11 Best Alcohol Markers in 2021 (MUST READ!)


woman shopping markers How Do I Pick the Right Markers? verycreate.com

Welcome! I personally love alcohol markers and will help you figure out which of the best alcohol markers you need to buy because I have bought and tried them all! I have personally spent over $1000 buying and testing each alcohol marker brand out. 

I personally love the Ohuhu brand alcohol markers and believe these are the best alcohol markers for most people. Let me tell you why below.

The Best Alcohol Markers For Beginners and Also For Professionals

Here Are The Best Alcohol Markers For Beginners

Markers have always been fun to use and the invention of alcohol markers has been a game-changer in the marker industry.  The advantages of alcohol as the medium inside the marker is that the results are permanent and vibrant.

There are a few aspects to alcohol makers you really need to know. For example, once dry you can not rewet the color to reduce its intensity.  So layering is a breeze.

In addition, alcohol markers dry within seconds, which means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally smudging your work as you travel around your coloring.  

Another advantage of markers in general over other art mediums is that as long as the marker doesn’t start to run dry, you can stroke with one continuous fluid movement and get an even color stroke.  

blended balloons final How To Use Alcohol Markers verycreate.com
Lovely gradations with many layers

However, you best not be pausing in your stroke because as soon as you stop movement on the paper, more and more ‘ink’ is deposited and that means it just got a shade darker than the rest of your stroke.  

Alcohol markers have a base of isopropyl alcohol and a coloring dye. The alcohol dries super fast leaving the dye behind.  Because the inks are dyes, they don’t lighten well once placed, and depending on the particular dye in each pen, the color may not lighten at all, even with a blender pen.   

If you have an experimental, indecisive style of coloring, alcohol markers may be frustrating to work with.

Because they are dye-based, they are NOT lightfast, so plan on storing your finished artwork in a dark place or scan it into a computer for permanent viewing.  

Don’t confuse the term ‘permanent’ with longevity. Permanent means it won’t dissolve with solvent or water after it’s dried. You can expect color changing as the artwork ages.  

Some colors will be especially ‘fugitive’….meaning that in a few months or years the color will age into brown or black.

It is the very nature of dye pigment! Alcohol markers are going to be for the pleasure of the coloring moment and the immediate effect of the vibrant colors and blending.  

If you want to see your work ever-beautiful, scan your creations digitally and view on your favorite device for color permanence.

Here Are My Top Alcohol Markers for Professional Artists

Table could not be displayed.

Copic brand alcohol markers are truly amazing. You will pay a pretty penny for these markers but you will likely use them for much longer than the other brands. There is a use case for all scenarios but I just love Copics and recommend them if you have the budget.

6 Steps to Use Alcohol Based Markers Properly

Here are my tips for success:

  1. Use paper specifically made for markers.  You’ll need a smooth surface so that the pens don’t mush up the fibers of the paper or bleed through to the back. You can try Bristol paper in a pinch, but once you use marker paper, you’ll see why specific paper makes a big difference.
  2. Preplan your sequences of color application.  You’ll want to preserve any white of the paper for your brightest white areas.  Start with the lightest color area and proceed to the next darker value area. You can blend these two edges together by quickly going over the seam area with the lightest color again.  Once the ink thoroughly dries, it is much more problematic to blend two color edges together.
  3. Make a sample page of swatches and pen color names before you begin.  You’ll want to audition a few colors to make sure they are compatible in hue and in value changes on scrap paper.  I like to assemble these pens before I start to save time rummaging around while the alcohol is drying uber fast.  That way I’m free to adjust on the fly and not have frustrating consequences with blending because the pen colors are not quite right and I have to stop and hunt and think about it.  
  4. If you want a seamless blend, try saturating the paper first with the blender pen or isopropyl alcohol, then applying your color before it completely dries.
  5. Brush nib markers blend substantially easier and quicker than chisel end markers and you can use more techniques for blending with them.
  6. You need many more very pale shades than you may think because you can always color darker with more passes of the marker, but you can’t go lighter unless you start light.

Be sure to go check out my lighthouse tutorial to get more information about the right paper to purchase.

VeryCreate.com lighthouse final

Why Artists Love Copic Brand Alcohol Markers

Of course, the industry topper is Copic Markers.  Their only disadvantage is their price point. There are many features that so far, other companies just don’t have that justify the price of the Copics.

First of all the huge color selection.  Copics have an insane number to choose from. Also each pen color is refillable. If you use a few frequently, you can buy refill inks.   AND since they are available as individual inks, you can blend your own values with more isopropyl alcohol if you want to swatch a bit of ink on a glass dish and add more alcohol.

They DO have an entry-level brand called Caio Copic that is identical in quality, but with a smaller barrel which holds less ink. It is an easier price point and a great option for trying out the best brand without a huge investment.

Copics come in three varieties:

Copic Original

  • Chisel medium broad nib and finer point nib. Additional nibs are separate price and are interchangeable….There are nine separate kinds!  
  • All the 214 colors are available
  • All colors are refillable
  • Unique numbering system for precise identification
  • Square barrel
  • Comfortable in hand
  • Airbrush system compatible
  • 9 refills from one bottle

Copic Sketch

  • Round barrel
  • Comes in 358 colors!!
  • Caps labeled
  • Three nib choices to purchase separately
  • Airbrush system compatible
  • 12 refills from one bottle

Copic Caio

  • Smaller barrel and ink holding chamber
  • Super brush nib and medium broad chisel
  • Better price point
  • Caps not labeled with color
  • Less color choice 180
  • Two replaceable nib choices for replacement
  • Child safety cap with tiny holes
  • 15 refills from one bottle

Here’s a video showing most of  the above information:

Complete List of Reviews For All 11 of The Best Alcohol Markers

1. Copic Marker SB12 12-Piece Sketch Basic Set

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

2. Copic Ciao Markers Basic Set

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3. Copic Markers 12-Piece Basic Set

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

Total Rating   94 %

  • 5 out of 5 stars   Color choice
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Nib selection
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Nib replaceable
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Comfortable in hand
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Accurate cap label and color
  • 4 out of 5 stars   Price point – we’re rating it higher for reputation and outstanding features

The brush nib is unique and feels like a watercolor brush in application.  It is a game-changer with blending because you can use a feathered stroke blending technique and easily stroke over previous layers to flawlessly create a different color.  

The super wide nib for broad applications of linear color is soooo useful for backgrounds, sky or water areas. 

For great alternatives to Copic markers, please see my article here.

 

Entry Level Alcohol Markers

4. New Alcohol Marker Set by Ohuhu – 120 Set

This is a great set on the market and it is a great choice for a good price point.  

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

I’ve created two step by step tutorials using alcohol based markers for you to learn more about how to use them. See below the links:

Ocean Lighthouse Alcohol Marker Tutorial

and

Beautiful Red Flower Alcohol Marker Tutorial

  • Comes with a bonus fine liner black pen
  • Comes with a colorless blender
  • Vibrant colors
  • Nice tote bag
  • Great price point
  • 1 mm wide fine point end and chisel with angled sides for versatility
  • Free labeled download color chart for you to color in
  • Great color labeling on lids
  • Very comfortable in hand
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Square body chamber so no roll off table
  • Highly rated by customers

Total Rating    62 %

  • 4 out of 5 stars  Color choice
  • 3 out of 5 stars  Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars  Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars  Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars  Comfortable in hand
  • 5 out of 5 stars  Accurate cap label and color
  • 5 out of 5 stars  Price point

5. Touchnew 168 Set Color Graphic Drawing Painting Alcohol Art Dual Tip Sketch Pen Twin marker Design Coloring Highlighting Underlining Set with Carry Bag

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

  • Huge selection of colors with many light values
  • Square barrel
  • Highly rated by users
  • White gel pen included
  • 24 skin tone shades
  • Several greyed colors – which are much more useful than vibrant intense colors if you like to color realism style
  • Nice carrying case
  • Two black fine liners included
  • Two black felt tips included
  • Full range of warm and cool greys for color hue adjusting- amazing!

Total Rating:    62 %

  • 5 out of 5 stars   Color choice
  • 3 out of 5 stars   Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Comfortable in hand
  • 4 out of 5 stars   Accurate cap label and color would be five but some printing wears off easily
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Price point

Comparison and demo between Copic and Touchnew

6. Caliart 100 Colors Artist Alcohol Based Markers Dual Tip Art Markers Permanent Drawing Coloring Markers

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

  • Colorless blender included
  • Large color choices with many pales
  • Fabric carry case
  • Square body shape
  • Highly rated by users

Total Rating    51 %

  • 4 out of 5 stars     Color choice
  • 3 out of 5 stars     Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars     Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars     Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars     Comfortable in hand
  • 2 out of 5 stars     Accurate cap label and color
  • 4 out of 5 stars     Price point

7. 100 Colors Art Markers Set, Ohuhu Dual Tips Coloring marker Pens for Kids, Fine and Chisel Tip Alcohol-Based Drawing Markers for Sketching

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

  • Large color selection
  • No color names on caps, just numbers 6 and 9 are difficult to tell apart
  • Color numbers tend to wear off cap
  • Color on cap not accurate to ink color all the time
  • Some ink leakage when open the cap
  • Highly rated by customers

Toal Rating   48 %

  • 4 out of 5 stars   Color choice
  • 3 out of 5 stars   Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Comfortable in hand
  • 2 out of 5 stars   Accurate cap label and color
  • 3 out of 5 stars   Price point

Ohuhu markers review:

 

8. Shuttle Art 50 Colors Dual Tip Art Markers, Permanent marker Pens Highlighters with Case

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  • Triangle shaped barrel
  • Blending marker NOT included
  • Great selection for skin tones
  • Good price point
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Total Rating   48 %

  • 3 out of 5 stars   Color choice
  • 3 out of 5 stars   Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Refillable
  • 3 out of 5 stars   Comfortable in hand
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Accurate cap label and color
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Price point

9. Artify Artist Alcohol Based Art marker Set/ 40 Colors Dual Tipped Twin Marker Pens with Plastic Carrying Case/AP Certified

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

  • Triangle handle
  • Sturdy plastic carrying case
  • Broad chisel and fine tips
  • Comes with colorless blender
  • Some caps are not accurate to color in ink
  • Some people report ink leaking into caps

Total Rating   45%

  • 2 out of 5 stars   Color choices
  • 3 out of 5 stars   Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars   Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars   Comfortable in hand
  • 2 out of 5 stars  Accurate cap label and color
  • 4 out of 5 stars  Price point

10. Prismacolor 1776353 Premier Double-Ended Art Markers, Fine and Brush Tip, 24-Count with Carrying Case

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

Despite being a well-respected name in the art supply world, these markers do not offer enough features to justify the price point, in my opinion.  They are a quality marker, for sure, and many professional illustrators use them because the ink quality is great. But, illustrators are going to scan in their artwork to create a digital file for customer use and permanent storage.

You may find that there are better markers for the price point.

  • Fine point and brush point ends
  • Difficult to get caps off – if you have arthritis  or less than strong hands, you might not be able to get the lids off at all
  • Bulky shape
  • Still spendy price point
  • Not refillable
  • Sets have mostly vibrant colors
  • Difficult to easily tell what color is in the barrel
  • Good lightfastness

Total Rating:    40 % with points deducted for ease of lid opening

  • 5 out of 5 stars    Color choice
  • 4 out of 5 stars    Nib Selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars    Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars    Refillable
  • 2 out of 5 stars    Comfortable in hand
  • 3 out of 5 stars    Accurate cap label and color – the caps are black with a sticker on the end with number only
  • 2 out of 5 stars    Price point – for what the features are, these are expensive

11. Bianyo Classic Series Alcohol-Based Dual Tip Art Markers(Set of 72, Travel Case)

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

  • Square barrel
  • Colorless blender included
  • Mostly dark colors  in set
  • Not as blendable as other brands

Total Rating:    40 %

  • 1 out of 5 stars    Color choices
  • 3 out of 5 stars    Nib selection
  • 0 out of 5 stars    Nib replaceable
  • 0 out of 5 stars    Refillable
  • 5 out of 5 stars    Comfortable in hand
  • 1 out of 5 stars    Accurate cap label and color
  • 4 out of 5 stars    Price point – good price but the quality is a factor

My Conclusion of The Best Alcohol Markers

If you are a beginner, grab these Ohuhu brand alcohol markers.

If you are a professional artist, grab these Copic brand alcohol markers.

No matter what set of alcohol markers you select, you are sure to be happy with them!  They all pretty much perform the same way. The choice you make will be on the features that are important to you.  

Keep in mind the kind of paper you select is very important and all markers are going to soak through to the backside of the paper, so be sure to protect your table.  If you are searching for the ideal marker paper, I have a great alcohol marker paper article here to help you!

Anita

I hope you are enjoying this article! I really care a lot that you find what you are looking for. There are so many ways to go about creating and my goal is to help you. Thank you again for reading!

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