All About Paint Markers

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Artists are always on the lookout for ways to improve their work and speed up the artistic process.

A recent entry into the world of art products are paint markers.

There are a number of manufacturers producing a variety of markers in various mediums.

Exploring different types of paint markers is a good way for an artist to expand the tools in his tabouret.

Types Of Markers

Markers may be permanent, water based, translucent, opaque or oil based. And this is only a partial list of some of the characteristics these paints may possess. Before taking out a second mortgage to finance experimenting with paint markers, decide what type of work you would like to do, and research which type of tool will be best suited for your needs.

Markers can be used for the typical cartoon or pen and ink style drawing. However, there is no limit to what you can embellish, decorate and create using these various markers.

Painting on paper, canvas or prepared Masonite is only the beginning. Concrete, glass, stone, porcelain, sneakers and surfboards are just a sampling of the surfaces that can be embellished with markers.

There are markers that are produced for younger artists. These products will be less permanent and therefore less costly. This type of marker is fine for casual sketching, but will not have the intensity, depth of color and archival qualities necessary to produce work of lasting quality. Paints should be selected to fit the project.

How To Use Markers

A new marker has medium in the barrel and a non-charged tip. Shake the pen to mix the paint and the medium is ready to use. Have scrap paper available to test the color. Press the tip loader to get the medium flowing and fill the tip. Use the scrap paper to test the flow. The pen must be recharged at intervals, as the paint drains from the tip. Keep that scrap paper nearby to avoid using the support for testing. As the student uses the tools, he will develop a feel for how much pressure to apply, and learn the different flow rates of various brands of markers.

Using the markers on smaller pieces is similar to calligraphy, rather than painting. The motions are more controlled than brushstrokes, so this is ideal for the representational artist. The calligrapher uses his fingers and wrist while the painter moves his brush with his elbow and shoulder. When an artist creates a larger work, he may use the marker in a more painterly manner, but one of the virtues of the marker is the ability for precision.

The colors can run together, just as with paint applied with a brush, so the artist can blend colors in a sort of wet-in-wet technique. Let the paints dry before adding additional color to an adjacent area if the edges need to remain crisp.

Paint Marker Costs

As is typical with other art supplies, there is a broad range of pricing for paint markers. The artist is wise to purchase a small sampling of the best quality he can afford. If the product turns out to be suitable, he can always purchase more. If he finds the type is not appropriate for his needs, he has not invested a great deal of money.

Make sure that the line of markers you select is made for the purpose you intend. There is nothing more costly than purchasing tools for a function only to find they will not provide the results you want.

Paint Marker Brands

There are many brands of paint markers manufactured for a wide range of supports. The following brands are only a very small sampling, and comparative research should help to whittle the list down to a few contenders.


The Copic brand has Copic, Sketch, Ciao and Wide lines of markers. They have four lines that are refillable and have the added feature of replaceable nibs. The lines include over 300 colors and there are a variety of nib styles and widths available. This company makes a premium line of colorfast and permanent products.


Krink makes both opaque and translucent paint markers, all of which have replaceable tips. Some of their styles have steel tips or very fine tips. They have a basic line of colors that are also available in their squeeze mop markers.


The Sakura Company produces Permapaque line of markers. They feature dual-point nibs. One end is a bullet point, while the other end provides a chisel tip. Depending on the pressure used, the bullet point will produce a line ranging from 0.5 to 1.00mm. These are quick drying and permanent opaque colors. They work well with wood, plastic and murals.


Pebeo’s line of fine art products includes the Porcelaine 150 paint markers. This line of 46 colors can be used on glass, pottery, terracotta, sheet metal, copper and porcelain. When the artist has completed his work, the piece is fired at 300 degrees in a kitchen oven.

There are many companies that produce specialty markers for use on various surfaces, as well as multipurpose markers that can be used on porous and non-porous items. There are a number of different tips that allow the artist many options in width of stroke, as well as a great range of colors at different prices. Some products are refillable, while others are disposable. The medium is compact, requiring little in the way of accessories, so it is an indispensable tool for the artist on the go, plein air sketch artist, outdoor art exhibitor or graffiti artist.

An artist’s hardest decision will be deciding what projects to begin exploring the creative world of paint markers.

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