Best Marker Pens For Manga and Comic Book Artists – Top 5

 
You know, they say that a bad workman always blames his tools and while that may be true in many cases it certainly isn’t when it comes to drawing and colouring comic books, and designing manga characters.

Really, if you’re using cheap, poor quality pens and inks and ending up with mediocre results at best then please just STOP! Well…carry on drawing but get yourself some better pens! 🙂

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Sometimes in life there is no substitute for quality and choosing the best marker is no different. However, you don’t need to break the bank to do it, and there are lots of excellent options out there to suit every budget and artistic level.

On this page you’ll find my 5 recommendations of the best markers for artists to use, and I’ve tried to cater to most budgets, with the top-end obviously being a little pricier, but then some excellent alternatives for those with less to spend.

But before I get on to them I wanted to give a short overview on how to choose the right pen for you and what to look for before you purchase. (If you already know and want to skip this section, you can jump to the top 5 recommendations here).
 

Types of Art Markers and How To Choose

 
While cost and individual budget constraints will inform most folks’ decisions about the kind of marker pens they buy, you should bear in mind the following features if you’re looking to get the best marker for your money.
 

What nibs do they have?

 
Most of the markers that I’ve recommended on this page are double-ended , with a chisel nib at one end and a brush nib at the other. This means that with one pen you can achieve very interesting line work whether you’re drawing, inking or colouring, and it also means you don’t need to fork out for two pens when one does the job of both.

  • Are the nibs removable? – professional markers most often have removable nibs which means you can replace them when they start to wear down and line quality diminishes. Replacement nibs are cheap so no worry about extra heavy costs.

 

What kind of ink?

 
Most art markers tend to contain inks that fall into the following 3 categories:

  • Alcohol-based – most professional level markers use alcohol-based inks. Durable, waterproof, long lasting and with the ability to blend colours while on the paper, they make for an extremely versatile ink. They are to markers pens what oil paints are to painting.
  • Water-based – since these don’t contain alcohol or solvents they are effectively odourless and so make them ideal for younger children or those who are sensitive to those chemicals. The downside is they take longer to dry, don’t blend as well as the alcohol-based inks, and layering colour is difficult as the water can damage your paper if you work it too much. A strong watercolour paper is ideal for these.
  • Solvent-based – these tend to be at the cheaper end of the market, and the solvent can give off a strong odour that may be unpleasant to some folks, particularly younger children. The plus point is that these are marker pens can be used on pretty much any surface.

 

Are they refillable?

 
This is a key question to ask and something that often surprises beginners and folks who are used the cheap Crayola type pens that they used at school.

Top-end professional markers are often refillable which is a reason why the pens themselves are quite pricey, since the refills are significantly cheaper. Buying a high quality set of markers should therefore be seen as more of an investment rather than an expense.

 

Colour selections and variations

 
Some companies provide more colour variety than others so you should look at that when approaching your project, and make sure they have the colour selection necessary. My recommendations below all have anywhere from 60-200 different colours so should be more than enough for most artists.

 

Best Pens For Drawing and Colouring Comics and Manga


 
Just a quick note about prices on this page. Prices for markers are constantly fluctuating and depend on the retailer, time of year, available discounts and many other factors. Therefore the prices on this page are to be used as a guide or basic rule of thumb.
 

1. Copic Ciao Markers


 
copic markers for manga
Copic markers are the best and most popular marker for manga professionals and comic book artists (image credit: COPIC)
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Copic Ciao markers are the more affordable set in the popular company’s lineup, ideal for artists, animators and illustrators who may not be able to afford some of their more expensive markers. Available in a wide variety of colours, they feature a brush tip on one end and a chisel tip on the opposite end. The Copic markers have been an artist’s favourite for years, and the company is known for the quality and durability of their products.

 

Price

 
Varies depending on package/set size. Individual markers are around $3-4. Depending on where you buy, the largest set, 72 markers, could cost around $300.

 

Multiple Colour Options

 
One of the nice features of the Copic Ciao markers is that they are available in a wide range of colours to suit your needs. You can choose from 180 skin tones and standard colours, so regardless of your project needs there is definitely a colour for you.

 

Size and Set Options

 
There is a lot of variety as far as how the Copic Ciao markers are sold. You can purchase them individually or in sets of 5, 12, 20, 24, 36 or 72, depending on your needs. There are also speciality markers of different sizes that you can also select from.

 

Alcohol Based Ink

 
The ink is alcohol based and all of the Copic Ciao markers have a matching ink refill. You also have the ability to create your own colors with the empty marker refill.

 

Permanent/Non Toxic

 
All of the markers are non-toxic and acid free. The special ink will adhere to almost any surface, and is permanent.

 

High Quality

 
As with the rest of the lineup the Copic Ciao markers are built to last, offering smooth and vibrant colour from day one. Simply refill the marker when the ink gets low and you can resume your project right away.

 

Low Cost

 
One of the most appealing features of the Copic Ciao markers is their cost. They are considerably cheaper than many of the other markers out there, and although they are not as high quality as the company’s Sketch series, they do come pretty close.

 

Pros

 

  • Wide range of color options to choose from
  • Sets from 1 individual marker up to 72 markers
  • Refillable ink with color mixing possible
  • Replaceable nibs
  • Non toxic and permanent
  • Long lasting
  • More affordable than the Sketch line and competitors

 

Cons

 

  • Needs to be used on heavy-duty paper/board only. Can streak or smudge on some lighter papers
  • Isn’t available in as many colours as the Sketch and can’t connect to the Copic airbrush system

 

Summary

 
For those in the market for an inexpensive marker without sacrificing quality, the Copic Ciao markers are a perfect choice. Available alone or in packs of varying sizes, they are a great option for artists of all kinds, and can provide years of use without any change in quality.

If you need even more colours for a particular project, consider the company’s Sketch line as well. But for most purposes, the Copic Ciao markers are perfect, especially given their affordability.

>>> Check the best prices for Copic Ciao marker pens here <<<

 

2. Shinhan Touch Twin Brush Markers


 
shinhan touch twin brush marker
Shinhan Twin Touch Brush Markers are an excellent alternative to Copic pens.
(image credit: Shinhan Art)
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The Shinhan Touch Twin Brush Markers are now available in 204 colours, with 36 new colours recently added to the series. With a fine point nib on one side and a broad chisel nib on the other, they are perfect for interior design sketching, animation, renderings and illustration, at an affordable price.

 

Price

 
It varies depending on package/set size. Individual markers are around $4-5. The largest set of 60 markers, could cost around $300 depending on where and when you buy.

 

Multiple Colour Options

 
The Shinhan Touch Twin Brush Markers are available in 204 different colours. Each new generation of markers gives you additional colours to work with, which is always appreciated by artists of all types. And you always have the ability to mix colours using the available refills.

 

Various Set Options

 
You have a lot of variety when it comes to purchasing Shinhan Touch Twin Brush Markers. You can buy them individually if you’d like, or choose from sets of 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 markers. The more you buy, the more you typically save.

 

Alcohol Based Ink

 
The ink is manufactured from purified ethyl alcohol that is both non-toxic and nearly odourless. The ink is smudge and bleed-free, and can be refilled easily.

 

Ergonomically Designed

 
The Shinhan Touch Twin Brush Markers are ergonomically designed to provide the ideal grip for you, eliminating rolls that can cause errors and smudging. Some other markers out there tend to move around in your hand, hampering the quality of your work.

 

High Quality

 
All of the Shinhan markers are built to last, and can be refilled and used for years on end without any lapse in quality. These are solid markers that any artist or designer would appreciate having in their arsenal.

 

Low Cost

 
Although slightly more expensive than some competitors such as the Copic Ciao markers, the Twin Brush markers are relatively cheap, giving artists on a budget a viable option without the need to sacrifice quality.

 

Pros

 

  • Wide range of colour options to choose from
  • Sets from 1 individual marker up to 60 markers
  • Refillable ink with colour mixing possible
  • Replacement nibs available
  • Non toxic and permanent
  • Little to no odour
  • Smudge and bleed free
  • More affordable than many competitors
  • Ergonomically designed body for enhanced grip

 

Cons

 

  • Some users found the brush tip to be “gummy”, which may affect saturation
  • They dry out quicker than some of the other brands if left uncapped for extended periods
  • of time

  • Slightly more expensive than some of their top competitors

 

Summary

 
If you are looking for a great, low cost option for your illustrating or designing needs, the Shinhan Touch Twin Brush Markers are definitely worth considering. Although they aren’t available in as many colours as the Copic Ciao markers, there are enough options to satisfy most users.

Shinhan is a well-regarded name in the artist community, with a great reputation for quality. You’ll certainly be happy with your purchase if you choose to go with the Touch Twin Brush series.

>>> Check the best prices for Shinhan Touch Twin brush markers here <<<

 

3. Blick Studio Brush Markers


 
blick studio brush markers
Blick Studio brush markers are the cheapest alternative to Copic pens.
Image credit: Blick Studio)
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Blick Studio Brush Markers are an affordable option for graphic design and illustration, and feature a brush tip on one end and a durable chisel tip on the other. Available in a wide variety of colours, they are ergonomically designed to provide the perfect grip.

 

Price

 
Varies depending on package/set size. Individual markers are around $3-4. The largest set, 96 markers, costs anywhere from $200-$400 from DickBlick.com depending on whether they have any sale or discounts running.

 

Multiple Colour Options

 
The Blick Studio Brush Markers are available in 96 different colours including a colourless blender. There are plenty of options to choose from, although not as many as there are from competitors such as Copic and Shinhan.

 

Various Set Options

 
There are a number of different set options to choose from. You can just buy the individual marker of your choice, or pick from 6, 12, 24, 48 or 96 colour packs. The prices are better on the larger packs, so if you have multiple projects opt for one of those if it’s within your budget.

 

Ergonomically Designed

 
The Blick Studio Brush Markers feature an ergonomic flat barrel design that won’t roll off surfaces, reducing the possibility of errors or streaks. Note that some markers do not feature the barrel design and can easily slip while you are using it.

 

Fade Resistant Ink

 
The alcohol-based ink is both water resistant and fade resistant, ensuring that your work will not be damaged or fade over time.

 

High Quality

 
All of the Blick Studio markers are extremely well made and durable, built to last and stand the test of time. Users have always been impressed with the level of quality given the low price tag.

 

Low Cost

 
One of the advantages of the Blick Studio Brush Markers is the fact that they are some of the least expensive markers on the market today. They are comparable in price to competitor Shinhan, but about the same if not a little cheaper than the Copic Ciao markers.

 

Pros

 

  • Lots of colour options to choose from
  • Sets from 1 individual marker up to 96 markers
  • Non toxic and permanent
  • Caps with indentations for easy removal
  • Smudge and bleed free
  • More affordable than many of their competitors
  • Ergonomically designed body for enhanced grip

 

Cons

 

  • You can’t refill the ink on these markers
  • You can’t replace the nibs on these markers
  • Less colour choices than Copic and Shinhan markers

 

Summary

 
The Blick Studio Brush Markers are a good, low cost choice for designers and illustrators of all types. There are a number of colours to choose from, they are ergonomically designed and they have easy to remove caps that some of their competitors do not.

However, keep in mind that you can’t refill the ink, nor can you replace the nibs, both of which you can do with the Copic Ciao markers and the Shinhan Touch Twin line. Also, there are fewer colour options…only 96 as opposed to 108 and 204 on the others.

>>> Check the best prices for Blick Studio brush pens here <<<

 

4. Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens


 
faber castell pitt artist brush markers
Faber Castell Pitt artist pens are an excellent low cost choice but are not refillable.
(image credit: Faber-Castell)
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Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens are water based India Ink markers that are popular among artists and illustrators. They are inexpensive and disposable, yet the quality is top notch, which is to be expected from this well-regarded company.

 

Price

 
Varies depending on package/set size. Individual pens are around $2. The largest set, 90 markers, could be anywhere from $300 upwards, but I have sometimes seen it available with a free a wooden gift box included.

 

Multiple Colour Options

 
The Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens are available in 58 different colours, so there are plenty of options for you. There are not as many colours as you find on the popular markers from Copic, Shinhan and Blick Studio, but you should definitely be able to find what you are looking for.

 

Various Set Options

 
There are a number of different set options to choose from. You can just buy the individual marker of your choice, or pick from 4,6,8, 12, 24, 48, 60 or 90 count sets. Your best bet is the larger sizes to save money, but the 90-count set is on the pricey size due to the gift box it comes in.

 

Various Brush Nibs

 
The Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens come with a number of different nib style choices, including brush, superfine and metallic bullet, among others. You can choose the perfect nib for your particular project, or get a variety and see which ones you prefer.

 

High Quality Ink

 
All of the Pitt Pens come with ink that is acid-free, permanent, archival, smudge and water proof, ensuring a perfect project every time. However, the ink is not replaceable. You’ll need to buy a new pen when the ink runs dry.

 

Low Cost

 
A draw of the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens is their low price. At around $2 per pen, they are less expensive than markers from Copic, Shinhan and Blick Studio. Those on a budget will truly appreciate the low price point.

 

Pros

 

  • Nice amount of colours to choose from
  • Sets from 1 individual pens up to 90 pens
  • Smudge free and water proof India ink
  • Disposable so no need to refill or change nibs
  • More affordable than most of their competitors
  • Multiple nib options to choose from

 

Cons

 

  • You can’t refill the ink on these pens
  • You can’t replace the nibs on these pens
  • Fewer colour choices than Copic, Shinhan and Blick Studio

 

Summary

 
Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens are a great choice for artists and illustrators who like to work with India ink and need a low cost option for their work. These are high quality pens designed to last.

However, colour choices are more limited than they are with other brands and these are disposable rather than refillable. If you are someone who likes to keep your pens for a long time, opt for a refillable brand. Otherwise, if you are OK with throwing them out and replacing them, which most people are at this price level, by all means go for a Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush.

>>> Check the best prices for Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens here <<<

 

5. Prismacolor Premier Chisel Fine Art Markers


prismacolor premier chisel art markers
High quality, rich colours make Prismacolor Premier markers a popular choice.
(image credit: Prismacolor)
 
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Prismacolor Premier Chisel Fine Art Markers are some of the most popular tools on the market, with a versatile chisel tip on one side and a fine tip on the other, perfect for artists of all types. With plenty of set sizes and colour choices, they’re a great choice from a great company that recently celebrated a 75-year anniversary.

 

Price

 
Varies depending on package/set size. A 12-pack costs anywhere from $60 upwards and a 200-pack costs around $700 or so depending on the retailer. Not available individually as of this time.

 

Multiple Colour Options

 
The Prismacolor Premier Chisel Fine Art Markers come in 200 different colors, which is about the most you will find among similar markers. Only the Shinhan Touch Twin offers more, with about 204. So you have endless options, and you can blend colors as well.

 

Various Set Options

 
There are a number of different set options to choose from. You can select from 12, 24, 48, 72, 156 and 200 count sets. It’s always a good idea to go for the larger sizes to save a little money per marker. Note that some sets are better deals than others, and look for special discounts online.

 

High Quality Ink

 
The Prismacolor Premier Chisel Fine Art Markers have Advanced Prismacolor alcohol, dye-based ink, which produces very rich, vibrant, consistent colours. Users have been very happy with their results using these markers.

 

Low Cost

 
Although the list cost is on the higher side, you can often find certain sets on sale on the internet or in your local art supply store, which bring the per marker price down to about $1-$2, which is less expensive than most of its competitors. It makes having to throw these out after some time much more palatable.

 

Pros

 

  • Very large amount of colours to choose from
  • Sets from 12 markers up to 200 markers
  • High quality, dye-based ink is vibrant
  • Disposable so no need to refill or change nibs
  • Affordably priced, especially certain set sizes

 

Cons

 

  • You can’t refill the ink on these markers
  • You can’t replace the nibs on these markers
  • Can sometimes be pricey if not on sale

 

Summary

 
Prismacolor Premier Chisel Fine Art Markers are great options for artists and illustrators on a budget, with a very extensive array of colour choices and high quality ink ensuring positive results. They have been a favourite for many years, as have all of the company’s art tools.

Note that you can’t refill the ink or change the nibs, just like on the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens. If you prefer to do that and keep the markers for a long time look at the Copic Ciao and Shinhan markers. Those can be refilled and the nibs can be replaced.

Otherwise, the Prismacolors will be just fine for your needs, whether you are a budding artist or a seasoned professional. They are made to be used by all, and inexpensive enough to be replaced when the time comes.

>>> Check the best prices for Prismacolor Premier Chisel markers here <<<

 
 

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