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Watercolor is a wonderful medium, but as with all things there are some down sides. This leads us to looking at some of the best watercolor markers. A new take on what it means to watercolor. This modern take on a classic medium takes a lot of the good, and fixes a lot of the not so great. This creates a wonderfully versatile tool which is easy to use, reasonably priced, and can help you create some wonderful artwork.
In a hurry? Here are our favorites
- We think these are the best watercolor markers
Why Watercolor Markers are Great!
Now it’s no secret that we love watercolor here at YouShouldCreate. It’s a great medium, which is easy to start, fun to do, and can get you some great results regardless of skill level and budget. Watercolor markers (sometimes known as watercolor brush pens) have all of these same wonderful qualities, but with some quality of life improvements.
These improvements are all around the messier side of watercoloring. Having to have brushes, palettes and water on hand to paint can be a bit of a pain. Luckily you don’t need any of that stuff with watercolor markers. They allow you to just sit down and start painting, with the best watercolor markers allowing you to use all the watercolor techniques you have learned. How cool is that!
The contained pen form-factor also means that these markers travel well, allowing you to take your watercoloring out and about with ease.
Watercolor markers also have a plethora of other fun uses. You can use them for illustration, card-marking, rubber stamping. Whatever you can come with really.
Best Watercolor Markers
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of it. Here are what we believe are the best watercolor markers out there. Makers can make the list for a range of different reasons, but don’t worry we’ll explain why we picked each.
Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Markers
The first name is one you should definitely be familiar with when going out to get any art supply. The brand is Faber-Castell and their watercolor markers are called the Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Markers. We are going to focus on the 10 piece set, but these markers can be bought in basically any configuration that you can think of.
The 10 piece set of watercolor markers comes with a great range of colors. With each marker having two ends. A large brush tip, much like a “round” you may use as a watercolorist, for covering a larger area. The other end houses a fiber bullet nib for more precise and detailed work.
These are some of the best markers around simply due to the quality of their color. The highly pigmented water-based ink enables an artist to create pieces with rich and vibrant color. Working just like watercolor, but with more control than you would achieve with the more traditional medium.
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens
Now moving on to a product form a company you probably haven’t heard of. These are the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens from Kuretake. This lesser known Japanese stationery manufacturer really knows what they are doing (they’ve been doing it for over 100 years) and it shows in these markers.
What makes these markers really stand out from the crowd is the control that you are given when using them. Moving seamlessly from a super fine line to something more robust is simple. This coupled with a tip that holds its shape well, and a colors that can simply be described as fantastic, make this a really great marker to work with. Really, it’s a lot of fun. You’ll also be happy to hear that they do not bleed through most paper, meaning they will work great in a sketchpad intended for watercolor. Or a mixed media pad if that’s something you prefer.
Their set of 12 assorted colors cover all the bases to start, with the opportunity for you to purchase whatever other colors you would like individually from the huge range available. These pens are a real gem and truly deserve to be called some of the best watercolor markers.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
These Dual Brush Pens from tombow are fun and come in some really interesting combinations of color. In this case it really helps to have some idea of what you are looking to draw before you buy, as it will make your decision much easier.
The defining feature of these brush pens is the fact that each color has two tips. This brings both a lovely large brush, as well as a smaller bullet tip to the table. This means that these markers are a really versatile tool.
They do well in terms of ergonomics as well, with their smaller size meaning they are easier to manipulate in the hand. This small size does come with the down side of the marker running out faster than some of its competitors. This isn’t too big a problem though, with the pens being sold individually (at a very reasonable price), meaning you can replace any colors you find yourself running out of.
Another slight niggle is the fact that the lids of the pens don’t quite match the color on the page. The color on the page more than makes up for this inconvenience though. Beautifully vibrant colors that blend well, will help you create some really great pieces.
In essence the Tombow Dual brush pens are well worth the look. They aren’t perfect, but bring the quality in the areas that are really important.
Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pen Markers
You may not have heard of Royal Talens before, but they are like the little brother of the much revered Rembrant. This little brother has brought us the Ecoline Brush Pen Markers. These are some really handsome markers that are available in a huge range of colors.
The makers are available in colors that match up with the Ecoline liquid watercolor, so you are getting an authentic look with all the benefits of using some of the best watercolor markers.
The colors produced by these pens are beautifully intense and saturated. Radiating off of the page, and adhering well to a range of different paper types. The color also blends well, a technique which is aided by the inclusion of a colorless blender pen in many of the packs.
If you are looking for color that packs a punch, you can’t go wrong with the Ecoline Brush Pen Markers. These are some great markers that are well worth the try. We also appreciate the addition of the blender pen, this is a great addition and value add. Thanks Royal Talens!
Le Plume II Dual-Tipped Markers
Next up is another funky dual tipped watercolor marker. This time it’s the Le Plume II. These pens come with a familiar brush marker on one end, and an ultra fine tip on the other. The focus of these makers is a little different to those that we have discussed previously. Not so focused on creating watercolor art, these pens are more intended for more casual and smaller scale work. Be it rubber stamps, card making, or other arts and crafts these are a great little option.
We like the Le Plume II as it gives a nod to the versatility of the watercolor marker. While these particular markers may not be the best watercolor markers, they are great for a slightly different use case. So if they fit the kind of thing you are looking to do, you will really enjoy them.
Zig Art & Graphic Twin Markers
The Zig Art and Graphic Twin Markers are probably the best look set of watercolor markers on this list. The packaging is really quite stunning, and the good stuff doesn’t stop there. These markers have a lot of good stuff going for it.
For starters the range of colors in the Vivid set of six are really quite unique. With Orange, Lemon Yellow, Dull Blue, Brown, Mustard, and Emerald Green. These colors can really spice up a piece if you intend to use the pens to augment your art. Worry not though as more conventional colors are also available piecemeal (that means to purchase individually).
The pens themselves are very much in line with the others that we have discussed. Two tips, brush and fine nib. Colors that are vibrant, and can be blended with the use of water and a brush or a blender. All in a handy form factor, and reasonable price. Good stuff all round.
Winsor & Newton Promarker Watercolor Markers
To finish up this list we have another big hitter in the art supply word, in Winsor & Newton. Their Promarker watercolor markers come with exactly the quality that you would expect. Available in a range of 36 colors with either sets or individual pens available.
WInsor & Newton also bring a feature that is something a little more high-end than the other markers. This is lightfastness. This means the pigments used will not degrade over time with exposure to light. This is great news as it means that your favourite pieces will stand the test of time and look just as good in the future as they did the day you make them.
The pens themselves perform just as you would hope. Beautiful colors, in some surprisingly nice packaging. Tipped with a lovely brush nib. The Promarker watercolor markers are a really great choice for those of you looking to go a little more upmarket. We think that the addition of lightfastness and the archival benefits this brings means that this is a marker that could even be used in a professional setting.
What to Look for When Shopping for Watercolor Markers
As with every medium there are some things to be considered when looking to purchase watercolor markers. Don’t worry, luckily this is actually fairly straight-forward, with only three main things to consider.
The first thing to consider is pretty obvious. Colors! Does the brand make colors that you would like to use? Are there a wide enough range of colors available in the series? These are things to have a look at before committing to a brand of markers. There’s nothing worse than buying a marker to find the colors aren’t quite to your liking. Do the research upfront and save yourself the hassle.
Not all inks were made equally. You want to make sure that the inks you use are highly pigmented, this gives you colors that really pop. Also keep a look out for markers with the added bonus of being odorless, or having additional qualities like lightfastness.
Note: Make sure that the manufacturer says somewhere that the ink used is water-based. There are several types of marker out there that use a different solvent, and if the ink is not water-based you will not be able to use watercolor techniques to blend etc.
Last but not least comes the brush itself. This is critical to what makes a watercolor marker. There are two different types of brush that you will find in your search. Generally, these fall into the groups of a bullet nib, intended to fine lining and other high detail work. Then you have brushes that resemble the common “round” used by watercolorists.
In the case of the fine nib we want a firm tip that is able to deliver a fine and constant line. The brush end is a little more tricky. If we want to use this end like a round then we need something that holds its shape well, but is also really responsive to applied pressure. This will allow you to change the thickness of a line within a brushstroke, while ensuring that the brush will spring back into shape when you are done.
We hope that was a useful insight into the best watercolor markers out there and what to look out for when you purchase. Watercolor is a great medium and watercolor markers bring something new to this medium with increased portability and ease of use. If you are at all curious they are well worth a try.