 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 colors. 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 coloring pages, but not so much for professional work. They are a budget version of the type of fineliners that professional colorists use, and the difference in quality is noticeable.
Pros and Cons
- These anti-bleed fine line markers are great for detailing.
- The cost that you pay for these adult markers is great, even off of Amazon.
- STABILO is an established brand with a great variety of colors.
- These are great for bringing some more quality to your adult coloring 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 Tip Washables Box of 100
I’ve already talked about how these are some of the best markers for adult coloring 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 $30 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 colors you have, making it a great option if you’re looking for markers for adult coloring books.
You can pick up this set 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 $30.
- The variety makes this set great and has the potential to become an adult coloring books best friend.
- Even if you’re not using these pens for coloring 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 kiddo decides to chomp on them, there isn’t going to be any damage past a bad taste.
- 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 colors are more vivid. The page isn’t as dull and lifeless when I use these in my coloring 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 coloring 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 dual ended brush tip pens and consider them one of the best pens I’ve used and one of the top brands. They aren’t too expensive by any means, but the performance that these give is stellar. I would argue that these are the best marker set with a brush nib for any up-and-coming illustrator, as well as being a great choice for adult coloring books when you want to take it to the next level. This one of my ‘go to’ pens for coloring.
These paint markers can be used with or without water (aka the colorless blender) depending on whether or not you want watercolors, 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 nib markers; that’s how good they are.
The color 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 coloring books (epsecially when used alongside the colorless blender of course).
- The water-based colors 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 coloring 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 coloring bookmarkers. However, there’s nothing wrong with using them for that purpose.
The colors 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 coloring 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 coloring 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.
Hye-eun 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 colors for less than $30. 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 coloring 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 coloring. 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 colors is incredible for the cost.
- Hye-eun 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 coloring books, this set is all you’re ever going to need to order.
- Amazon tends to keep a steady supply of these available.
- The coloring quality isn’t too spectacular.
Edding Color Pen Fine Bullet Tip
These markers are not for professional coloring. However, as a set for coloring 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 20 different coloring 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 coloring books.
Pros and Cons
- If you like your coloring 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 color design that can work very well with specific art styles.
- The pen is water-based, which is always good as you might need to wash it out.
- This set comes with 20 pens, which gives you good color variety.
- These markers aren’t anything special. They get the job done, but in my opinion there are better options out there.
What to Look for When Buying Marker Pens for Adult Coloring 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 color markers.
Number of Colors
This is the most obvious thing that people should be keeping an eye on. The more colors you get, the better the value for money. You don’t want to be coloring 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 colors that the markers deliver are better and more vibrant, but there are fewer of them.
Vibrancy of Colors
Speaking of the quality of the colors, 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 colors 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 colors 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 coloring 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 aimed at the 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 coloring, then a brush tip should be what you’re going to order.
Ink Consistency and Longevity
When you’re coloring, 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 color across the board.
There is no way to really tell how good the ink of a marker is without coloring 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 one of the items that most people need to pay attention to, but if you’re coloring 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. Coloring 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.
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 and Details 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 Coloring Books and How Do They Work?
A marker for an adult coloring book is a pen specifically designed for coloring on that kind of paper. Ideally, these kinds of makers have vivid colors 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 coloring books to pass the time, then a marker set is one of the most perfect gift items you can get.
What are the Different Types of Coloring Book Markers?
- Brush markers.
- Dual tip markers.
- Gel pens.
- Watercolor markers.
- Alcohol based markers
Why do You Need Good Markers for Coloring?
A good marker directly impacts your coloring. 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 and are considered the best pens on the market. Brands like Copic, Sharpie, and STAEDTLER is essentially quality guarantees.
How Do I Use Coloring Book Markers?
While there are a variety of marker techniques, you can learn, using them is as simple as any other kind of coloring without the need to do into details.
Where Can I Buy Coloring Book Markers?
You can order coloring book marker sets from Amazon as well as any art supply store.
What is the Warranty for Coloring 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, whether they be water or alcohol based 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 Pens are best for Colouring?
That’s all I’ve got for these reviews. I hope that you’ve gotten something of use out of them. Check out the links and details I’ve included to order any of these sets on amazon, as well as the other articles on our site.
Alcohol-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 to find your set of best pens.
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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.