The 5 Best Watercolor Marker Sets in 2021

If you’re looking to increase your skills with watercolor painting but don’t want to learn dozens of detail and wash techniques, watercolor markers could be a great addition to your art supplies. While choosing a set of watercolor markers can seem daunting, we will discuss the best markers based on whether they are pigment or dye-based, their brush type, and the variety of colors in the set. We’ll also cover the different uses for this medium, like watercolor markers for card making and watercolor markers for stamping, or even watercolor pens that can adhere to other surfaces. All products are graded based on a 1-10 for each selection criteria, with 10 being the best.

Also referred to as watercolor pens, these brush pens have a wet tip that mimics a paintbrush and works similarly to a standard pen or marker, and provides more accuracy and control than watercolor paints with little clutter or tidying up afterward.

How to Choose the Best Watercolor Markers

Watercolor markers come in two standard color bases, pigment or dye-based. They also can be alcohol or water-based, which makes a big difference on the type of surface it can be applied to successfully. As a general rule, alcohol-based markers will bleed through thin paper but can be used on various surfaces, whereas water-based pens are standard for the average adult coloring book stock and won’t bleed through the paper. What’s more, watercolor markers must be blended on a separate mixing area and not directly on the page for best results. If the set does not come with a colorless blending pen, we suggest purchasing one like this brush pen from Kuretake.

Pigment Based

These hues use actual pigments like watercolor paints and are more authentic and lightfast than dye-based colors. The only brand that makes this type of watercolor marker is Winsor and Newton. They are easily identifiable with their entire line of watercolor paints as they have the same color labels.

Dye-Based

From Crayola watercolor markers to Ohuhu, all other brush pens use dye-based colors. These hues bleed easily with water unless glycerin is added as a thickener and provides vibrant and easily blended shades. Crayola watercolor markers are intended only for children and have a water base, while other brands have an alcohol base.

Brush Type

All pens come in two different brush types; individual nylon hairs like a standard paintbrush or a dense tip, similar to a regular marker. If blending and layering large areas, then a paintbrush style would be best, whereas if painting many details, then a dense tip will work well.

Our Product Recommendations

For full descriptions and reviews of each product, see below:

Best Watercolor Markers Overall – Winsor & Newton Promarker Essential Collection

Winsor & Newton Promarker

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$99 (Was $113.80) – Our score: 8/10
  • Color Base – Pigment – Our score: 10/10
  • Tip material – Dense and Nylon Bristles – Our score: 9/10
  • Variety of colors – 48 – Our score: 9/10

About Winsor & Newton Promarker Essential Collection

Professionals looking for a dual tip watercolor marker set won’t be disappointed with these Winsor and Newton brush pens. Their fine point and separate angled thicker tip offer more control and precision for detailed artwork and layering work. Their pigment-based brilliant and rich hues also dry quickly, thereby reducing the risk of smears or imperfections. As these markers are alcohol-based, they are not recommended for coloring books since the colors will bleed onto the other pages; luckily, they can be used on other surfaces like glass, wood, plastic, or acetate.

Pros

  • Pigment-based colors
  • Dual tip
  • Contains many primary colors
  • Hues are lightfast

Cons

  • Not refillable

Best Watercolor Markers for Beginners – Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers

Tombow 56167 Dual Brush Pen Art Marker

 

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$11.72 (Was $28.99) – Our score: 9/10
  • Color Base – Dye – Our score: 8/10
  • Tip material – Dense and Nylon Bristles – Our score: 9/10
  • Variety of colors – 10 – Our score: 7/10

About Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers

Perfect for beginners, this pack of dual-tipped watercolor brushes are easy to use and highly blendable. Including nine colors and a colorless blending brush, each marker in this 10 pack have a nylon tip that works similarly to a paintbrush and is cleaned by merely wiping on scrap paper. Their water base makes them perfect for coloring books or calligraphy, but not for other surfaces like wood or plastic. Keep in mind that these watercolor markers don’t have a high lightfastness rating and are not intended for professional use.

Pros

  • Dark and vibrant colors
  • Has a firm tip
  • Self-cleaning
  • Available in 108 different colors
  • Ink dries quickly

Cons

  • Few colors to work with
  • Low lightfastness

Best Watercolor Markers on Amazon – Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Artists’ Watercolor Markers

Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Artists’ Watercolor Markers

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$99.98 – Our score: 8/10
  • Color Base – Dye – Our score: 8/10
  • Tip material – Dense and Nylon Bristles – Our score: 8/10
  • Variety of colors – 30 – Our score: 9/10

About Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Artists’ Watercolor Markers

These professional-grade watercolor markers from Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer are an ideal choice for anyone looking for consistent colors with excellent blending capabilities. The 30 dual-tipped brush pens come in various shades that range from lively, subdued, transparent to opaque hues and, like the Tombow, are also self-cleaning. In addition, these brush pens conveniently have their lightfastness rating on each marker and are exceptionally resilient for a dye-based watercolor marker. Note that the tips are pretty delicate and shouldn’t be used on very rough paper as they will wear down quicker.

Pros

  • Rich and beautiful colors
  • Very lightfast
  • For detail, blends best on cold-pressed papers
  • For landscapes and blurred lines, blends best on hard-pressed paper

Cons

  • Shouldn’t be used on rough paper

Best Rated Watercolor Markers – Arteza Real Brush Pens

Arteza Real Brush Pens

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$33.99 – Our score: 9/10
  • Color Base – Dye – Our score: 8/10
  • Tip material – Nylon Bristles – Our score: 9/10
  • Variety of colors – 48 – Our score: 9/10

About Arteza Real Brush Pens

With over 11,000 satisfied customers on Amazon, these Arteza watercolor markers were among the highest-rated brush pens on the market. This boxed set comes with 48 colors and a blending brush, all with solid and durable tips similar to an actual paintbrush, and can stand up to repeated use without fraying. Best for beginners or students, these water-based markers have good pigment quality, and most colors blend relatively quickly. However, if just starting with this medium, using less water will get the most satisfactory results.

Pros

  • Artist quality for an excellent price
  • Stunning colors
  • Don’t bleed through the paper

Cons

  • Don’t lift well after dry
  • Container isn’t sturdy enough for travel

Best Variety Watercolor Markers – Ohuhu Watercolor Markers

Ohuhu Watercolor Markers

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$21.99 (Was $24.99) – Our score: 9/10
  • Color Base – Dye – Our score: 8/10
  • Tip material – Dense and Nylon – Our score: 9/10
  • Variety of colors – 60 – Our score: 9/10

About Ohuhu Watercolor Markers

For artists on a budget that are still looking for an excellent variety of hues, these Ohuhu watercolor markers are a steal. This set comes with 60 colors, including a wide assortment of primary and secondary colors, along with dual tips and five replacements, making them perfect for coloring books, calligraphy, or stamping. Using thicker paper will provide the best results and reduce these water-based colors bleeding through the paper. Although some shades are more vibrant than others, layering some of the brighter pigments can add more highlights to any artwork.

Pros

  • Easy to blend
  • Includes five replaceable tips

Cons

  • Some colors in similar hues are brighter than others

Conclusion

This wraps up our guide to the best watercolor markers. Not only have we discussed how you could identify the best watercolor markers, but we’ve also shared our recommendations in various contexts.

We’ve discussed how you can choose the best watercolor markers and why color base, tip material, and color variety are the key deciding factors. We’ve outlined them thoroughly to help you understand them easily.

Lastly, we combined our recommendations in different situations. So whether it is the best watercolor markers for beginners or watercolor markers for card making, or the best watercolor brush pen on Amazon, we’ve discussed it all.

Thanks for reading; we hope our suggestion helps you fetch your desired product.

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